WITH swine flu seemingly running rampant and the shopping malls becoming preferred targets for criminals, it is easy for all of us to lose our heads. It is as easy to call on the government to do "something".
Seven Gauteng malls had by yesterday been hit in seven days. The simple act of shopping seems to have become a high-risk adventure.
There is already talk of bringing in the big guns to tackle this recent form of urban terrorism. But unless the hands that hold these guns are attached to bodies with cool heads, we could turn shopping malls into the OK Corral.
We also need to temper our approach to the H1N1 virus.
Reported swine flu cases now number more than 1900. Many parents are living with the dilemma of whether to keep their children at home or allow them to go to school.
But as with security concerns at shopping centres, if ever there was a need for cool heads from the public and leadership by the government, it is now.
As Minister of Health Aaron Motsoaledi said this week, panic is one of the worst ways of dealing with a perceived crisis.
Panic is a function of ignorance and a sense that the challenges are beyond one's ability to contain or control.
So these twin challenges give our government, working with communities and other civil society organisations, an opportunity to show what can be achieved when we all put our shoulders to the wheel and keep our heads when everybody else is losing theirs.