Overcoming A New Type of Terror: An Everyday Terror
Good morning. I won’t write this morning about the terror attack in New York City yesterday that took the lives of eight people and injured a dozen more. I won’t write about the rented pickup truck that mowed them down on a pedestrian walkway and bike path, along a glistening, sun-dappled river. I won’t link this weaponized vehicle to the one that took the life of Heather Heyer, the 32-year-old woman who was killed by a hate-filled driver who plowed his car into a crowd in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August. The Chief Medical Examiner in Richmond said Heyer had perished from “blunt force injury”—words that conjure up a brutally swung lead pipe, but not the one who swung it. I won’t talk this morning about the 13 lives that were lost, or the more than 100 who were injured, when a 22-year-old terrorist rammed his van into a crowd of pedestrians strolling along Las Ramblas in Barcelona this summer—nor will I mention the 86 people who were killed in Nice on the evening of Bastille Day in 2016, when a mindless thug drove his cargo truck into a mass of celebrants who had gathered to watch fireworks on the Promenade des Anglais.
Today, as it was yesterday, and almost certainly as it will be tomorrow, many of us will speak of a “new type of terror”—of a terror that invades our “everyday,” our Tuesday lunch hours, our quiet strolls along the river—and of the new protections we must take to prevent it. There will be talk of barricades and barriers and borders and blockades. There will be talk of hardening the soft targets all around us.
But human beings are, by their very nature, soft targets. Our softness is what makes us human. That’s a lesson I’ve learned and relearned every day as I write these essays on health and wellness.
Don’t be mistaken, however: Softness isn’t frailty; it’s the very opposite. It’s what allows us to adjust in a flash, to rebound rather than fracture, to recover and move on. Softness is our strength. But I won’t talk about that today.
This essay appears in today’s edition of the Fortune Brainstorm Health Daily. Get it delivered straight to your inbox.