Like many New Zealanders I was up late last night trying to contact family in London. Because it’s the busy summer season the city is teeming with tourists so a larger number of countries are pulled into the drama. Both my sisters are there right now. One lives there with her husband, the other is visiting with her family. My husband’s sister is there with her family. And they all have other friends who are there at the same time.
When I lived in London bomb scares and disruption were normal. You coped, you walked the miles to get from A-B etc. And when the IRA weren’t doing it the infrastructure would fail and you’d be no better off.
This is different, this is real. This time there were explosions and it’s not just an inconvenience. And the infrastructure will take time to repair. That the city is so prepared and was able to get all the services in place is a credit to them.
After 9/11 London believed it would be hit by gas attacks in the Underground and many people carried gas masks for months. My mother was irritated that my sister wouldn’t but she’d rationalised the risk and made her own choices – as you do. That early fear, followed by a serious but lesser actual event, will help Londoners recover from this attack on their city. When it came, it wasn’t as bad as they thought it would be.
The Role of the Media
I know that the media fulfill a valuable role, and it’s really important to get the news out but I was sickened last night when the cameras zoomed in on a patient being stretchered off an ambulance. I thought the crew were a bit rough with the stretcher but as it turned to be wheeled away we saw a medic pumping the mans chest as they desperately tried to restart his heart. I certainly didn’t want to see that, I’m sure he didn’t and nor would his family.
Another shocked man declined an interview but the journo continued to ask him questions, repeating them over and over – no doubt trying to fill his required minutes. The man answered the questions but you could see, quite plainly, that he’d rather be left alone. Surely he had that right?
Personally, I want to know what’s happening but I don’t want to pry into the pain of the victims. If they choose to be interviewed that’s fine but until then they should be protected from personal identification.