diamond geezer

 Tuesday, June 06, 2017

There is a place in London you should not go.

A place which, on a certain date at a certain time, you should not be.

A place which will live in infamy, whose name will be spoken of in sadness in the years to follow.

A place which, simply by being there, will end or change your life.

A place where action, or inaction, will be the difference between seeing tomorrow or not.

A place where random people will be going about their normal lives; standing talking, sitting quietly, walking with family, out with friends, sightseeing on vacation, enjoying a meal, going to school, heading to work, heading home, boarding a bus, cycling by, with beer or cigarette or newspaper or phone in hand, whatever...

...and then in a split second, or as events unfold, lives will never quite be normal again.

There will be tales of heroism as well as loss. Character will be tested, instinct will kick in, miraculous stories will be told. The terrible event will bring out the very best in people, as well as forcing us to reflect on the very worst.

We cannot foresee where this place will be.

We think we can, but that's because we base our predictions on the past. We add pavement protection to bridges, we remove litter bins from public places, we rifle through handbags on the way into a museum, we erect body scanners at sporting events, we ask you to take your keys and small change out of your pocket, we turn schools into fortresses, we circle public buildings with bollards, we erect rings of steel, we send armed police to station concourses, we ban liquids on flights, we lock cockpit doors, we make life that little bit more difficult for everyone to dissuade someone from exploiting the weaknesses of the past.

This place will be somewhere else, somewhere we haven't thought to protect, or somewhere we cannot.

Any pavement, any street, any shop, any mall, any bar, any restaurant, any park, any match, any concert, any library, any museum, any riverside, any bridge, any subway, any train, any bus, any journey, any suburb, anywhere.

When your weapon is a car, every road is a potential crime scene. When your weapon is a knife, any public place will do. When your bomb is primed and ready, you can remain outside the venue rather than trying to take it in. When armed police are standing where you were thinking of initiating your atrocity, you can walk a short distance away and do it anyway. Killing people is surprisingly easy, but thankfully almost all of us are programmed never to consider it.

We do all we can to reduce the possibility, but we cannot design risk out of daily life.

The absolute vulnerability of this place will, however, be obvious with hindsight.

We should have installed more cameras, we should have added barriers in the cycle lane, we should have patted people down on the way in, we should have stepped up patrols, we should have reported the suspicious behaviour, we should have spotted the equipment being purchased, we should have read a chain of emails in advance, we should have followed up one piece of intelligence amongst thousands, we should have taken their obvious hatred seriously, we should have intervened with education during formative years, should have, couldn't have, didn't.

This place will claim its victims anyway, as is its destiny, whenever that may be.

The date will hopefully be far into the future, but it could be next year, next month, this afternoon.

Such terrible incidents are thankfully rare. Over the last decade, almost none. This year, too many, but not many.

We remember the handful of atrocities that were unspeakably successful, but it's easy to forget quite how many tens of thousands of times we went about our normal lives and nothing happened.

There is a place in London which, on a certain date at a certain time, you should not be. Some people will be there. It would be ghastly if you were there. You almost certainly won't be.

We cannot live our lives in fear, or terror has won.

<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>

click to return to the main page

...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan19  Feb19  Mar19
Jan18  Feb18  Mar18  Apr18  May18  Jun18  Jul18  Aug18  Sep18  Oct18  Nov18  Dec18
Jan17  Feb17  Mar17  Apr17  May17  Jun17  Jul17  Aug17  Sep17  Oct17  Nov17  Dec17
Jan16  Feb16  Mar16  Apr16  May16  Jun16  Jul16  Aug16  Sep16  Oct16  Nov16  Dec16
Jan15  Feb15  Mar15  Apr15  May15  Jun15  Jul15  Aug15  Sep15  Oct15  Nov15  Dec15
Jan14  Feb14  Mar14  Apr14  May14  Jun14  Jul14  Aug14  Sep14  Oct14  Nov14  Dec14
Jan13  Feb13  Mar13  Apr13  May13  Jun13  Jul13  Aug13  Sep13  Oct13  Nov13  Dec13
Jan12  Feb12  Mar12  Apr12  May12  Jun12  Jul12  Aug12  Sep12  Oct12  Nov12  Dec12
Jan11  Feb11  Mar11  Apr11  May11  Jun11  Jul11  Aug11  Sep11  Oct11  Nov11  Dec11
Jan10  Feb10  Mar10  Apr10  May10  Jun10  Jul10  Aug10  Sep10  Oct10  Nov10  Dec10 
Jan09  Feb09  Mar09  Apr09  May09  Jun09  Jul09  Aug09  Sep09  Oct09  Nov09  Dec09
Jan08  Feb08  Mar08  Apr08  May08  Jun08  Jul08  Aug08  Sep08  Oct08  Nov08  Dec08
Jan07  Feb07  Mar07  Apr07  May07  Jun07  Jul07  Aug07  Sep07  Oct07  Nov07  Dec07
Jan06  Feb06  Mar06  Apr06  May06  Jun06  Jul06  Aug06  Sep06  Oct06  Nov06  Dec06
Jan05  Feb05  Mar05  Apr05  May05  Jun05  Jul05  Aug05  Sep05  Oct05  Nov05  Dec05
Jan04  Feb04  Mar04  Apr04  May04  Jun04  Jul04  Aug04  Sep04  Oct04  Nov04  Dec04
Jan03  Feb03  Mar03  Apr03  May03  Jun03  Jul03  Aug03  Sep03  Oct03  Nov03  Dec03
 Jan02  Feb02  Mar02  Apr02  May02  Jun02  Jul02 Aug02  Sep02  Oct02  Nov02  Dec02 

eXTReMe Tracker
jack of diamonds
Life viewed from London E3

» email me
» follow me on twitter
» follow the blog on Twitter
» follow the blog on RSS

my flickr photostream