I was chatting to a colleague on Tuesday morning about the siege at Lindt Cafe. Neither of us knew any of the people involved. Neither of us were involved in reporting the incident, though I had a minor role in coverage co-ordination. But when I mentioned to her “I actually had a little cry last night”, she admitted she had also. “I’m so glad you said that”, she told me, “as I was thinking I was being a little over-dramatic”.
I felt the same way too. Why would or should I be brought to tears over such a random incident? Especially when you consider the horror the attack in Pakistan and later in the week, the terrible stabbing murder of all of those children in Cairns. The answer, I guess, is that it was all too close to home, and all too random. I’ve been to that shop on many, many occasions. “It could have been me”, is the reaction I guess most people in Sydney have had to this.
On top of the sadness of the children losing their mother, and the guy losing his partner, there’s the general sadness of what it means for life in Sydney. Although we like to think Sydney is a place full of hustle and bustle, it really is a bit of a sleepy backwater in many ways. We lead a fairly charmed life. Despite what happened this week, we still do. In the midst of it all, you could see the look of concern on the faces of people as you walked around the city. People were definitely on edge. By the end of the week that level of concern was starting to fade.
As I walked around the city today that level of concern was pretty much gone. It was a sunny day. People were wearing shorts. I know some people are really cynical about public displays of grief, but I was really heartened to pay a visit to Martin Place today and to see all of the people who had bothered to lay some flowers there. In the midst of our modern lives, I think it’s great that people still care.