Thursday, March 23, 2017

What happened in London today ...


That was unexpected, the events in London today. I wasn't involved, nor I believe was anyone I know or am even loosely connected with.

It's an odd feeling. This one is so much closer to home than the events that hit France and Belgium. It's very much closer to home than the active terror campaigns that are the lead cause of the waves of immigrants and refugees looking to resettle in Europe.

The reactions to it are varied. There was almost some aggro today on one of the Discord chat servers due to the reaction of both me and a fella there who lives in the Ukraine. The "normal" reaction to events like this is shock, paralysis and a need to find out more information on the event. The shock is a normal reaction to knowing innocent lives have been lost.

What is different is how we react with that shock. Do we enter a paralysis, an incapacitation ? Or do we react by seeing what can be learned from the event. By asking the question - how do we make sure this does not happen to me or people I know.

The fella in the Ukraine has got used to a situation (due to the situation with Russia on the borders) where they are in a not very cold conflict. From what he says, it is almost at undeclared war status over there. He's half expecting to have to prepare to face Crazy Russians at his doorstep. So his reaction was pretty much "Shrug, this stuff happens every day over here". Fair enough ! But it nearly got him in deep trouble with the other people on that forum.

My own reaction is rather desensitized as well.

My early years were spent living in Northern Ireland in the late 70s, early 80s. It wasn't at the height of the Troubles but there was still active terrorism going on. The IRA led terror was continuing even into the 90s with the 1996 bombing of Manchester's Arndale shopping centre. Omagh was bombed in a particularly cynical and vicious attack in 1998. And that was a situation that had actually improved and settled down a bit from when I lived over there.

My mum had car tyres slashed and had been subject to attacks and near attacks while working in the hospitals and health centres. My dad doesn't talk about it too much but being placed in a factory on the Falls Road (a no go area to the wrong religion) was a big factor in us moving back to England.

Northern Ireland was still quite a dangerous place. I was in Lisburn when 2 bombs went off. I wasn't close, I don't think anyone was killed in either bomb although that's from around 35 years ago. We were caught up in several bomb threat evacuations as well.

The IRA had a certain code. They would phone in a warning of a bomb attack before it happened, although to satisfy that code the warning could be overly cryptic and too late for anything to be done about it. In the case of Omagh, there were two bombs. A first bomb drove everyone away from it to evacuation collection areas ... which was where the second bomb was.


All this terror. The world can be a genuinely scary place.

What do we do about it ?

We don't let them win. Definitely don't let them win.

If we change how we live, then they win. Don't let that happen. I was extremely concerned around last year's Comic Con because I thought that was going to be attacked. It is after all, a festival of Western (and Asian, which I think the Evil People see as Western as well) culture, with many young people clustered around. It's a high value target and, due to cosplays too, probably a soft place to attack.

Sad to say.

I think the relief of it not happening (I'd been hiding my concern from the person I was with, I didn't want her to pick up on me being worried) was why I drastically attacked my outsides after I got home. I survived the day but was shredded for most of the rest of the week. I had the week off but it was about the Thursday before I was starting to normalise.

That's the lesson I would like to pass on :

Be vigilant. But do not change your intentions for how you want to live your life. At no point did the thought "Do we still go to Comic Con ?" cross my mind. Same for the Lords trip (also a high value target considering who was playing) beforehand.

We'll be going to Comic Con again this year. It's too much fun to miss. Especially with the company. Same with the IST20 again at Lords.

I don't intent to change any of my plans due to the threat from Crazy Mad Evil People. But I will be more vigilant. Like this evening coming home from work, I walked on the other side of the street on the way out, the side that isn't nearly as vulnerable to being snatched into a van before you realise what's happening (this is a genuine threat).

There was a similar incident to today in Glasgow a few years back. An attack on an airport I used to use regularly. I'd been in there a few weeks before that attack and couldn't believe it when I saw it on the news. A group of (actually smart) idiots had driven a 4x4 up to the airport with the intention of burning down the terminal, trapping people inside by blocking the main exit. They hadn't considered the anti-ram bollards, which were more than a match for the 4x4. They didn't get in and the only damage was to the idiot crazy people and burn marks on the outside of the building.

We were flying in and out of that airport a few weeks later (it happened during Xmas leave, so a couple of weeks until we were back).

These things happen. It's by different people but there are still a lot of Crazy Evil People out there. The threat has moved from being mostly Northern Ireland groups to being global. We need to remember, we need to be more vigilant. But we must not let it paralyse us, must not let it demoralise us, must not let it affect our resolve to live our lives the way we choose.

And one last note for our communities and security forces too. There was an incident a few years ago in Bristol where a Crazy Evil Person was intending to bomb the Cabot Circus shopping area. The security people had their eye on him and stopped him but the real heroes were the Muslim community who sounded the alarm on the crazy person living among them.

I suspect we will see more of the anti-different movement that we're all victims of. People being uncomfortable about others around them wearing traditional garb (this distrust is really bad). More prejudice against the usual targets, those who are different. Don't fall into that trap. We're still more likely to be hit here by Crazy Irish Separatists than by people from Asia/Middle East and they look just the same as we do.

Be vigilant;
Don't let things like today change what you do;
Remember those who have been lost;
Avoid letting it break communities.

PS On a lighter note ... I have 3 April 1st Secret Projects for you this year. I hope you enjoy them ... I'm desperate to post them !!! This life should be about fun like what japes we can do for April 1st and what other ways we can brighten up people's lives, not about our reactions to Crazy Evil People.

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