Last night’s attack on London Bridge and at Borough Market was actually over in under ten minutes, though the confusion and chaos in the aftermath stretched through the night as officials sorted out the details. As of this morning the damage toll stands at 7 dead and nearly 50 injured. Full credit goes to London’s first responders who reportedly shot and killed all three attackers in very short order and locked down the area efficiently so the investigation could begin. How much of a “network” existed in support of those three killers will likely not be known for days, if not weeks, but the authorities there are once again quick out of the gate and have arrested a dozen people in less than twelve hours. (Good job, folks.)
In the meantime, we saw two very different responses from the Mayor of London and the the Prime Minister. London Mayor Sadiq Khan, the first Muslim to hold that office, did manage to acknowledge the damage which had been done, but immediately fell back on a well practiced line indicating perhaps a bit more optimism than is warranted. This segment from Fox News includes the Mayor’s comments, along with a response from from Mustafa Tameez, a DHS consultant under President George W. Bush.
There’s no reason to be alarmed. One of the things the police and all of us need to do is make sure that we’re as safe as we possibly can be.
I’m reassured that we are one of the safest global cities in the world, if not the safest global city in the world.
I understand that leaders need to be inspirational and try to lift the spirits of their constituents, but seriously… London just saw it’s second attack in a couple of months and they’re only beginning to look into how wide this particular Islamic terror cell was spread. “No reason to be alarmed?” Not for nothing, Mr. Mayor, but sometimes a reasonable amount of alarm is justified. I clearly wasn’t the only one to notice this comment because the President weighed in with the same sentiment.
At least 7 dead and 48 wounded in terror attack and Mayor of London says there is "no reason to be alarmed!"
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 4, 2017
And given the recent record of events, continuing to say that London is the “safest global city in the world” while standing in front of the wreckage hits something of a sour note.
The reason I say “continuing” is that this is almost word for word the same thing that Khan said in the wake of the last incident. After the Westminster attack he delivered these remarks while paying tribute to a fallen police officer. (IBC)
“Well one of the reasons why I think we are the safest global city in the world, and one of the safest cities in the world, is because we’ve got brave officers like Keith Palmer…
“Unfortunately yesterday this terrorist was successful, but our city still one of the safest cities in the world. Your listeners will see though, over the next few days, including today, additional armed officers across London, additional unarmed officers across London.
“Not simply to keep us safe, but to reassure us and visitors, that we are a safe city.”
I don’t want to come across as being all gloom and doom here, but I’m really not so sure that you can keep saying that with a straight face. You can watch a longer interview with the mayor here from NBC where he talks about being “furious” and engaged in the pursuit of the killers, but the underlying message is the same. Actually, history suggests that you might be a lot safer in Warsaw or Vienna than in London (or Paris for that matter) on any given day. I’ll leave it up to the Mayor to figure out why that might be.
Interestingly, there was a quite different tone on display from Prime Minister Theresa May. Her speech contained several hints about there being “far too much tolerance of Islamist extremism” and suggestions that both physical locations and digital bastions on the internet were too safe and comfortable for the terrorists. Sky News tweeted out a short video clip with the relevant portions of her comments.
— Sky News (@SkyNews) June 4, 2017
Does this mean that British law enforcement is going to be visiting more of the mosques and Muslim communities in the near future? She certainly makes it sound that way. And the Brits may be cracking down on the internet in their country as well.
Last night, one of the questions I was asking was whether or not they were going to go ahead with the Manchester benefit concert tonight. Now we have the answer… they are. While they are still mopping up the damage at London Bridge, Ariana Grande and her guests will be taking the stage in Manchester according to her manager.
The popstar’s manager Scooter Braun said the One Love Manchester gig has a ‘greater purpose’ than ever, following the second terrorist attack in two weeks. The star-studded event with Justin Bieber, Katy Perry and Coldplay among those on the line-up will take place at Manchester’s cricket ground, with police pledging to tighten security even further…
In a full statement Mr Braun said: ‘After the events last night in London, and those in Manchester just two weeks ago, we feel a sense of responsibility to honour those lost, injured, and affected.
‘We plan to honour them with courage, bravery, and defiance in the face of fear. Today’s One Love Manchester benefit concert will not only continue, but will do so with greater purpose.
‘We must not be afraid and in tribute to all those affected here and around the world, we will bring our voices together and sing loudly.
Is this a smart idea? I get the whole concept and sentiment of “don’t let them win, show them that we’re not afraid.” But I’ve long had the sense that we’re dealing with a particular set of monsters who aren’t really buying the message and don’t particularly care. But at the same time, these Islamic terrorists seem to rely on surprise and hitting where they are at least somewhat less expected to be. There will be so much security around the concert that it’s probably too high risk of a target. (Or dear God, at least I hope so.)
Either way, Great Britain (and everyone else) needs to get more serious about this. Perhaps Theresa May is about to do just that. But London’s mayor doesn’t impress me as being entirely on board with the idea.