When I was growing up, my recurring nightmare was that we were all headed for oblivion because of looming nuclear Armageddon.
The feeling in those days was that the US and Soviet Union were going toe to toe and we Brits were going to get dragged into it whether we liked it of not.
Cheery films like Threads and When the Wind Blows made it all seem somehow inevitable while Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s Two Tribes video showed the respective leaders bludgeoning each other in the boxing ring.
But arguably even that awful uncertainty was better than the fear that has replaced it.
Today you might be targeted by deranged terrorists on a London tube train or, as we have just seen in Tunisia, while lying on a sunbed on a well deserved summer break in a foreign resort previously considered to be pretty safe.
The worst thing about this new brand of terror is that you don’t know where or when it’s going to strike next.
These so-called ‘lone wolf’ killers have added a whole new, deadly dimension.
The security services may be able to intercept some before they strike – and we will never know exactly how many – but it’s inevitable thata few, like Tunisian gunman Seifeddine Rezgui, will slip through the net.
The appalling consequences are plain to see and are being felt right across Britain, including here in Leeds where the family and friends of Christopher and Sharon Bell are in mourning.
We will pause as a nation tomorrow for a minute’s silence during which we will think of the victims and their loved ones.
And, understandably, we will wonder whether it could happen to us and our families too.
People will start giving Tunisia the cold shoulder when it comes to booking their holidays, just as they are starting to give Egypt and other known hotspots a wide berth.
But the truth is that as Britons we can never feel completely safe because of the very fact that the targets are impossible to predict.
While Rezgui will no doubt be hailed a martyred hero by the twisted fanatics who keep killing in the name of their warped ideology, he was in fact a coward.
After all, only a coward would walk into a holiday resort and open fire on unarmed, unsuspecting tourists.
He and his ilk claim it’s open season on Britons because of our support for military action in Muslim countries.
At times like this it’s hard to know who to feel more angry at – them or the politicians who led us into war on the flimsiest of premises.
There’s a good case for carrying on as normal and not letting them win. But the toll is getting heavier and grim truth is that all the signs are that it’s getting worse rather than better.
Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond may be chairing a meeting of the Government’s Cobra emergencies committee “to discuss the latest situation” but the reality is that there’s not a lot the Government or anyone else can can do to make us feel safe.
This, of course, is exactly what the terrorists hope to achieve. And we shouldn’t give them the sastisfaction of living in fear.
However, in a few days’ time it was be the tenth anniversary of the July 7 attacks in London.
A decade has come and gone, yet we’re no nearer ending this reign of terror.
This latest attack will have an impact on every one of us in terms of our right to privacy. It makes the argument for newly beefed up monitoring powers all the more compelling.
Even if it’s for the most understandable of reasons, there’s a danger of Britain sleepwalking its way into becoming a police state straight out of George Orwell’s 1984.
Given what’s happening, it’s hard not to conclude that the Cold War wasn’t all that bad after all. At least you knew where you stood.