Mahatma Gandhi apparently once said that “an eye for an eye ends up making the whole world blind.” But that didn’t stop two young men from using the old proverb to justify butchering a British soldier with cleavers in broad daylight, yesterday.
The reactions have been interesting. I’ve read a lot of tweets from people absolutely outraged that young men are coming to our country and being violent in the name of Allah. “Go back to your own country!” is a common expression. But have you noticed how London this guy sounds? He may have Nigerian ties but that’s about as British as a Sunday roast.
The most interesting reaction was from people at the scene, some of whom seemed utterly oblivious to the dead man on the ground and others, such as a cub scout leader (below), who were bold enough to walk up to the killers and have a chat. That’s this woman, by the way:
Brownie points for her (geddit?)
The bit that gets everyone worked up is that the killers didn’t even try to leave. They just waited calmly for the police to arrive, chatting to passers-by, then ran at officers with cleavers and a pistol, only to get shot down (rather predictably). Both are in hospital and one is in a serious condition.
David Cameron flew back from France to convene a meeting of COBRA, the high level crisis management committee, and quickly condemned the acts as terrorism.
He’s right, to a degree. But the two nutters who cut that man to pieces clearly targeted a soldier. They wanted revenge for the British army’s actions in Muslim nations. If they really wanted to sow fear, surely Ingrid would also be dead?
To me, they sound deluded and misguided. This was not terrorism, this was a disgusting murder as a crime of passion. The difficult thing for police and intelligence services, though, is that stopping this kind of home-grown violence is damn near impossible.
Bottom line: this is tragic, but let’s look at it rationally