London

Image courtesy of Stockvault.

So far, The Guardian has a decent update on what happened yesterday in London. The really short version is that an assailant drove a car into a crowd near the British Parliament building and then started stabbing people. Metropolitan police eventually shot and killed the assailant. As of this writing, a man named Khalid Masood has been identified as the assailant.

Like other tragedies in recent memory, this is getting its own publicity circus.
I don’t mind hearing about the victims’ lives, celebrating who they were as people and how they’ve positively affected others. I also don’t mind hearing about how police handled the situation, as those evaluations help police departments everywhere plan for unexpected spree killings like this one was. The outpouring of support for Londoners is also a good thing. While I can’t imagine what the families of the lost and the people who live there are going through right now, I know that place has managed to bounce back from all sorts of tragedy in the past. I want to think that this will be no different.

What I do mind hearing about are the people who are already using this as an excuse to make baseless assertions about people they don’t know. Some outlets (like Fox, unsurprisingly) are already preparing the field for talking about terror attacks, needing to conquer a criminal organization masquerading as a state, and fighting the dark specter of Islam. No, I don’t have a crystal ball, but I’m already expecting this stuff is going to take over the conversation in the near future as soon as it’s socially acceptable to neglect the actual people directly affected by this criminal act.

News agencies nowadays go for the sensational facts before relevant facts.
Consider this news report of one police officer and three other people dead in a shooting spree near Green Bay, Wisconsin. It happened the same day as the London spree, but absent in the report is any claim of terrorism. News reports aren’t even calling it an attack. Of course, this is because there are no sensational claims to be had, and those involved don’t have Middle Eastern names.

To be clear, both of these crimes are tragic. The communities in Wisconsin probably stand a better chance of healing faster than the ones in London for no other reason than one can get sensationalized better. My hope is that I’m wrong, but if Orlando, Paris, and Bakersfield are any indication of how this goes, the people of London will have to endure news agencies trying to scare them into downloading articles, watching videos, and paying for content. Instead of hearing about how Metropolitan Police saved Parliament and innocent bystanders from a murderer, they’ll get to hear a tale about a terrorist attacking freedom and democracy.

At times like this, I like to think about the good things people do that go unreported.
I’m pretty sure a lot of people in London went home and hugged their loved ones, called people they’d lost touch with, and took a moment to reflect on what they have. If they’re anything like communities anywhere else, they probably expressed support for the victims and their families and let their neighbors know they’ve got their backs. That sort of resilience goes on every day, in places all over the world. London will be no different.

Despite the tragedy and heartbreak this one person caused, the people of London will carry on. I, for one, look forward to seeing them triumph and stand tall.

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40 thoughts on “London

  1. Wow. That your news is spending more time on a London story than one that happened on home soil says a lot. I hope if Fox starts spewing falsehoods that the UK PM will shoot them down like Trudeau did when we had the shooting here in Quebec.

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    • NBC had live coverage for a while after the incident took place yesterday, although ABC, CBS, and the Fox network didn’t break their programming to cover it. All the 24-hour stations had something about it. Right now they’re keeping a lid on the severe sensationalism, but Fox News actually ran a story earlier asking if it was safe to travel in the UK.

      Considering everything Trump has said and done so far about Muslims, I am reasonably confident that the discussion is going to end up spiraling out of control like what happened after the Orlando shooting.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I only heard of this from a blog comment somewhere this afternoon as i generally do not read news if I can avoid it.
    Tragic as the London attack is if ISIS is behind it then religion is behind it also.
    One day the reality of this has to be faced … and dealt with.

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  3. Hi Mak. You are correct in saying any advantage the tRump crew can get out of hyping up the Islam / Muslim connection. Yes there are bad actors in Islam, and a lot more violent muslims it seems. However we also have violent Christians and in far greater numbers than most people think. It is hidden because most of the attacks by Non Muslims gets labeled as simple crimes, not terror. What I would love to have someone who is level headed and not grinding an ax explain to me is about the idea that Islam is is a more violent religion than any others. Not that more acts of harm are done by followers of the religion, but that the faith is inherently violent despite nonviolent members. We don’t say buddhism is a violent religion even though in some places the buddhist are hacking people apart, including children. We don’t say Christianity is a violent religion even though some members have done some very violent things. I just see it as a “double standard” we use toward religion when it comes to Islam. The reason I ask is because I have known people in different faiths who have been wonderful and grand caring loving helpful people. That includes Muslims. I know you all have studied this and will be able to give me a clear answer I can understand. Thanks. Hugs

    Liked by 1 person

    • SCottie I know what you are trying to say. But I disagree. This is not about violence generally it is about a specific type of violence. It is about violence motivated by religion.

      There is a clear issue in Islam where its followers find a cause to justify attacks on innocent people. I think we all need to face reality that Islam is the inspiration.

      A Christian who commits an act of violence is not a terrorist if it is a common, non ideological crime.

      Also Scottie, think about the acts in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Tunisia, Turkey which are called terrorism. In those Muslim majority countries people differentiate between violence and terrorism.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hello Peter I still don’t quite get it. You say in islam there is a clear issue where its followers find a cause to justify attacks. I think that is true. But it doesn’t absolve any other religion. I have listen to the rhetoric of the leaders of the major christian religions and added to them the more extreme ones. They are openly pushing for a theocracy in which their god is forced on everyone. Look at how they are trying to get into the current administration and how they claim it gives them more authority.
        The things they way they want to do to gay people like me is terrifying. There have been attacks on gay people by people of the christian religion, and they publicly justify it due to their religion. The two pastors who both claimed it was great that the people in the Pulse night club died, and they wished more of us did. One suggested as soon as their god took over it would be OK for people to kill gays. So if these people got the chance to have a theocracy like the muslim countries do , they would act the same, they would have virtue squads and morality police, just as the puritans did who settled in the U.S. so long ago. As for the actions in Burma those are Buddhist who are hacking apart children because they are a different religion, it is not crime but terror. I am sorry but as in our country the blinders are on which say that anything our white christian people do is not a terrorist action because they are not muslim so it is only a crime and everything the muslim / islamic does is not a crime but an act of terror.
        Peter I am not saying the Koran ( hope I spelled it correctly ) has very violent parts that say kill those who don’t believe as we do. But so does the bible. Do the Islamic attacks get more attention, sure. Does the Muslim faith try to expand into the rest of the world, yes, but so does christianity. Look at Scott Lively who is charged with crimes against humanity over what he has been going around the african nations trying to get them to enact laws against homosexuality. Now it is true we have nothing quite as open as ISIS but if the leaders of the christian faiths here in the states thought they could get aways with it , they would try. Even when I was in the SDA church way back in the 1980’s they were constantly raising money to have their branch of christianity take over poor countries. Not for their good, but to push the religion.

        I agree a crime can be an act of terror if the intent is to do so, but it is true of the Tim McVeigh as it is the Muhammads of the world. Here is what I just pulled up. It says domestic terrorist. “Timothy James McVeigh (April 23, 1968 – June 11, 2001) was an American domestic terrorist convicted[3] and executed[4] for the detonation of an Ammonium Nitrate and Nitromethane fertilizer truck bomb in front of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995”.

        Peter I really do thank you for trying to show me the difference between the acts of the different groups. It still seems to me that there is a different standard applied. Any crime committed by Muslims, the whole religion is bad. Any terrorist action committed by a non Muslim is a crime only, having no relation to their religion. In fact I recently watched on MSNBC a poll that said basically that people don’t see Christian crimes as they do Muslim crimes. Thank you I do appreciate your trying. Hugs

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      • Yes Peter but what that is not my question. My question is why we blame the entire faith because of actions that are labeled terrorism, when we do not do the same for other religions who commit terrorist acts that then get labeled individual crimes not related to their faith. It is discrimination. It is a standard for one group not applied to any other group. Thanks and Hugs.

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      • Scottie my argument is that there are terrorists using ISlam as their religion. Consider this news report about an attack overnight in Bangladesh:
        http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2017/03/25/claims-bangladesh-airport-suicide-bomb

        Note the motivation for the attack:

        ‘The militants named this Friday’s attacker as Abu Mohammed al-Bengali and said he had detonated his explosive jacket in the midst of police officers it dismissed as “apostates” in a message posted on supporters’ social media accounts.’

        ISIS attacks fellow Muslims in Bangladesh because they are not sufficiently pure in their following of the faith.

        I realise many Muslims don’t aupport Terrorism. But many seem to support the ideology that leads to terror. It is obviously difficult to ever get statistics on this sort of matter, but I have read that up to 30% of Muslims support the ideology and aims of ISIS.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hello Peter, I just read what you wrote about how 30 percent support the religion that is being corrupted. See that is important information. So we have 70 % peaceful. Are the 70% scared of the 30% ? Bill Maher often asks why the moderate Muslims don’t stand up to the radical Muslims. That is a good question. How do secular countries dereligionalize (misspelled) the ones who can only see their religion and violate the rights of others. Hugs

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    • Hey Scottie –

      Here is a very good source of information regarding terrorist incidents, casualties, and locations. There’s some pretty good stuff in there. Something especially useful I’ve noticed is how, prior to 9/11, Muslim countries didn’t even rank in the top 10 countries regarding terrorism attacks. Most of the countries were Catholic.

      Yeah, Catholic.

      Research on this is limited, though, so it’s impossible right now to definitively blame religion alone for causing terror attacks. If anything, these data show that political turmoil appears to be a big driver of terrorism; religion might even be incidental to the violence.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Thank you Sirius. It is what I am trying to figure out is the difference in the way we look at / or treat Muslims than any other religious order that commits terror acts or murderous crimes. I remember in the late 1990’s I was driving a woman somewhere and on the sidewalk was a bearded man walking. She started to yell ” there is a terrorist, a terrorist, see him”! She watched fox news and anyone who wore a beard was a terrorist Muslim. I asked her why the guy was a terrorist and she told me look at his long beard. I reminded her that her own sons had beards. She turned to look at me as I drove and said in a very cold voice ” that is totally different and not the same thing”! I dropped it. Thanks again. Hugs

        Liked by 1 person

      • I can’t fully explain it, Scottie. My sneaking suspicion is that it has to deal with how news coverage has developed since 9/11. At the least, I think coverage has encouraged a view which isn’t borne out by the facts. If Islam was inherently more prone to terrorism than other religions, we should have expected more Muslims to commit acts of terror across an entire data set. They didn’t even register in any meaningful amount until after 9/11.

        That lady you were driving around sounds a lot like my mom. Sadly, I’ve had plenty of those moments where I’ve had to facepalm instead of speaking my mind.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you. You told me what I suspected. I was not willing to go on my own idea / thoughts on it. But as you also say the same thing I can now say there may be some truth to the idea. The next step becomes, how do we fix / explain / gain proper news coverage of this issue? Thanks. Sorry but I can see the issue but I can’t find a solution to the problem. Hugs

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      • Sirius and Scottie I appreciate your perspective. Perhaps I am not able to be rational on this matter. I must admit Islam really concerns me. So I struggle to be objective. But I see organizations such as ISIS, Taliban Boko Haram, Al Qaeda and many others as being Terrorists where their branding is Islam. Indeed the Australian Government lists 23 terrorist groups under its criminal code. 22 of these groups are defined by being Islamic, and the 23rd is Kurdish which is secular Islam.

        So in Australia 100% of the proscribed terrorist organisations are Islamic related. I know I am fearful but I still say not without reason.

        Once again I accept that you and Scottie make valid points, but I do see that the latest upsurge in Islamic terrorism is concerning.

        The Catholic related groups from the past were groups like the IRA and Basque separatists. I think that local politics was the main factor there.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Sirius Bizinus part of what has changed is that Islam has been more and more affected by the strict and radical Wahhabism strain of Islam. This has come out of Saudi Arabia. The Saudis have used oil money to fund mosques throughout the world preaching this radical version of Islam.
        http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/03/29/what-is-wahhabism-the-reactionary-branch-of-islam-said-to-be-the/

        So to some extent Islam is changing, like Christianity changed after the reformation. However the change is negative.

        I live in Australia, we have seen neighbouring Indonesia change dramatically as a result. The once moderate Muslims are being intimidated by an ever growing radical group.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hey Peter –

        I hear you, and I agree that Wahhabism is a problem (both in its teachings and its support by the Saudi kings). To be clear, I’m not saying that people shouldn’t be concerned about international terrorism; I am saying that expressing that concern needs to be more concrete.

        The consequences of generically blaming Islam (and encouraging people to just fear it) are becoming quite open and obvious in the States. People voted for Trump based on campaign promises which had no benefit outside of making frightened people feel better. Those policies might have the unintended consequences of making the terror problem worse, like many other policies in the past 16 years.

        Blindly flailing about hasn’t made the problem go away. I think that people should take a closer look at specific causes (like Wahhabism, for example) so they can make more informed choices about which policies they want to support.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Scottie I accept the arguments you make about Christians wanting a theocracy and not being accepting of Gays. But, the lengths to which the Islamic extremists will go on these matters are a different order of magnitude.

    I doubt you will find any Islamic countries which are as tolerant of Gays as Christian countries are. Indeed ISIS would routinely through gay people to their death off the tops of buildings. I don’t see Christian groups doing this.

    ISIS even developed a rape manual where their fighters could rape women in accordance with Islamic law.:
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/isis-releases-abhorrent-sex-slaves-pamphlet-with-27-tips-for-militants-on-taking-punishing-and-9915913.html

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  5. Peter please understand I am not discounting your fear or your view. I just want the same standard applied to all groups. I take it you are in Australia ? I have no real understanding of the lifestyle or culture there, even though I have several online friends from there. However in the USA where I live, we are in more danger from Christians than I am from muslims. It is a sad fact that Christians are using everything from trying to get laws passed to hurt those not of their faith, to attacks from people of the Christian faith who claim their view of morality based on their god gives them the right to attack, injure and yes even kill gays. Sorry to keep coming back to sexual orientation , but as a gay man it sticks out to me what those groups try to do to me and mine. Right now in the USA the radical religious right is trying to take over the government and enforce rules against gay people. Look at the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA). it is a law that makes my same sex marriage meaningless.

    “The bill provides that the federal government “shall not take any discriminatory action against a person, wholly or partially on the basis that such person believes or acts in accordance with a religious belief or moral conviction that marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman, or that …”
    That is christians trying to have a theocracy so they can push their religious views. Thanks. Hugs

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    • I think we need to differentiate between the USA and Europe. Totally appreciate homosexuals are in danger in your country, and women moreso. And yes, that comes from right-wing Republican Christians. Plus, you have had strange mass shootings from non-Muslims.

      However, as Peter said, traditionally in Europe, terrorism was primarily separatist (political) groups, IRA, ETA, Red Brigade, Baader Meinhof. Now, the killings are by Muslims: Atocha (Madrid), London, France, and not just killings but ‘grooming’ and rape.

      I grew up in a strong Muslim area, with no problems at the time. Twenty years later we had riots, there is a Sharia Court, and Muslim areas are no-go for whites. This is the context that needs to be understood when discussing the London murders. We have home-grown second/third generation terrorists. Simple as that. And they happen to be Muslim.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hello roughseasinthemed I understand. I was not trying to say that those things had not happened or that they were not wrong. The must be addressed and corrected. What I am asking is do we blame all Muslims for the actions of those you mentioned, as we don’t blame all christians for the bad acts some of them commit. I just feel it is a double standard. Is all Islam to fault, or just the bad actors? Is all of one religion to be responsible for the actions of anyone of its members? Thanks. Hugs

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      • No Scottie. Of course we don’t blame all Muslins or all Christians. Although we could blame all religion.

        But in the UK, the current fear is of terrorist Muslims, born and brought up in the UK, and as I said, raping girls and women. Mostly, white non-Muslim men don’t go bombing buses in London. They do rape women and girls because it’s a man thing.

        Given that I would abolish religion I’m not the right person to ask!

        Liked by 1 person

      • I understand. I just don’t like to see people hurt by religion, which I think the things you described are harmful. I can’t understand how any religion can be given a legal standing to act as a court. But at the same time I see people being attacked for being muslim when they have done nothing wrong. They are attacked because they are of a faith, not because of anything they have done, and I think that is wrong also. I don’t have the answers. I care about people though and hope by talking about this subject we can find the answers. Or at least stop bigotry. Hugs

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    • Scottie these things are complicated. Probably the truth lies somewhere in the middle. Answers are rarely found in the extremes.

      I pretty much agree 100% with the perspective of roughseasinthemed on this issue.

      In Sydney the principle of one of our high schools converted to Islam. The school had a large Muslim population. So what happened next:
      – Female staff were not allowed to present prizes to male students;
      – Student threats against teachers to behead them were not reported to police;
      – Deradicalisation programmes were cancelled.
      The headmaster started to operate the school based on Muslim values rather than Australian values. Thankfully the authorities became aware and the principle was removed, but the Muslim community complained about the removal.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hello Peter. These things are wrong of course. They would be against the law here in the States. I wonder if the actions principle were because he had a personality to push his beliefs regardless of what they were, OR is Islam to blame? Person or religion? I read what roughseasinthemed wrote to me this morning and I was stunned. But truth is if christian churches could get away with this in the states they would try it. Heck they are always pushing their way into laws, the pushing religious stuff where it is illegal, trying to forbid personal actions of others based on their dogmas. But we don’t blame the religion when a christian does something they shouldn’t , but we do blame all of Islam for the actions of some of its members. Look back I can see I really did not word this well. What I am wondering is the fault in Islam? Does it require these illegal and immoral actions? Does Christianity? I don’t know much about Islam. I know you guys do. Thanks. Hugs

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      • Hello again Peter. I just read what you wrote about Islam changing and becoming more negative. That Is bad news. Here in the states we have some really militant christian groups also. However they tend to be a much smaller subset of the whole religion. So they don’t have the reach and power of the state sponsored Islam you mentioned. KNow they changes you spoke of, how do we ( the nations dealing with the issue ) de radicalize the Islam fraction you mention? Hugs

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  6. Scottie the issue is, how to develop a counter narrative? This is proving elusive.

    In another post I had mentioned to you that the internet has had good and bad impacts. IT seems that the internet has had a big impact on the spread of a radical version of Islam.

    As we all know it is very easy to find comfortable echo chambers on the internet where one’s views are not seriously challenged. Unfortunately human nature is such that we are all prone to interpret information through the prism of our worldview. So on the internet impressionable folk can be influenced by others even while their family are unaware.

    I heard an interview with the Head of Intelligence of French Police. He said there were simply too many people with extremist views for the police to be able to actively monitor them.

    I concede it is not all Muslims, but it is enough to pose a real problem.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Peter, I think the key word here is “radical” or “extremist” Muslims. There are scores of peace-loving, law-obeying, Allah-worshiping Muslims that would never for one moment consider performing a terrorist act. It disturbs me that the entire Muslim faith is negatively looked upon by so many. This isn’t to deny there are parts of their Holy Book that promote violence, but is our “Holy Bible” any different? Do we condemn the entire Christian religion when the fanatics bomb abortion centers or kill gay people or shoot politicians that disagree with their perspective on life?

      Liked by 2 people

    • Sorry Peter, I missed this comment earlier. I wish I had seen it because I spent a while writing about the same thing, but not as clearly, on the other comment. As to the idea of making difference, what about an out reach. Instead of making it harder for them, doing actions that push kids towards or cause kids to be excited over the radical parts, we reach out with programs centered on the better secular parts of our societies? Hugs

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