If you’ve been reading along you will know that we have just returned from a trip to France which culminated with a nine day stay on the shores of Lake Annecy just outside the town of Annecy itself. An idyllic place, I wrote of its splendour, beauty and tranquility. I told of how we bought breakfast at the farmers market and ate it in the local park. And then on Thursday morning I wake up and read in the news of how a man took a knife and in broad daylight randomly attacked people, even infants in strollers in that very same park, injuring four children (aged between 22 months and 3 years) and two adults critically.
To say it has hit me hard is an understatement. We had been there only days earlier. It was full of locals and tourist, families and groups of friends enjoying the sunshine and views of the lake and then on Thursday morning it became a crime scene. I have spent the last few days, not for the first time, pondering the question “How has our world become so broken”. Throughout history and even to this day wars have been and are part of the landscape and one might expect to live in fear of one’s life in a war zone. I have long wondered how we have come to the point in modern society when going to school, the cinema, a church, synagog or other place of worship, a shopping centre, a festival or concert, a Christmas market or the local park can put you in a life threatening situation. It is the randomness of these attacks that is so frightening. What makes an individual take a weapon of any kind and randomly attack total strangers, even helpless infants.
I, like many others don’t have answers but the question remains and even more so what we can do as individuals and/or on a community basis to begin to heal our world, or is this now a feature of our society that we are just going to have to learn to live with. I do know that travel connects us, the experiences of peoples and places touch our minds, hearts and souls and stay with us. Had I not experienced the joy of this place and the friendliness of the people, the incident, though tragic would have been another news item I read, and perhaps discussed with family and friends but having been touched by the place, this tragedy has reached me on a different level. And my heart goes out to those who have been effected and for the beautiful community of Annecy.