Why the world shouldn’t live in fear after the Paris attacks


Death is inevitable.

Tomorrow’s not certain, the next hour isn’t promised, nor is the next second. How we die or when we die isn’t predictable either. The only guarantee is that at some point, we’re all going to die.

The heartbreaking tragedy that happened in France on November 13, where more than 120 people killed in coordinate attacks throughout multiple sites in Paris, is a reminder of that.

The incident hits close to home because the only known American victim, 23-year-old Nohemi Gonzalez, happened to be from California. She was a design student at California State University, Long Beach, which is just about a half hour or so south of Los Angeles, and was studying abroad for a semester at Strate College of Design in Paris.

Reports say Nohemi was out having dinner with friends at a popular bistro, Le Petit Cambodge, when gunmen driving by in a black vehicle opened fire and killed more than a dozen people.

It’s interesting to imagine what it could’ve been like in Nohemi’s shoes that night because prior to flying off to Paris for the semester, reports say she had never been out of the country. Paris must have been an exciting adventure up to that point. But more importantly, was Nohemi thinking that going out with friends for dinner on a Friday evening would be the last day of her life?

Were any of the 120+ individuals who were killed expecting they would die on November 13?

It’s nearly impossible not to tear up and empathize while reading about all of the victims. The Washington Post created a helpful graphic to learn about those who died with their names, ages and brief information about each of them.

There was Matthieu de Rorthais, 32, a cancer survivor who was shot at the Bataclan during the Eagles of Death Metal performance; Claire Camax, 35, was a graphic designer and mother of two young children; Hugo Sarrade, 23, was a computer science student who was known for his kindness and passion for music, and was killed at Bataclan; Thierry Hardouin, 41, was a father of two and was shot dead with his girlfriend at La Belle Equipe restaurant while they were celebrating their anniversary.

And there are so many more.

The world certainly seems a little darker and scarier after the attacks. And naturally, many are inclined to exercise additional caution. Because really, who knows who may be next?

But events like this shouldn’t compel us to hold back on living life out of fear.

As the world mourns, remembers and commemorates the lives lost in Paris, let us move forward keeping in mind that they were going out on a Friday evening – as many of us do – simply living their lives.

There is never any telling when, where, or how we’re going to die. Every time we step outside our homes, cross the road, hop into the car to drive, board a bus to go somewhere, jump into the ocean for a swim, decide to watch a movie at a theater, or even stay home, death could very well meet us the next second.

But more often than not, we choose to do all those things, and we make it out alive.

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