?

Log in

No account? Create an account
Sauntering Vaguely Downward [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Mad Scientess Jane Expat

Serious Business | Flickr
Bounty Information | Wanted Dead or Alive: Mad Scientess Nanila
Deeds of Derring-Do | Full of Wild Inaccuracies and Exaggerations

I never thought the sight of a big red bus going past my window would make me so happy. [20050708|10:42]
Mad Scientess Jane Expat
[Tags|, ]

Terrorism isn't about the reality of statistics. Of the several million people living in or visiting the greater London area, a tiny percentage were physically hurt or killed by the bombings. A slightly larger percentage witnessed them firsthand, and a huge number of them were temporarily inconvenienced by the shutdown of the London Transport system. The chances that the next bus or tube journey that the average Londoner makes will have a bomb on it are not much greater than they were yesterday or will be tomorrow. But, as I said, this is not about statistics. It's about the perception of statistics. However miniscule your chances were and are of being blown to bits by a terrorist attack, they are now at the forefront of your mind, whether you want them to be or not.

Terrorism isn't about the frequency of occurrence of terrorist acts, or of similar kinds of attacks made during open war. Londoners of different generations experienced the Blitz and the IRA bombings of the 1980s. Many of them have been through this before. However, it is the very unpredictability of terrorism that makes it so frightening, that makes a return to normalcy as difficult as it was the last time, because the ordinary citizen has no way of knowing when, where or if another attack will happen.

People deal with this in a myriad of ways. Some become defiant, others resigned. Some find themselves swallowing down fear for weeks, months or years after the events, every time they board a bus or enter an Underground station. This is the real point of terrorist attacks, not the body count. All emotional responses are fully permissible, but it is the way that we act upon them that will determine whether or not we build a world in which the slight probability of terrorist attack on the average citizen will continue to be a weapon that can wield so much power.
linkReply

Comments:
From: (Anonymous)
2005-07-08 09:50 (UTC)
I am at work so haven't got time to read your last couple of posts. Just happy to hear you are okay. I went through quite an ordeal yesterday (stuck on the underground for an hour etc.), but i'll post on my journal about that probably on Monday. Haven't been home since, because I live too far out, and could not get transport home yesterday.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: nanila
2005-07-09 13:43 (UTC)
I'm glad to hear you are too. Also, very glad you managed to get out of the Underground. I hope you weren't hurt at all? Please take care of yourself over the next few days, get lots of rest and eat good food and all that.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: mysti77
2005-07-08 09:51 (UTC)
oops, wasn't logged in as me... that post was mine, sorry
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: nanila
2005-07-09 13:43 (UTC)
Ah, okay. I responded to your previous comment before I looked at this one. I'm so very glad you got out of the Underground safely.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]From: nanila
2005-07-09 13:45 (UTC)
Me too. Thank you. We rode the Underground for the first time since the bombings today. It was pretty sparsely populated in the morning, but we were happy on our return to see a packed train going south to Brixton on the Victoria Line.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: wurlitzerprized
2005-07-08 10:05 (UTC)
well done.
i'd like to thank you now, too.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: nanila
2005-07-09 16:07 (UTC)
I'm going to make a big post on Monday that includes a link to yours.

Riding the Underground today was a little nerve-wracking, although I tried to be calm and keep focused on the reality of statistical probabilities, I still felt scared and sad when we passed the sealed-up platforms of King's Cross.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: windrunner
2005-07-08 11:04 (UTC)
It's funny how people will remember specific dates. On my father's birthday, 9/11. and then JFK assasination.

and then the 07/07 incident.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: nanila
2005-07-09 16:10 (UTC)
3/11 for the Madrid bombings. Let us hope that we don't have occasion to add further dates to the litany.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: minirth
2005-07-08 15:23 (UTC)
People deal with this in a myriad of ways. Some become defiant, others resigned. Some find themselves swallowing down fear for weeks, months or years after the events, every time they board a bus or enter an Underground station.

My apartment isn't in a flight path. A plane goes overhead maybe once a month or so. After 9/11, I flinched whenever I heard a plane. I hated that feeling of overwhelming fear, but it took a long time to die down.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: nanila
2005-07-09 13:41 (UTC)
I was going to write a reply to this but it turned into an entire post, which I'll put up on Monday. Marco and I ended up driving home over a thousand miles after 9/11 because there were no flights, and the lack of jet noise was one of the most disturbing things about the ride. Although it wasn't silent on the road, the absence of that sound seemed very loud, if that makes sense.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: behsharam
2005-07-08 23:44 (UTC)
It is unfortunate to me that some people seem to think that giving up certain rights and liberties will keep them safe. That fear of the unknown makes people search for and eventually convince themselves they have found a small number of elements that cause sudden violent acts.

Do we respond as they come? Is there any way that we can assure anyone's safety?

I still think that working together and helping as many people as possible while huring as few is the way to go. I may be wrong.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: nanila
2005-07-09 13:39 (UTC)
I think that's a good motto for all of life, pretty much. I don't think there's any way definitively to defeat terrorism, because, as wurlitzerprized said, you can't win a game with no rules.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)