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PostLondon Bridge and Borough Market Attack, 3 June 2017 (Bienvenido Macario, USA, 06/04/17 7:12 am)
At 04:26pm today, 21 year-old Dan Nguyen, my son Drake's schoolmate at Centennial High School in Corona, California, posted on Facebook the following: His photo (see below) was stamped 10:06pm. The police responded to a call at 10:08pm. (At 10:08pm police responded to a call about a white van ramming into five or six people on London Bridge.)
See: London Bridge and Borough Market terror attack - everything we know
by Harriet Alexander - 4 June 2017 • 4:36AM
Dan wrote: "This was the photo taken on the London bridge minutes before the terrorist plowed a vehicle into the bridge a few inches away from me.
"I am currently in a room with a million emotions, feelings, and thoughts buzzing throughout my head. Fear, hate, love, shock, helplessness, just to name a few. The only way I can even start to work out what just happened is to write it down and share it to my friends and family.
"I could give you the grueling details of how the attack went down just before my eyes, but I am not going to give those 'evil losers' the slightest feeling of accomplishment for what happened.
"I had an epiphany as we retreated to corner of an alleyway with my friends as we were too scared and shook at the sight of headlights. I was so frustrated in the fact at that I was so helpless and scared until I realized that I wasn't. As I was in the train riding back, looking at the tears, hearing the sobs, of my girlfriend and friend, all I could think about was what I could do in this situation. I am not going to sit here and lie to you and act like I am not human in my moment of reflection and feel fear, rage, hate, revenge and anger. With everything that is happening in the world I was looking to whoever I could point the finger at first, which you guessed it, 'Islamic Terrorism.' I felt it all and literally felt the darkness consuming my heart. That is when I realized that I wasn't going to let whoever did this get what they wanted. Their aim was to terrorize, for us to become as hateful and to fear them.
"Days after booking my flight to London, the Manchester attack happened at the Ariana Grande concert and I second-guessed my trip to London in fear of another attack happening during my journey. I asked people around me for their opinions whether to cancel my trip, but got mixed reviews. I made a decision. I was not going to let 'them' cripple me with fear so I went. I made the decision to not fear these terrorists then, so why am I going to let them cripple me with fear any further? Now in my room writing this message I realized what I can do and how to fight them.
"I realized two things, we must contain the terrorism and hate what's happening in the world, and we must take action to stop it. I have friends of many different faiths, colors, and beliefs from around the world. But I realize also that terrorism comes in all different faith, colors, and beliefs. With that being said, we can all drop all this political correctness crap and start a discussion. If we see or suspect our neighbors, friends, classmates from carrying out an attack then we must stop it however we can.
"I do not know yet the verdict of who and what coordinated this attack, but I do know that if it happens to be an Islamic terrorist, let's call it that, if it was a Christian terrorist we can call it that, but we cannot begin to stop an enemy we do not acknowledge. The other thing I realized is that the only way to combat this terrorism from spreading is by spreading love. Like I mentioned before, I felt a variety of negative emotions, but now as I write this post with a clear head I have concluded that the next steps I must take in my life are to spread as much love and positivity to my neighbors and friends as I can.
"Like the great Martin Luther King Jr. said, 'Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.' So this is the action I will take and ask you all to take, is to spread as much love and peace as you can because that is the only way to stop the madness that is going on in our world. It is our duty to make a change here in this world because you never know when you are going to leave it.
"I will conclude this message by saying I will not live in fear and allow it to consume me as I have in the last hour, I will live my life how I want to, travel where I want to, be what I want to, go to whatever concert I want to without having to fear for my life and let them win. At the end of the day this has not crippled me but only strengthened me and has made me stronger than ever. I encourage you all to live the same way and not let this event or any other ones dictate what you do. I hope you all can share my message to you all today and know that at the end of the day, they will not break us as a people and we will stand up together and continue to live our lives and love each other as they live and die in hate and terror."
JE comments: Your message is duly shared, Dan. What a wise and heartfelt essay at this time of utter shock. I hope you don't mind my appending the photo as well.
Westminster, Ariana Grande, and now this. The UK is reeling.
My Close Calls
(Enrique Torner, USA
06/05/17 5:56 AM)
Dan Nguyen's story is amazing! (See Bienvenido Macario, 4 June.) That he could write such a rational and emotional description of his experience of the London Bridge attack just minutes after it happened is impressive. The picture he included with the time stamped on it sent two flashbacks to my brain.
The first one goes back to March 29, 1998, when there was a F4 tornado that struck and did a lot of destruction in southern Minnesota. My wife and I lived in Mankato at that time. I was sick that day, so I was home. My wife had driven to St. Peter (a 20-minute ride) to buy groceries at a food co-op there. It was about 5:30 in the evening. The local emergency weather alarm went off. I turned the television on, and found out that there was a tornado warning in the area, so I went to the basement with a radio. I heard that a tornado had hit Comfrey, a town southwest of us. I began to worry about my wife. When she arrived home, I was relieved, because I heard of other tornado hits closer to us. A tornado had hit and ravaged St. Peter by the time she arrived home! The funny thing is that she had been completely unaware of the whole thing, because the warning sounded after she had left the co-op, and the car radio was not working. That night, when we watched the local TV news, we saw how St. Peter had been destroyed, and found out the exact time the tornado struck. We then checked her grocery receipt: the time stamped on it was 8 minutes before the tornado hit St. Peter! A few days later we found out that the co-op had been completely destroyed, as well as many cars parked in their parking lot. Oh, my goodness! God was in control!
My second flashback I mentioned on WAIS right after it happened. On February 1, 2015, a male student was seen with a gun at the Minnesota State library. Somebody saw him and called the police. The police went inside the library and searched for him. They found him on the second floor, and the student, upon seeing himself confronted, shot himself dead. It was 4:30 pm. For some reason, I would like to say I was right there just 10 minutes before that happened. Maybe for the show effect. However, I would be lying: my last class had been from 2 to 3:45 in the basement of the library, so I must have left the building around 4, half an hour before the event. I didn't found that out until later in the evening, when I was already home, and received an email from the university describing the event. Again, God was in control.
However, only God knows if next time I will be a victim: it rains on the innocent and the wicked, as the Bible says. All we can do is trust God, and do all we can to prevent these terrorist attacks from happening again. We need action and prayer, and not to let fear get ahold of us. My thoughts and prayers are with the people of England. I would like to know the reactions from our British WAISers. I hope they and their families are OK.
JE comments: We've yet to hear from our UK colleagues in the wake of the latest attack, but I trust they are safe. Regarding tornadoes, Enrique's wife's near-miss brings to mind this viral photograph from Alberta. Tornado, schmornado! The guy mowing his lawn assures us that he was "keeping an eye on it." (My thanks to stepson Martin for posting this on Facebook.)
Manchester and London Attacks
(John Heelan, UK
06/05/17 10:42 AM)
The Manchester and London Bridge atrocities give me reasons to be proud of my countrymen and women.
(London): Police putting themselves in personal danger by responding to the emergency, not knowing if the suicide vests were faked or not.
(London): Paramedics tending to the injured, not knowing if a secondary device was about to explode, as often happens in these cases.
(London): Passers-by and others defending people who were being or had been attacked.
(Manchester): Taxi drivers rushing to the scene to transport people home without charge.
(London and Manchester): Residents opening their private homes to shelter the shocked and lightly injured.
(Manchester): A lady who collected 50 or more children disorientated after the blast and looking for their parents who were due to collect them after the concert and then shepherded to a local hotel to take care of them and inform their families that they were safe and sound.
It is such actions that gives me confidence that at heart people are "good." Trump continues to be a fool.
(However, it must also be said that the general mood in the UK is becoming more and more ugly. The very angry "enough is enough" is being heard more frequently these days, increasing the danger of a violent backlash against the moderate Muslim communities. Of course that would play directly into the hands of the terrorists wanting to stimulate violence between the communities, as per the Sam Huntington playbook.)
JE comments: Bravo to the good people of the UK. John Heelan gauged the mood of the UK as "enough is enough" after the Westminster attack on March 22nd. In the scant two months since that atrocity, there have been two more.
"F You; I'm Milwall!" (from Gary Moore)
(John Eipper, USA
06/07/17 3:24 AM)
Gary Moore writes:
Can British WAISers help me with a cultural translation?
There is the now-famous warcry of "The Lion of London Bridge,"
Roy Larner, who shouted as he risked his life: "F*** you,
On the surface, this moment of British heroism amid the
London Bridge horror obviously refers to Larner's football
allegiance. But I mean, psychologically, I'd like to know more
about the fan context that makes this--and not "Deus le volt'
or "Britannia Forever," etc.--the cry of choice to steel oneself
for horrific sacrifice. Is this the spontaneous, long-waiting cry
of secularism, lashing back now against the latest in history's
various waves of withdrawal into fanatical superstition?
Does it mean hooliganism has a good side? Is the shouting
at a football match so intense and ingrained that it naturally
comes to one's mind in an emergency? Is it that Brits have so
successfully built a generally peaceful society that, when ferocious
inspiration is required, it has to come from sport? Here was a
supreme test of what has meaning, because the guy knew he
was rushing into unpleasant death (though he barely survived).
Not to put too fine a point on it, but it's hard to imagine the rare
US hero in such a situation (like the three on the Paris train)
shouting as they rushed, "I'm Broncos!" or "I'm the Bucs!" And
the bridge hero's fortitude projected complete identification.
He isn't just a Millwall fan. He is Millwall. Can this be translated?
JE comments: Roy Larner's was responding to the attackers' shouts of "This is for Allah!" Note that the two "gods" sound a bit alike and even share a syllable.
Larner's response fits within the time-honored British tradition where sport is not a metaphor for life, but the other way around (life as a metaphor for sport). Look no further than the Brits kicking a soccer ball into No Man's Land as they walked to their deaths at the Somme.
Fair play and all that?
Roy Larner, "Lion of London Bridge"
(John Heelan, UK
06/09/17 7:44 AM)
Regarding the now-famous war cry of "The Lion of London Bridge," Roy Larner, who shouted as he risked his life: "F*** you, I'm Millwall!"
This was a boast of pride and a warning. Millwall fans (organised into "firms') have long had a justified reputation for violence against fans of other soccer clubs. (See Wikipedia on Millwall Bushwhackers, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Millwall_Bushwackers ). Also The Guardian reports (5 Jan 2010) on a clash between West Ham and Millwall fans: "The trouble took place inside and outside Upton Park, with 50 of those arrested later being charged with offences including pitch invasion, assaulting police, breaching banning orders, GBH and violent disorder."
JE comments: GBH: grievous bodily harm. We Yanks are just as violent, but don't use the acronym. A fun fact: "Charged GBH" was an English punk band in the late 1970s.
Click on the link above for a sample of the Millwall chant, "No one likes us, we don't care."
- Roy Larner, "Lion of London Bridge" (John Heelan, UK 06/09/17 7:44 AM)
- "F You; I'm Milwall!" (from Gary Moore) (John Eipper, USA 06/07/17 3:24 AM)
- Manchester and London Attacks (John Heelan, UK 06/05/17 10:42 AM)