I just got back from a wonderful three weeks in India. I flew to Chennai in the south where I stayed with my son, David, for a few days. Then we went by train to Mysore, the city of sandalwood. We visited Bandipur, where the tigers and elephants roam and we were lucky the park had reopened in time for our trip. It had been shut down for quite a while until the murderous bandit, Veerapan, was hunted down and shot. Then we flew to Mumbai, the city of Bollywood, filmi stars, and exuberant energy.
Next, we flew to Kashmir and spent a couple of idyllic days (in spite of the heavy security) on beautiful Dal Lake and took a horseback ride into the Himalayas. Finally, we flew to New Delhi where we spent the last five days of our trip, where I did my presentation, and where the hosts of the event took great care of us, showing us around, helping us shop, and taking out for dinner. Of course, we spent one day over in Agra visiting the beautiful Taj Mahal and the dazzling Red Fort.
Then, I flew home and my son went on to his volunteer job in Jaipur.
Yes, Jaipur, where the seven bomb blasts just tore up the center of the Pink City, this lovely peaceful city which is the tourism capital of India.
It took me eight attempts to reach David by phone but finally the call went through and he picked up. What a relief it was to hear his voice. He told me he was all right and that he had been in his apartment at the time the bombs went off.
I have been in three locations in recent years where terrorists attacked but luckily I had come and gone before they did. London, England; Hyderabad, India, and Sharm-el-Sheik, Egypt. It is always an odd feeling to realize that where you had were standing, innocent people were torn apart. I also live in Washington DC where the 911 plane crash into the Pentagon and shut down the city and where the DC snipers terrified everyone into dancing at the gas station pumps afraid to be a still target. I remember the palpable fear in the air and the many people who retreated into their houses, trying to decrease their odds of becoming a statistic. I remember how residents of the area stopped going downtown to DC to eat out and going to the theatre. I recall a number of restaurants when out of business because they couldn't sustain the loss of business.
I worry about my son but I also worry about the state of affairs in Jaipur and India. Terrorism takes lives but it also takes peace of mind and livelihoods. Will tourists now shun this lovely city and the rest of India because of the fear of terrorism? Will businesses fail and men become unable to put food on the table of their families?
I hope India goes after these bastards (and I would use another words but another one doesn't come to mind) with all they have got. I hope that the rest of the world doesn't decide to avoid doing business in India and that tourists don't decide to avoid the country as a travel destination.
My heart goes out to the residents of Jaipur. As for my son, I hope he continues to enjoy the hospitality of the area and the work he is doing. I hope he doesn't let terrorism dictate to him what he should do or where he should be.
Most of all, I hope we stop terrorism before it destroys the world we live in.
Criminal Profiler Pat Brown