What's All This Then?

commentary on the passing parade

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Friday, July 22, 2005

"There is no political justification for 9/11, 7/7 or 7/21. As the Middle East expert Stephen P. Cohen put it: "These terrorists are what they do." And what they do is murder."

That’s a line in Thomas Friedman’s column in today’s New York Times. I’m no great fan of Friedman and the Israeli authors of Mideast On Target think he’s full of beans, but I concur with his selection of the quote to summarize the problem of today’s terrorists. We search in vain for reasons that make any kind of sense for these murderous attacks but maybe it’s just that simple. It’s their way of life. It’s what they do.

Other columnists, writing in greater detail than anything I say here, agree with what I have said. That England - and some other European countries - turned a blind eye to the growing menace in their midst - and that it’s too late for the sort of precautions that might have worked before the cancer erupted.

Georrgie Anne Geyer hit the nail on the head in her column today.

But what hit me this morning like a ton of bricks was the story of a suspect on the London Underground shot dead by police. I know that the average London Bobby still doesn’t carry firearms - only special forces with special training, but to me, a former Londoner, yesterday was a watershed moment. It seems like forever that London’s Metropolitan Police have been able to control virtually any street situation without the need to resort to the use of firearms. Police shootings were unheard of.

But I fear a new era began on 7/7 and was fully revealed to us on 7/21. It will take police with guns to battle the new kind of criminals that have crawled out from under their hate nurturing rocks. Death by gunfire - on the streets, on buses, on the Underground - will no longer be unheard of. And I can visualize a day when the patrolling Bobbie without a firearm, will become the exception. And more than almost anything, this makes me angry. This is what the terrorists have made us become. Something that is anathema to our very nature. That British police now need to be armed with deadly weapons to enforce the respect and compliance to the laws they represent that was once at the heart of what it meant to be British.

The bastards!!