[Note: [3:53pm GMT] Sorry about even more updates/amendments to this post but I thought that I should update it after seeing more news coverage.]
I don’t usually write about current events on here but, earlier this morning, I read about the horrific attack in London. My first reaction was, of course, shock and fear. This sort of thing doesn’t happen here in Britain! I know people from London, and people who have visited the city recently! And that sort of thing. My mind flashed back to the news coverage of the 7/7 attacks from 11-12 years ago.
But, the more I read about the attack, the more I realised that – as tragic and unforgivably outrageous as it was – Britain is still one of the safest countries on the planet when it comes to this sort of thing. It’s natural to be shocked and disgusted by what happened. But, you shouldn’t let the actions of one evil man scare you. This is why.
For starters, this was the first major attack to take place (in Britain) in 11-12 years. There has been more than a decade where no major attacks of this type have happened here. As horrific as it is, it is very much the exception rather than the rule. Attacks like this one are shocking because they are incredibly rare. There are many, many more days when something like this doesn’t happen than there are when something like this does.
Secondly, from what I read, the criminal was prevented from using a bomb for the simple reason that our security services are some of the best in the world when it comes to detecting and stopping bomb plots. Although this evil bastard still caused a lot of harm, he was thankfully prevented from causing much more harm due to the fact that we have highly-experienced security services who are really, really good at stopping things like this (again, no major attacks in 11-12 years!).
Thirdly, the police did their job perfectly. One brave policeman gave his life to protect others and, thanks to lots of preventative planning, there were also armed officers stationed outside parliament who prevented the killer from entering the building. There were well-equipped (and, more importantly, properly trained) police officers ready and waiting to stop something like this turning into something far worse.
Likewise, the murderer actually had to leave his car before his attempted attack on parliament due to the fact that parliament was already well-protected against vehicle attacks, thanks to it’s fences and barriers. All of this shows that our police and security services are some of the best in the world when it comes to mitigating or, much more commonly, completely preventing atrocities like this. So, don’t be afraid. We’re well-protected.
Fourthly, and I know that this is probably a touchy subject for some of my American readers, it’s reassuring to note that the killer didn’t have a gun. Thanks to our strict firearms laws, a man intent on mass murder was only able to get his hands on knives and a car. Yes, he unfortunately still murdered several people (and injured many others). But, he would have probably murdered many more if he had been carrying a gun. Thankfully, the only people with guns there were highly-trained police officers with years of regular firearms practice. So, Britain is safer than many other places because mass murderers can’t get hold of guns easily.
Finally, violent religious radicals (which, from everything in the news since my last update to this article, the attacker seems to be) are very much the exception rather than the rule.
For every violent religious fanatic, there are hundreds of thousands (or even millions) of perfectly ordinary non-violent, non-fanatical people who follow that particular religion. Statistically, violent religious extremists are thankfully very rare.
So, whilst it’s perfectly ok to hate the individual person who committed this crime, don’t make the stupid mistake of hating or fearing whole groups of people – almost all of whom are perfectly ordinary and innocent, just like anyone else ( and who probably hate him as much as everyone else does).
Terrorists thrive on creating fear and panic. This is one reason why I was reluctant to use the (scary) word “terrorism” earlier in this editorial. But, historically speaking, there isn’t too much to be scared by these days. Compared to the frequent IRA terrorist attacks during Britain’s relatively recent past, compared to the atrocious Admiral Duncan bombing in 1999, compared to the horror of the 7/7 attacks in 2005 etc.. we are living in one of the safest times in modern British history. This recent attack was horrific, but it’s far from the worst that Britain has ever endured. We are safer now than we were then.
We are living in an age where these things are shocking because they don’t usually happen. Even twenty or thirty years ago (or even 11-12 years ago), this wouldn’t quite have been the case. Don’t let the disgusting actions of one evil man trick you into being scared. Yes, something terrible has happened – but Britain is safe.
Don’t let the terrorists scare you, don’t let them win. In the words of that famous poster, keep calm and carry on.