Bruce Schneier of The Atlantic has a good column today - and the words Keep Calm and Carry On brought my mind back to the the time I lived in England during the '80s.
In July of '82, I'd gone down to London for the day to have lunch with my cousin. I'd arrived in the Marleybone area early and decided to walk through Regent's Park. Before exiting and heading for lunch, I stopped to watch the Band of the Royal Greenjackets tuning up for their lunchtime concert on the bandstand. I was quite overcome with the "Britishness" of the whole scene and wished I could stay, sit on the grass, have a beer and enjoy the cultural experience. Alas, I had a commitment and walked away to meet my cousin and her husband. I was approximately 200 meters down the road when the bandstand blew up.
I made it through lunch (with the help of a couple of large whiskies) and was pretty shaken for the remainder of the day.
A couple of years later, my wife and I were riding the tube back out to the northeast end where we usually parked the car. A gentleman in a shabby suit carrying two large shopping bags sat down about ten feet from us on the opposite side of the car. He appeared unshaven and wore a large watch which he repeatedly looked at. He held a copy of the Irish Times and struck his leg with a clenched fist while reading it. Trust me, he immediately grabbed my attention.
Could be that he'd simply had a hard day at work in the "smoke," suffered (like me) from 5 O'clock shadow, had received a nice watch and was in a hurry to get home. This crossed my mind, but I still casually mentioned him to my wife and told her that if he departed the train and left the bags, she was to do exactly what I told he without question or hesitation.
At the next stop, he left the train with his burdens, both physical and whatever anguish the newspaper was causing him.
The point here is that we each need to be more situationally aware and vigilant - reasonably, without letting paranoia replace rationality.
I wonder how many people passed whoever was placing the explosive into the trash cans in Boston and never noticed. Most were probably staring at their hand or talking on the phone, oblivious to everything and everyone around them. Many more were concerned with the race and that's understandable.
The IRA terror campaign never brought Britain to a halt. We never stopped our travels throughout England and Europe because of any terrorist threats. We readily adopted the British tradition of KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON. We paid attention to our surroundings and looked over our shoulders; but never in fear.
The next few days and weeks are going to be rife with speculation, inconvenience and dicomforting thoughts. It's best to Keep On a Keepin' On and not let the terrorists (of whatever ilk he/she/they may be) win.