The Status Quo On Terrorism Isn't Good Enough


Last September London mayor Sadiq Khan said that terrorist attacks were “part and parcel” of living in a big city. Though his conclusion was far from nonchalant, he went on to say, “That means being vigilant, having a police force that is in touch with communities, it means the security services being ready, but it also means exchanging ideas and best practice.”

At the time, he must have known that his words would one day prove prophetic, that it was only a matter of time.

On Wednesday, March 22nd, his prediction became a reality as a terrorist attack was perpetrated on the people of London and the British Houses of Parliament. 52-year old Khalid Masood, who was claimed by ISIS as a soldier following the attack, crashed a car into a crowd of people on Westminster bridge, then began attacking pedestrians with a knife before succumbing to three gunshot wounds.

His actions claimed the lives of three people, among them a police officer, and injured many more. Although Masood was not on any government watch lists for suspicion of terrorist activities, he had a range of prior convictions for assaults, including one for grievous bodily harm.

It is currently believed that he acted alone. However, his actions have still resulted in six arrests with potentially more to follow.

The United Kingdom has been singled out by ISIS as the next target for a major attack since the Paris attacks in 2015. The British government had listed the threat of terrorism as severe, meaning that an attack was “highly likely.” While it is unlikely that status will be downgraded any time soon, British Prime Minister Theresa May issued a statement saying, "we will all move forward together, never giving in to terror and never allowing the voices of hate and evil to drive us apart."

Indeed, the reaction of the British people, and of Londoners in particular, has been characteristically stiff upper lipped. Memes saying “We are not afraid” on the London Underground logo have populated every corner of the internet, and the world appears to stand in solidarity with the United Kingdom. How could we not?

My heart goes out to the people of London and the families of the victims, and of the attacker, who was a British native and whose family will face terrible discrimination and scrutiny in the months to come. I hope they will all forgive me for what I am about to write.

I cannot feign shock at this attack.

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