Hard to imagine a more demoralizing order for a soldier than to tell him to take off the uniform and hide after an enemy’s attack. And the powers that be know it: They’re stressing that the order’s temporary in order to blunt public indignation over their decision.

The twisted punchline here is that the victim yesterday wasn’t wearing a uniform. The two degenerates who murdered him apparently targeted him because they saw him entering or exiting a barracks. There’s the next move, presumably — evacuate the barracks nationwide until they’re safe. For soldiers.

Defence sources said the order had been given that uniform should not be worn by those travelling alone, or on public transport as a “common sense precaution” immediately after the killing

A source stressed the order was temporary while investigations into the killing carried on and the decision would be reviewed in the next few days…

“Personally, I would argue against it,” [Col Richard Kemp] told the Today programme. “As we saw in this case you don’t need to have somebody in uniform, you just need to have someone who knows a bit about soldiers and does a bit of observation in the vicinity of a barracks and you can identify a soldier very quickly…

The Ministry of Defence has already announced it is increasing security at all barracks in London.

A lingering mystery: Why did none of the (apparently many) bystanders intervene yesterday to stop the jihadis in the act? By some accounts, it took 20 minutes for the cops to get there. The terrorists took time to chat with people nearby. Unless I missed something, no one laid a hand on them until they were eventually shot by police. Is that the Kitty Genovese syndrome at work or something worse? Richard Fernandez at the Belmont Club says “worse”:

This incident illustrates, if nothing else, the endpoint of the social engineering of the West. It has been remarkably effective. From a certain point of view the British crowd behaved perfectly and this is the way “they” all want us to behave. The populace sheltered in place, didn’t do anything rash, talked to the perpetrators as people. They waited for the police to come and the hospital helicopter to take the corpse away. Some will doubtless get counseling to overcome their shattering experience.

And then they will congratulate themselves on how tough British society is; resilience and all that. The more caring will leave some flowers by a railing and hold a few candle vigils for healing and peace, until these wither and blow away and the news cycle washes up a new object of attention.

The attackers knew they were actors in a drama — as keenly watched in their communities as on the BBC. And in that other audience they were asking, “how will the locals behave”. We know now. And that other audience may derive an entirely different lesson from this tableau.

Maybe that’s why British authorities felt safe about giving the order to lose the uniforms. Maybe the bulk of the UK is past the point of indignation.

There’s information floating around today about one of the attackers, if you care. I don’t. The story’s familiar enough: He’s homegrown, had friends, became radicalized at some point, was acquainted with other cretinous radicals, and evidently turned up on some British intelligence list before slipping through the cracks. The only thing novel about them that I’ve seen so far is their M.O. Instead of the terror of mass casualties they chose the terror of intimate barbarity, butchering a man in broad daylight on a public street and then showing off the blood on their hands. Message: “This is how far we’re willing to go,” same as in the beheading porn that Al Qaeda likes to film. If you’re going to spend time on this story today, skip the stuff about the attackers and read this instead. The victim was Lee Rigby; he served two tours in Afghanistan. His son is two years old.

Via Mediaite, here’s an interview with one of the bystanders yesterday. She was no match for the terrorists physically so she did what she could to slow them down until the cops arrived: She distracted them by talking to them while they waved around knives and meat cleavers just a few feet away. Exit quotation: “Better me than a child.”