Bursting the Bubble – Shooting In Tel Aviv On New Year’s Day

Every once in a while, something happens which creates a hole in the imaginary bubble I have created around myself. I live within the walls of this bubble. All my friends and family also live within the walls of this bubble.

On the outside of the bubble, anything can happen. On the outside of the bubble people get sick, they have accidents, and they sometimes die, or are even killed. But those are things which only happens outside the bubble, because inside my bubble, horrible things like that don’t happen. Horrible things like that happen only to other people, who live other lives, distant from my own.

I am sure more or less every single person on this planet has this bubble. And still, someone is always the victim, and also the victim had a protective bubble.

The reality is, that the likelihood of something happening to me, is probably just as big as the likelihood of something happening to you, or to anyone else. But we can’t go around and worry about these kind of things every day, because then we wouldn’t be able to live normal lives, we would be constantly afraid and worried.

Unfortunately, there are times when things happens a bit too close to our bubbles; a bit too close for us to continue to feel entirely safe. We are reminded, that maybe the bubble is only in our heads, maybe we are in fact no more protected than anyone else.

Every other day I read in the news about horrible things that happens to people around the world. It goes to the point where I stop reading the news, because I realize it brings me nothing good.

When living in Israel especially, it’s difficult to not be drawn in to the news stories. Because a lot of things tend to happen here, and because in such a small country, everyone is somehow affected by everything.

Even so, I have been reading a lot about terror attacks lately, about civilians being stabbed, shot or run over by cars. Every time civilians anywhere become victims of bigger powers, it hurts me. It feels so unfair. And when these things happen within the country I live in, from time to time it makes me question how safe I am.

But when I question, that’s all I  really do. I question my safety, I conclude nothing happened to me yet, and then I move on with my life as usual.

I’ve realized that when things happen close enough though, I do more than just question – I realize how vulnerable our lives really are.

On Friday, January 1st, 2016, New Years Day, there was a shooting in Tel Aviv, on my street, just a few blocks away from me. It was a regular Friday afternoon, people were out in the city, despite the fact that the weather was not great. The pubs on Dizengoff street were full of people as usual. They were having drinks and enjoying the first day of the year.

A man, who looked like any other man, decided to suddenly take out an automatic weapon from his bag and start shooting towards the people sitting in one of the pubs.

According to media, a lot of the people were there to celebrate a birthday. It was suppose to be a normal happy day. A celebration. They were sitting there inside their safe bubble having beer.

And then bullets pierced the bubble.

Two people died. Eight more were wounded.

The man who did this got away. Police are still looking for him.

I was at home studying when this happened. Suddenly the air was full of the sounds of sirens from ambulances and police cars. We saw them passing by outside. We turned on the news to find out what happened, and reality hit us.

People in a bar had just been shot a couple a blocks from us.

It could have been me. It could have been anyone I know.

By coincidence, I was at home at the moment, and not out on the street. And by the same coincidence most likely, other people were on the street.

Sometimes you realize, that we are all vulnerable. It can happen to anyone of us, any time, anywhere in the world. And we can’t predict it.

I watched the video clip showing the the guy who did this just before he started shooting. The video was from security cameras inside the store next to the pub. He was in there buying some nuts, looking like any other ordinary customer. Others past him buy, suspecting nothing.

And then he took out the gun, and the safe and ordinary image was gone.

It has now been three days since the incident. Life goes on for most of us, but for some not. Those of us who can, repair the holes in our bubbles, and we try to remember to show more appreciation for everything we have within them. Because we know, that outside our bubbles we are exposed to everything, and everything can be taken away from us, at any given moment.