I’m writing this column on the day we all woke up to horrific news from Manchester.
No doubt this will still be news by Saturday and, as is right, for some time to come.
But it is also more than news.
It is human life, and loss, and love.
It is aching voids and it is grief that has crashed into the lives of those affected and swerved their existence on to new and unwanted plains.
How utterly unjust.
It is impossible to write about such an event without resorting in places to cliché, but cliché is often true. And it is true today, as it always will be, that killing innocent people and young children, people who were still full of the joy and adrenalin with which the excitement of live music can fill us, is only ever wrong.
It is a moral absolute. There is no grey area here.
What is the purpose of terrorism?
To the average woman or man in the street, what is the purpose?
Is it to terrorise?
Is it to separate and divide? Is it to make a point?
Well, make your point in other ways. People make political points every single day – but not by slaughtering children who’ve just been to their first pop concert.
If the purpose is to separate and divide then, again, it’s an act that has failed totally.
In fact, it has done the opposite.
Humanity the world over becomes stronger in the face of such adversity. People pull together.
People of all political beliefs, all ethnicities, all social standings, come together with renewed power and solidarity.
Just ask our grandparents who fought in the Second World War about the mentality of The Blitz.
In times of dire need, humans join together.
Ask the British soldiers who played football with German soldiers during Christmas 1914.
Ask anyone who has a shred of humanity about them, and they will tell you: people pull together.
At heart, we are all humans.
Remember, there is only one race: the human race.
DOES THE MEDIA SIMPLY FUEL THE FLAMES OF EXTREMIST FIRE?
I always wonder at times such as this if the media simply fuels the flames of extremist fire.
If, by the simple act of reporting, terrorists get some of what they want.
The media can hardly not report the news, but if acts of terrorism were entirely ignored by the media, would they give up and go away?
Most likely not, but the media is certainly a tool of terrorism, particularly in our digital and news-at- the- press-of- a-button age.
Messages can be spread worldwide in seconds, images and video can accompany them, and we even have the issue of fake news to deal with.
Where this all leads is unknown, but human condemnation of these acts, and humanity amongst ourselves, will prevail.
TALK ABOUT THIS AT HOME, BUT WITHOUT MENTIONING RELIGION
It is hard to tell your children, or explain to them, what is meant by ‘terrorism’.
When I was a child, I grew up hearing about the IRA on the news.
My own children now hear about ISIS and, even if you attempt to protect your kids from it, they’ll hear about it in school.
It may be better therefore to discuss it at home, despite how uncomfortable or upsetting we find it.
And we must do so without mentioning religion.
Society really should be past the stage now of confusing this with true Islam, just as the Catholic church was never blamed for the IRA bombings.
This is a terrorist group – and it is far, far from the message of peace that Islam stands for.