I woke up on a lovely, late summer’s Monday morning to a social media frenzy. Like hungry sharks in a tank they circled wanting to take a chunk of flesh out of my day.
There was apparently a warning from either the MET police or MI5 that the threat level for a terrorist attack and been raised from MODERATE to SEVERE and that every MET officer was called in to work at 4.00am AND that an attack was likely to happen on the tubes in London’s west end. So like a good citizen I locked the doors, closed the curtains (which happen to be bomb proof) turned off the lights and informed EVERYONE I know of the imminent danger. I also urged people not to travel into London unless it was essential. It’s better to be safe than sorry…right?
Better to be safe than sorry! There is something about that phrase that makes my teeth ache. It’s like a reset button for rationality and reason. It’s the ace up one’s sleeve. Because, of course, it IS better to safe than sorry. AND THAT’S HOW THEY GET YA!
So I did a modicum of investigating. The MI5 website DID have a heightened alert for the UK. But here’s where it gets interesting. England and Northern Ireland are set separately. The threat level for N.I was raised to severe while G.B stayed at Moderate. Thus raising the threat level from international terrorism to U.K to severe…at least that’s how I understood it. When I read that information I was still on my first morning cuppa so if I have misread, misinterpreted or just plain not understood please forgive me and please enlighten me.
When the internet gorillas got hold of this nugget of information they of course had to add a little chilli powder and cajun spice. And i’m sure Chinese whispers played a huge part in this overblown Facebook charade. You are more likely to suffer at the hands of the Metropolitan police than to be a victim of terrorism…so if the streets were full of extra police, some with guns (which someone on Facebook alerted me to) then statistically the streets of London have just become more dangerous.
Raising the threat level of a terrorist attack is as pointless as it is stupid. It’s like telling people to top up their car with petrol. Remember that? Queues at petrol stations for no reason a few years back. There was no need yet people hopped into their cars and topped up the tank. People are fucking dumb and will practically do anything their told. So telling them the threat of terrorist attack is likely is like covering your genitals in honey and kicking a bear in the bollocks. Because bears love honey.
There’s no way of knowing when or if an attack is coming. Just like you don’t know when or where someone will be hit by bus. I’m fairly certain that international terrorists don’t leave their pocket diaries lying around in casinos for 007 to sneak a look.
But FEAR keeps us in line. It keeps us from deviating too far from the garden path, it keeps our larders stocked and our petrol tanks full. It’ll keep the curtains twitching and our heads turning. Living on earth is like living on a knife’s edge and it can be taken away as easy as it was dished out. Yes there are things to be scared of and we should be vigilant against all acts that wish harm us and our brothers and sisters. But don’t stay home scared of what might happen because the chances are they won’t.
Stay safe, be cool and don’t be a fear monger.