Is It Just Me: Wondering What We Can Actually Do To Stop the Constant Attacks?

I’ve thought very hard before I’ve written this post. I didn’t write it yesterday as, like most people, I was angry and heartbroken at the sheer level of destruction and death caused to youngsters in Manchester.

I was angry as a Mum who has children who are getting to an age where they want to go to concerts, and indeed, have been to festivals to see all manner of bands since they were in nappies in Littlest’s case. I know the excitement before, during and after a longed for concert that these kids would have experienced as I’ve experienced it myself and seen my kids experience it too.

I am angry as a woman. Its widely been discussed that this was very much a targeted attack- it was the fourth anniversary of Lee Rigby’s brutal and very public murder, this was a concert by an American female singer known for her skimpy costumes and her female empowerment message and her support of LGBT rights, and the audience was mostly young, Western females of different ages who wear the types of clothes that the Extremists would see outlawed.

I am angry as a Britain who, time and again, hears the same nonsense from the Politician of the day. That yet again, this was a male known to Authorities, who was allowed to leave the country and enter a known hot bed for Extremist training, come back here and walk into the Foyer of the Arena. Why? Why do we just simply watch and wait? When did we become so scared to do something to stop these nutters seeing through these campaigns?

So, what do we do?

I know the consensus is we carry on. We don’t let them win. We don’t stop going about our daily lives because of one bad penny.

But this is a multitude now of Extremists, the threat level is critical. We must, as parent’s, make a judgement call.

We can’t trust the Authorities to protect us- elsewise this guy would not have been walking the streets, jumping on planes and then coming back and killing 22 people.

Its an uncomfortable truth now, but we aren’t safe. We aren’t safe at concerts. We aren’t safe on holiday. We aren’t safe in our capitals.

Instead of, yet again, voicing he was known (without the added, but yet we know it’s true “but we did nothing because we are too scared to offend anyone in case we get it wrong and they sue the backsides off us), it’s time our Police and courts are given powers to tag people. We need to bring in a “Persons of Interest” law, which enables the authorities to monitor the activities of people just like the Manchester Bomber.

No doubt, you would tag the odd person who has nothing to do with any of these people who seek to ruin our freedoms. Yet those with nothing to hide would submit to it, without fear.

We need an outright ban on these watched individuals being allowed to travel. And an outright ban across the board of any travel to any of the known countries where these types of attacks are planned and practiced. And anyone using gateway countries to go needs to be put on the banned list and not allowed back in under any circumstances.

We aren’t fighting a war the way we have in the past. It’s not a situation where we can, as many were stupidly voicing yesterday “nuke” or “bomb” the shit out of one country and hooray, peace is restored. They are everywhere. They are across Europe. They are in America, and, as we’ve found out to our cost, in the UK.

So, whilst I’m sure many will react to tell me I am wrong, I shouldn’t stop going out to gigs and places I’ve formally gone to without a second thought, I wont be going, and, definitely will not take my children.

As a Mother, it is my job to keep my children safe.

We haven’t had the TV on since the attacks. I don’t understand it myself, so I can’t begin to explain it to an 8 and ten year old who look to me to keep the bad people away.

I have cancelled a planned trip to London.

If Reading go up to the Premiership, I wont be watching the parade in town.

I wont be catching a train anytime soon.

And sadly, it will continue until someone in power actually does something other then watch and wait until these thugs blow themselves up.

Strength is needed, but it needs to come from the law makers, not us citizens.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families, to the injured, and to children who, instead of going in to school to brag about an amazing concert by an artist they love, full of happy stories of music, and dance and lights and a naughty school night late night to bed, are shocked and silenced by visions their young eyes should never have seen, and screams their ears should never have heard.

Whilst the threat remains amongst us, where crowds of people gather, I will not.

And yes, it is sad. And yes, it is uncomfortable to feel I have to take that stance.

But I see no other option until our Police, our secret services and, most importantly, our politicians, do what we all know they should and take direct, full and no nonsense action against those they currently take a soft approach on, and merely watch the odd time.

Yes, we are strong.

We will hashtag, and start funds, and hang our heads in reflection.

But are we strong enough?

As awful as it is, I fear the answer is no.

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This Is When It Sucks to Be a Parent

This is when it sucks to be a parent. In no particular order and in no particular timeline. Feel free to add your own.

When your child is once again the target of a nasty, persistent group of children who punch them to the ground for fun, and then grin at you whilst the teachers turn a blind eye,  That is when it sucks to be a parent.

When your child has done as much work as possible on a project, or a competition and worked so hard towards the end goal, and they get overlooked or a rubbish mark compared to the kids whose parent has clearly done it for them, That is when it sucks to be a parent.

When your kid tells you they feel let down by adults who are meant to care, about their safety, or their health or their well-being in general, That is when it sucks to be a parent.

When you want to go out to a really cool party, or day trip, and not have to plan stuff months in advance ensuring there is a babysitter available who definitely can make that date in x months time, That is when it sucks to be a parent.

When the children expect you to have an answer for an infinite amount of possible questions on everything as far removed as the offside rule or why someone at school called them a name and you could swallow an encyclopedia and still never have all the answers, That is when it sucks to be a parent.

When the weather is shite and the last thing you want to do at 8.30am is walk in it of your own free will whilst two small people bitch you as if it’s your fault its pissing down, That is when it sucks to be a parent.

When you are literally dying of ill health (or so it feels), you can no longer be certain that you haven’t coughed up a lung or are being sick, but the small one or worse ones, are ill too, so you have to forego a duvet day to look after them (and do umpteen piles of washing if it’s a D&V Bug), That is when it sucks to be a parent.

When once upon a time you could survive on a diet of vodka, 20 B&H, and a pot noddle and thus was a size 8, when now you have to have at least 8 cups of strong coffee to get the wherewithal to brush your hair of a morning, and cannot refuse cake, or a leftover chip, thus are a size, ahem, cough, That is when it sucks to be a parent.

When you have to make small talk with other parent’s  who the only thing you have in common with is you had sex around the same time hence why you’re in a playground, although thank god for the small group of “normal” parent’s who aren’t annoying and are as disillusioned as you, That is when it (sometimes) sucks to be a parent.

When instead of being in a kick ass nightclub, or having a lazy pub session of a Friday night, you are instead stuck listening to Let It Go, One Direction and other chart shit at a school disco, wishing it was socially acceptable to sneak in gin, That is when it sucks to be a parent.

Parent’s evening, good or bad, ditto school reports and sports day, These are when it sucks to be a parent.

Losing the beloved bear- the child’s or the class one (actually, the class one is just bollocks, no one really takes a mini break for the school bear’s diary, surely?), That is when it sucks to be a parent.

When the idea of Tom Hardy reading the bedtime story on cBeebies is meant to make up for a day of forced watching of the saccharine irritations of (fucking) Night Garden and (arsing) Charlie and Lola, That is when it sucks to be a (Mum) Parent.

Horrid Henry. The shite, That is when it sucks to be a parent.

And finally, it sucks to be a parent when you know that after the bumps, the homeworks, the disappointments, the questions, the shite TV and music they love, the ill health, the laughs and the good and the bad, before you know it, just like Mini is now, they are wanting to grow up and for you to not hold their hand or hug them in public, and soon after that they are young adults and don’t need you at all bar the odd tenner or a lift home.

That is when it sucks the most.