The event is tragic and repudiable — there is no justification for this.
Now, compared to the attacks of 2015 and 2016, I think the response of civilization has improved considerably.
• The specialized literature has pointed out that something that incites terrorists to act is to see the journalistic coverage of the perpetrators of massacres — and they also show a deep disregard for their victims. Unlike what happened after the massacres in Charlie Hebdo, Boston or Orlando, the media had a great coverage on the victims. Police officer Keith Palmer, a Spanish teacher named Aysha Frade, American tourist Kurt Cochran, and a 75-year-old unidentified man died in the attack. London itself honored the victims.
• England returned to normal in less than 24 hours. Terrorism, although it has a balance of innocent deaths and blood, is mainly a psychological weapon. It goes in the name: the objective is to sow terror, with which to paralyze society. To defeat it is necessary to understand this and not allow the attacks to lead us to live in a constant state of anguish or fear, because there the terrorists will have won. The hashtag #WeAreNotAfraid, which was a trend among Londoners after the attack, is worthy of recognition.
• It is unlikely it could have been worse. Yes, this is a victory for counterterrorism. The war is far from over, but at least counterterrorism services are doing their homework.
Where to improve
• There is still a great deal of media coverage of the terrorists. Headlines naming Khalid Masood are rewards for the Tuesday’s perpetrator and make easier the work of terrorist recruiters.
• There are still those who insist on changing the topic to the absurdities of some governments of some Western countries in other parts of the world. Well, they’re wrong: here we are talking about the terrorist attack in Westminster. And just like any other terrorist attack, this is the sole and exclusive responsibility of its author: people are responsible for their own actions — anyone who comes here to blame the West is more than welcome to leave; this blog is not for you and it will not be used to blame the victims for the heinous crimes of their perpetrators.
• Same goes for people who come to complain about the empathy shown towards the victims, their friends, relatives and loved ones. I am not ashamed of the ability to put myself in the shoes of others and offer my solidarity; it is normal to feel closer to victims with whom there is some kind of cultural affinity. I’m not to apologizing for that.
• Praying is useless. In fact, it is thanks to the belief in imaginary friends that we are here in the first place. More magical thinking will do nothing to solve it or mitigate it. By the way: do you pray to the god who allowed the attack or to the one who was paid homage with it?
• If your first reaction to the attack was, “Ohh, no, this is going to make Islam look really bad“, then you’re part of the problem.
• Most heads of State —in this case the British Prime Minister, Teresa May, as well— refuse to admit that these attacks are derived directly from religious doctrines. As long as they continue to make excuses for totalitarian ideologies contrary to democracy, their expressions of shock, horror, and support are nothing more than hypocrisy. We have good reasons to want to identify as accurately as possible whatever drives the terrorists. To keep denying or hiding the religious motivation hampers the efforts to curb terrorism and that endeavor is more important than trying not to offend religious feelings — believers need to start taking responsibility for their own feelings, rather than blaming others.
• There is never a short supply of terrorism apologists who will shriek “Islamophobia“. There’s no such a thing.
Civilization v Barbarism
Interestingly, those who use these kinds of attacks to score virtue signaling points, proving they are biologically incapable of empathy, and regurgitating the already old-fashioned hatred of the West, may not have stopped to think that although the West is not perfect, either any of the possible alternatives is damn worse.
And, since a picture is worth a thousand words, here’s the picture:
Paramedics fighting to save Masood’s life, so he can be tried in court. And, if convicted, go to jail. There is nothing remotely similar in any of the alternatives to the West. That makes it the only redeemable option among those available, no matter how much Putin and WikiLeaks are hell bent on putting together their smear campaign.