Norway has suffered the worst violence since World War II with at least seven people killed in an explosion at a government building and many more shot dead at a youth camp.
These are acts of terror although it is not yet known if they were acts of terrorism.
Regardless of who was responsible, it is a reminder of how vulnerable we all are.
When we were in New York earlier this month we had to pass through x-rays at the entrance to places like the Statue of Liberty and Empire State Building. But there were many other places with no obvious signs of security where someone determined to unleash terror could have done so.
Today’s attacks in Norway show it is impossible to guard everyone everywhere and no-one should try to. Just as the British people learned to live with the threat of IRA bombings in the 1970s and 80s, we must accept sensible precautions but not let them curtail our freedom.
New Zealanders often complain about the lack of news from home in overseas media.
I am sure that people from most countries could make the same complaint about the coverage of news from their homes in our media.
However, we did see the first mention of New Zealand in Spanish media on Saturday. It an item about the terrorist bombing in Jakarta in a paper and John Key was interviewed on Sky TV broadcast in Spain.
We noticed a very visible presence of the Guarda Civil while in Spain.
One of their roles is anti-terrorism. That’s a major concern because they have home-grown terrorists – ETA, although they tend to be more active in the Basque country in the north than the south where we were.
Oamaru is not regarded as a hot bed of terrorism so when a bloke popped into the office of Otago MP Jacqui Dean this afternoon and told us to get out because there was a bomb scare, we thought he was joking.
He wasn’t. The policeman in the foyer ushered us out and we joined people from neighbouring shops and offices on the footpath.
Jacqui’s office wasn’t the one under threat, it was a call centre next door.
Maybe someone took the Readers Digest list of least trusted occupations, which put telemarketers last, seriously.