London Terror

London Parliament England Ben Ben Westmins

As with any other cowardly, terrorist activity that the central London attacks were perpetrated upon innocent civilians. On the 7th of July 2005, the London bombings took place at the Russell Square Tube Station during the busy rush hour, resulting in 56 deaths involving the four terrorist perpetrators. The non-fatal injuries within the episode accounted for a staggering 700+ sufferers.

A fourth bomb exploded within the next hour on an English double decker bus outside of Tavistock Square. This has been viewed as one of Britain’s worst terrorist events of all time and served as a wake-up call and entry of the nation’s first Islamist suicide attack.

During the BBC radio coverage of the event, one witness reported watching half of a bus being propelled through the air while another was terrified at the sight of a man exploding before their eyes.

In the New York City attack, America witnessed the deaths of just fewer than three million people whereas the London bombings contributed just a little over 50 victims. These needless deaths were not compatible. Many experts would contend that the ramifications related to the two events weren’t equal as well, in light of the gap in status between the US disaster and the one that took place in Britain. However, the bombings which occurred in London left a huge impression upon the British. Similarly as with 9/11 a vast amount of emotions and feelings were voiced over the occasion. Naturally, one would find the emotional effects to be varied depending upon the level of involvement for the individuals. Those people who have been directly involved with our 9/11 or for anyone who have the London bombings would be expected to experience long term effects leading to increased fear along with uncontrolled periods of anxiety. These attributes would especially emerge when a person enters the airport boarding gate at the airport terminals or decides to take the London underground trains to their destination. Fear and panic began to grip the population since they realized that safety wasn’t a factor that could be guaranteed. These daily trips on the British underground would never be looked at in exactly the same light again.

After the dust had finally settled and the facts began to emerge revealing that the bombers were actually British born Muslims hysterical fear was present in all law abiding British citizens. This observation gave the immediate impression that maybe the 1.6 million Muslims who resided in Britain were possibly involved in the bombing plots also and before long race-hating offenses began to surface.

One parallel associated between the London attacks and our own 9/11 disaster was Tony Blair when he called the attacks as an unprecedented assault on our democratic ideals and the public’s civil liberties. This was a “take-off” from President George Bush’s views and the propellant needed to perpetuate the America Patriot Act. Though Britain had previously enacted significant anti-terrorist legislation, this failed to stop Blair from declaring the rules of this game have now changed. This referral of the terrorist acts as a game resulted in many negative responses towards Prime Minister Blair and questioned his schedule. Much like here in America after the 9/11, tragically life for the British was quickly changing. There were efforts to criminalize anyone who the government viewed as guilty of condoning or glorifying acts of terrorism. Efforts were quickly underway to deport extremists or for those vulnerable to inciting violence. It is interesting to note that at the time of the London bombing, polls revealed that 5% of the Muslim population and 7 percent of the population under 35 years old fully justified further suicide bombings within the country of Britain.

In view of the modern day terrorist events that take place not only in America and Britain but all over the globe, I would like to assess the notion that both attacks were intentional and inconsistent. This is a uniqueness that applied to the strikes of 9/11 as well concerning the London bombings but are also just as characteristic today as to then. These out of the ordinary characteristics is what generated emotional trauma for the unsuspecting victims. The unexpected element is unlike that found in a natural type disaster. We are now at the end of the hurricane season and with each tropical storm that forms in the Atlantic we’re forewarned many days in advance. Therefore we can take the proper precautions to protect ourselves and our loved ones. In the event of terrorist attacks like the London bombings and our own 9/11, there isn’t any warning and thus no protective measures to be taken. The psychological consequences between terrorist activities not only involve the victims and their families but strangers too. I’d pose the question in support of this statement as to how you may have felt as you watched the play unfold for the 9/11 disaster?

Recovery times appeared brief for the British unlike our 9/11 recovery just due to the fantastic difference in magnitude of the events in question. When you look at an event which took the lives of 3000 people as opposed to one which took only 50 and there is a perceived difference. Additionally, we were attacked not just in New York and the Pentagon but the terrorists also hijacked a commercial aircraft that crashed in a Pennsylvania field. Don’t get me wrong all life is precious and shouldn’t be viewed as insignificant. With this additional suffering we required a longer period of time to recuperate.

In terms of the one-size-fits-all concept as it relates to trauma after a tragedy, I believe that every disaster generates their own series of psychological factors that are based upon the age of those involved, the culture of the nation, the educational level of the sufferers, and the sort of tragedy being experienced. Children would probably have a difficult time adjusting to a series of catastrophic events whereas the adults could cope far better.

After the attacks of 9/11 Americans were extremely cautious of flying and were very watchful as to who was aboard the aircraft together. If the person in the seat beside them was a Muslim we find that fear and concern quickly overcome logic and reason. This was a widespread issue and rightfully so. We were tasked in this rant to evaluate how America and Britain dealt with their own terrorist attacks and how each were effected psychologically along with how they dealt with the resultant trauma. We saw how one country quickly recovered while others took longer to regain its normalcy. Could both nations have handled the situation differently, who knows? All we can hope for is to better understand the terrorist mindset and be prepared in the future.

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