“I needed to run in case there was a terrorist attack,” the media personality and businesswoman said on her radio show, The 3pm Pickup, on Monday afternoon.
“I like to plan ahead. Going to the MCG, there were two things on my mind,” she told co-host Monty Dimond.
“The first was being trampled in the crowd. The other thing I worry about is terrorists. And there was that terrorist plot to blow up the MCG on grand final day in 2015.
“… I needed to run in case there was a terrorist attack.”
It sounds hyperbolic when Bec says it aloud. But it’s not. She’s just the only one talking about it. The truth is, that apprehension is something many have felt in the pit of our stomachs when we gather in public spaces. For a split second, for a blink, we think: ‘This kind of thing would be attractive to a terrorist who wants to kill a lot of people.’
Of course, we do not let that thought rule us. We do not let it determine how we live; how we gather. We push onwards and cheer and scream at footballers and musicians until we don’t have a voice left. Then we go back to our families and homes, enjoy cups of tea and hugs, safe and sound.
But the thought still flickers, somewhere, quietly.
Bec Judd isn’t alone in that.
Listen: Mia Freedman and Amelia Lester deep dive on the Las Vegas mass shooting, and US gun laws that desperately need to change. Post continues after audio.
I’m a footy nut who was at the MCG on Saturday for the AFL Grand Final. The same thought crossed my mind. And my sister’s, actually.
When I was getting ready before the game I actually pulled heeled ankle boots on before changing into Adidas sneakers. Sure, being comfy and able to weave through congested crowds was an important factor in this. But the ability to move quickly made me feel safer. Calmer. More in control.
Just… in case.
The timing of Bec’s comments was, darkly, apt. Just hours later news of a mass shooting in Las Vegas broke. A crazed man opened fire on a sea of 22,000 festival goers, claiming at least 58 lives. He injured 500 more. As bullets sprayed, people sprinted for their lives.
“Everyone’s telling us to run, run as fast as you can. My husband and I ran out to our car and there were people hiding underneath my car for cover,” an unnamed woman told CNN.
“People without shoes, running just to get away.”
Panicked, shoeless people running. Women who chose beautiful shoes specifically to wear to the country music festival. Many of those shoes, probably, not fit for running in.
It echoes the lightning bolt to the guts on reading of when Sara Zelenak, the 21-year-old from Brisbane who was killed in the London Bridge terror attack in June, was likely killed because her heels “slowed her down”.
“I ran thinking she would be running with me but I looked back and she wasn’t there,” Sara’s friend told Fairfax.
It was a Saturday night. She was preparing for a night out with girlfriends, like many young women have a hundred times before.
The possibility of a random attack, regardless of motivation, is a hard reality to face. One that has entered our headlines, yet again, with the Las Vegas shooting.
The thought ‘is it safe to wear heels?’ – as fleeting or scary or seemingly ‘over the top’ as it might be – is a new question for women, and it’s not dramatic.