Becoming frightened after the attacks in Brussels


“Hey mom, IS, that for me would be the real reason never to move back to the Netherlands,” said my youngest son. He is 11 years old. It was a beautiful morning in New York and we were in the car on our way to the dentist. Five hours after the attacks in Brussels. We just saw the news on CNN.

“I thought Paris was still quite far away. But now they are at the airport in Belgium, which is right next to the Netherlands, you know. And the explosions were at the counters of American Airlines and Delta. We sometimes fly to the Netherlands with Delta, right? And it is pretty easy to enter Schiphol with a bomb. Nobody really would notice if you put it in a suitcase. And those bombs this morning, hey mom, all of them had nails in them. “

He has already read and seen all of it on his I-phone this morning.

“Really mom, they’re super scary, those dudes. Have you seen those beheadings, Mom?” he continues.

“No darling, but did you?” I ask, startled.

“Well, not quite, but almost, he says. On the internet I saw some of it a while ago.

That’s how they slaughter cows too. They just saw their head off. “

“Have you seen that too? I ask alarmed.

“No, but I think they do it that way.”

My oldest (16) breaks into our little conversation. “They want us to be afraid, right Mom? You shouldn’t be. Then they have it their way. You should really just go on with your life and don’t think too much about that violence and terror. And moreover, the chance that you are caught in a terrorist bombing is much smaller than that you get involved in a car accident.

My youngest looks at him. ‘Yeah so?’

“Well, statistically, the probability is just smaller,” emphasizes my eldest in an attempt to make him less afraid. “You can do the math.”

Now I want to say something. “Well, honey, that is indeed true. The chance that you’ll be in the middle of a terrorist attack, is really small. And the group IS fighters is also much smaller than you might think. Moreover, there are many safety people now watching over a lot of terrorists to keep Europe and The United States safe and secure.  And by the way, those clips on the internet that you saw, the ones that really made you scared, you shouldn’t watch them.  Those have been created to make us anxious and you will get only bad thoughts and dreams out of watching them. It really is better to think that IS is active in a very small part of the world and that it is more safe than unsafe in the part of the world where we are living and traveling.

Our remarks doesn’t seem to help him at all.

“So what. If Trump becomes president, everything becomes worse. And then the chance of attacks also increases”. He replies quickly. “And because America is far away and you need to fly by plain or sail on a boat, they do attack somewhere in Europe. Like the bombings in Brussels. I simply not want to go back, ever.”

Me and my eldest listen to him and we don’t argue anymore. We need to see the dentist. That’s the person that kids used to be afraid of.

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