Senseless

07.06.06

July 7, 2005, this was the scene in London. Less than 24 hours after the city jubilantly celebrated being awarded the 2012 Olympics, terror struck on the London public transport network, claiming 57 lives and shaking the city, country and world to the core.

There was little evidence of the scene a year ago as I rode the Underground around London last week. There are posters up everywhere urging vigilance about things like unattended baggage or suspicious characters, much like those in the New York City subway, but for the most part it seemed to be business as usual (complete with typical line delays and suspensions wreaking commuter havoc).

One year ago, people were reacting in shock and horror. But today, even as memorial services are held, what has changed? Can we really say that things have improved, any more than we were able to say so a year, or two, or three, or four after the 9/11 attacks rocked New York? Whether people are fearful of threatened “anniversary attacks”, still mourning personal losses, or trying to come to grips with “what it all means”, it’s hard to find any lessons to learn here. Maybe that is the lesson after all; terrorism is senseless and teaches us nothing beyond what we already knew, that it is terrible and must be wiped out. Maybe to reach for any other lessons is to attribute too useful a purpose to such a senseless act. I don’t know, and I don’t pretend to have the answers.

Today, London and the whole world remembers. Another senseless anniversary, another senseless tragedy.

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