In The Wake Of The London Attack, June 3rd, 2017
By now everyone has seen and heard about the terrorist attack at London Bridge and Borough Market. Currently leaving seven dead and 48 seriously injured. As a Canadian living in London thankfully I have never experienced this kind of anger, panic and terror these extremist groups are invoking on others. However this Canadian girl has now found myself in the middle of city that is a prime target for attacks. Am I fearful….? Not yet. Am I keenly aware of my surroundings as a potential target….? You bet I am.
This recent terrorist attack on London played a little too close to home. The first reported victim was a Canadian woman named Chrissy (a short form of my name only few have dared to call me). She moved to London to be with her finance. Hmmm?? In fact, my handyman Tim whom I saw just a few days after the attack first words to me were, "Thank God you are alive". I wasn't even sure why he was so happy to see me. But then he said, "I heard about the victim and I thought it might have been you". Chrissy’s friends and family were not as fortunate.
As the phone calls, texts and emails came flooding in to make sure I was safe, I watched live on TV as the attacks unfolded. As television and internet viewers of 2017 we have become sadly desensitized to what we are watching even though those horrible, horrible events were live and unfolding just a few miles from where I was safely lying. I was strangely disconnected, in disbelief. It was not until the next morning when I went for a walk it hit me, I might not be safe.
I now was keenly aware of my surroundings. Very aware.
Not too far from the attacks, two days later on Monday June 5th, thousands of people gathered at Potter’s Field at London's City Hall to pay their respects to the victims. I knew I had to go.
I brought my thoughtful but totally inadequate boutique of flowers and travelled across the city on the Circle Line to pay my respects. As I got off at the London Bridge Tube station my heart truly was pounding through my sweater. I was scared, I mean honestly. This now was very real.
There were many policemen holding their machine guns, fingers on the triggers BUT... many, many more people were carrying flowers. I followed the crowd who were carrying flowers... for the people they never knew.
As I walked towards this large gathering I wondered where was heightened security? Where are the metal detectors everyone needed to walk through and the bag search? How are they going to keep us safe? But there was none of that. Not a single knapsack was searched. We walked and stood in the rain, thousands of us. All religions, races, nationality and ages. Was no one as afraid as I was? The answer was yes, some.
But then I felt it…the tremendous strength in numbers. I need to repeat that, “strength in numbers”. As the Major of London spoke he sad loudly “we will defeat you, you will not win… you will never succeed in dividing our city”.
"Unity and love will always be stronger than the hate of the extremists".
"London will never be broken by terrorists. London stands in defiance against this cowardly attack and our city and our people and our values and our way of life".
And there... at that exact moment in the large unsearched... unscreened crowd… I understood. To be fearful, to stop living your life is to lose the battle against terrorism and just like that... I was no longer afraid.
So like the other Londoners, we paid respect and went back on living. The odds are 1 in 10,000,000 I will be killed in a terrorist attack. I have twice as good odds as a left-hander to be killed using a right handed product (good to know). Or more likely crossing the street in London. So I will enjoy my moments of my day, look both ways before I crossed the streets...and in the words of my father, " I will not let the bastards getting me down".