Yesterday I heard about the London bombings while driving to work. It did not register with me at all. I spent all day looking at the news and watching the body count go up. It registered a bit, but call me callous, London was still a far-away place. In the evening while watching CNN, I saw a grown British woman, uninjured, but disoriented and crying in fear and thats when the full force of what had happened hit me and my heart went out to the Londoners. Then, I could see them all over the tv, covered in blood, carried out on stretchers, faces coated with dust and being helped by strangers. And at that point, they were not just Londoners but humans who were in pain and fear.
So, finally it has happened. It wasnt really unexpected, because till now, all the experts were telling us that it wasnt a question of "if" but a question of "when" it would happen. But regardless of that, all these years after 9/11, there was a gradual relaxation of white knuckles and quivering nerves where people were almost living a normal life without looking over their shoulders all the time. But now this brief moment of respite has come to an end. I am not sure whether Americans have even begun to grasp this but I think they should now resign their selves to another 9/11 in the near future, maybe not one on as grand a scale as the last one, but still one nevertheless. "Not if but when" is not just a cliched phrase to use to say "Hey I dont know but I dont want to say it won't happen".
The reason I am so sickeningly confident that there will be a terror attack here pretty soon is simple. Just because the terrorists make it look so easy. If terrorists can carry out 4 different bombings in London timed to a precision, after security has been tightened so much, it would simply be wishful thinking to believe that it won't occur here in the United States. As for me, I am not scared. Its not like I am brave, its just the fact that I do not live in a terrorism bulls-eye. My neighbourhood would probably be a terrorist's last option. Only a terrorist who has set the bar pretty low for himself would think about bombing the mall right across the street from my apartment, or flying a plane into our community library. But I can only imagine what millions of New Yorkers and residents of other metro areas are going through when they commute to work everyday. I guess believing in destiny or God or whatever universal controlling power one believes in would have been helpful today.
I am taking the advice of Billmon, probably one of the kindest people in the blogosphere and not mentioning the Iraq war in this post, even though I am seething. That moment will come later once lives have been saved and wounds have been healed. Till then, it is time to commiserate, hope, people of faith to pray and the rest of us to prepare for the inevitable.