Yesterday, right here in Australia, in Sydney to be precise, terrorism visited us.
A person…I am not going to dignify him by mentioning his name…walked into a chocolate shop and took a group of people hostage. He menaced them with a shotgun and a suspicious looking backpack for over 16 hours.
In the early hours of the morning, he was shot dead by police.
Two hostages died in this horrific event. Two innocent people who were in the store on a seemingly normal Monday morning – one a mother of three, a brilliant barrister who loved a hot chocolate in the morning and the other, a young man who was the manager of the store.
There are two families now who are grieving the loss of loved ones who were simply going about their normal business. They hadn’t hurt anyone or done anything wrong. They were in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The scary thing is that there, but for the grace of God, go anyone of us.
Today as a nation we feel the pain of loss. The outpouring of grief has been amazing and profound. It has drawn us together as a people and it has galvanised our determination to overcome terrorism in all its forms.
It has made us realise our vulnerability and examine our security and legal systems. Many questions are being asked of the authorities. How did this person come to be roaming our streets? In many ways the system failed us on this occasion.
For me, it has brought home the importance of telling my family and friends how much I love them. We live in an uncertain world. When we say goodbye to someone, there are no guarantees that we will see them again.
So, when you next see your loved ones, give them a hug and tell them you love them. Don’t let them go out into the world without that assurance. Give them something to hold in their hearts as they go about their daily business.
In an uncertain world LOVE is the one constant.
Rest in Peace Katrina Dawson and Tori Johnson.