I once was within earshot of a terrorist incident. Just over two decades ago I was lying in my bed in Heaton (Newcastle upon Tyne) when I heard an explosion. This was around midnight. The IRA had attempted to blow up a gas terminal in Gateshead. They failed; the terminal did not explode. I guess I was a mile or two away anyway, but it was still a reminder of how close we can all get.
I am a quarter Belgian, courtesy of a maternal grandfather. Whilst I a consider myself English I still have an affinity with that small nation. Recent news has made me think of the land of the Walloons and Flemish. It is just awful what has gone on there, just awful. Innocent lives lost to the whims of psychopaths.
We must not allow such tragedies to allow irrational judgements to be made. Just as all Catholics are not responsible for the ill deeds of the IRA - and I am an atheist of Catholic descent - so it is also true of Muslims.
Those that plan and carry out such atrocities must be brought to justice. But to rush to judgement, to impose draconian measure, to label whole communities as terrorists or terrorist sympathisers is to hand a victory to those who commit these dastardly acts.
We must pause, take stock, and embark on a measured response. We have to do what we can to protect all of us. We also need to retain our civilised approach to each other. This small rock called Earth has to accommodate all sorts of people with all sorts of outlooks on life.