A Dagger in the Heart

The Home of Democracy under attack — again

By KIN Editor Alan Tristram in the UK

We were in a charity shop deep in Surrey when I heard one of the volunteer women say quietly,’there’s been an attack in London, a person’s been killed near Parliament.’

No gasps or histrionics, just a quiet acceptance that our worst fears had been realised.

Since arriving in Britain two weeks earlier, Helen and  had been aware of tightened security — Police officers with sub-machine-guns at Waterloo Station, constant tannoy announcements about reporting suspicious items or events.

I’d been reporting in London during the Provisional IRA bombing campaigns in the 1970’s and 80’s.

So I knew that no-one in a pubic place could be safe or secure.

The terrorist menace

And we’d passed right through the area where the latest attack happened soon after coming to London.

There were police around Parliament Square and barriers everywhere, but that was for a demonstration. Then last weekend boatloads of armed police churned along the Thames in inflatable boats, preparing for a water-borne attack near Parliament.

For real

Then this attack it came. A cruel and devastating outrage only a few dozens metres from hundreds of MP’s in Parliament during one of the busiest sittings of the week.

So what are our first impressions?

  • Once again, the innocents, and their protectors, suffer death and injuries.
  • The British police and public, for the most part, react with amazing calm under the circumstances. In the U.S. many other people would have been hit in a storm of uncontrolled gunfire.
  • Once the outrage happened, hundreds of armed police, ambulance officers and nurses appeared on the scene.
  • A well-prepared security plan was put into operation.

Questions

But their are many unanswered questions.

Foremost among them — Why were the two yellow-jacketed police officers at the entrance to Parliament so exposed to attack?  Why weren’t they protected by some sort of barrier?

And how was the assailant able to dash into the area so easily?

The answer will probably reveal that in a working democracy it’s impossible to close everything down.