Thursday, 23 March 2017
So in the last 24 hours we have once again been collectively reeling at the shock of yet another tragedy, the likes of which have become far too frequent in this world. And yet, despite the embarrassing fabrications of junk media outlets, business is carrying on as usual in London.
1. London has the best emergency response in the world
From the counter-terrorism intelligence services, to the police, the paramedics, and all manor of public servants taking action from land, air, and river, no city in the world boasts an emergency response team as well prepared and finely drilled as London.
We see them running drills and exercises all over the city, year after year, and yet in all but the most exceptional of circumstances, their procedures remain purely academic. So for them to be able to react instantly, after years of the hypothetical, and immediately spring into action is something truly to be admired.
The quick reactions of the armed security took down the attacker before further damage could be done. Within minutes the paramedics were tending to the injured. Almost immediately lockdowns were in effect all around Parliament Square and the surrounding area. Their speed and competence is a true source of pride for this city. Indeed, it is a testament to the skill and hard work of these departments that we rarely have to see them in action in the first place.
2. Tales of heroism from civilians
But these types of deeds are not unique just to the professionals. The news today is full of stories of civilian bystanders looking out for one another, doing their best to tend to the wounded, alert nearby security personnel, and generally what they can to help.
It was the work of ordinary Londoners that managed to recover the injured Andreea Cristea, who fell from Westminster Bridge into the Thames, who managed to treat and comfort the injured on the bridge until the ambulances arrived moments later. And then there is Tobias Ellwood MP, who ignored the cautious warnings of his security personnel to stay onsite and perform CPR on PC Keith Palmer, the heroic officer who stopped the attacker at the cost of his life.
You can tell a lot about people by how they react in an emergency. In this instance there were many who showed the courage to stay and help one another. Londoners are good people.
3. It's very difficult to obtain a weapon in this country, thankfully
It has been more than a decade now since a terrorist attack was staged in this country using anything more damaging than a knife. We live in a country where strict regulation has ensured that it is next to impossible to obtain a gun, or materials to build a bomb, and yesterday proves yet again the extent to which these laws protect the public. Imagine how much worse it could have been if the attacker emerged from his car holding an automatic weapon, or armed with an explosive device.
Yesterday's shooting in Wisconsin, which had more fatalities than the London attack, has gone largely unnoticed by the media. But it serves as a stark contrast to what happened here where, armed with only a knife, the London attacker was barely able to reach a single individual after emerging from his vehicle before being taken down. Westminster is one of the most crowded sites in the country. If not for our sane policies, the casualty count would certainly have been much higher.
4. London remains open, and gets on with it
But the number one symbol of pride for the British people from all of this is simply that we have not let these events change our way of life. London remains open to everyone, tolerant of all people, and is carrying on with business as usual.
We took on the Romans, the Saxons, the Danes, the French, William Wallace, the Black Plague, the Roundheads, the Great Fire, Napoleon, the Nazis and the Blitz, and we're still here. Some asshat with a knife isn't going to get to us.
So in spite of yesterday's horrific events, I take heart from the inspiring example set by my fellow Londoners, a city that handles even the most dire of situations with grace and compassion. If the attacker wanted to divide us, and show our town to be a place of hatred and mistrust, they failed. London remains united, undaunted, and open.