Westminster Attack: London not cowed.

London cowed? London didn’t miss a beat after Westminster attack

Yesterdays Westminster attack was terrible but I can’t help but feel the response is overblown. Over 10,000 knife attacks took place in London last year and more than 100 murders. It is not that yesterdays murders are not significant but the attention we are giving to the crime and the criminal involved is disproportionate. I don’t believe they require a candle vigil or a mass outpouring of grief. Please, don’t light your buildings round the world in the Union Flag.

A major reason for the heightened state of the public response is the hyperbolic way the incident is reported by the media, who are motivated by association to the ‘significance’ of an incident. Yesterday evening, Londoners were going about their business and going home, this morning they were going about their business and going to work; that is the true response to yesterdays attack. It isn’t people being callous, and those people directly affected by the attack will be having their own personal response, but one man, armed with a knife, did not bring London to a standstill and did not cow London.

It’s not a defiant ‘up yours’, it’s a reflection of how insignificant the attacker is and his attack was. The tragedy for the victims and their families is significantly real.

Westminster Attack,k I've shit 'em

Enough of the hyperbole already

The media want to whip up sentiment because it’s what they think news reporting is these days. Ham up an incident and then talk solemnly over the tragedy while glorifying in whatever terrible footage you have garnered from newshound members of the public on their phones. Expert opinion states that such incidents should be downplayed and the attackers written out of the story, that is the best way to react if you want to reduce repeat offences. The media do the exact opposite.

Channel 4 embarrassed themselves greatly yesterday in their rush to get the terrifying news out. Instead of doing basic due diligence on the alleged identity of the attacker that had been leaked, Channel 4 not only ran a bio on the alleged attacker but instantly linked Muslims/Islam to the Westminster attack. The leak was wrong, Channel 4 issued an apology. The alleged Westminster attacker was, in fact, still in prison.

I am just as uncomfortable about the speed with which Tobias Ellwood MP was labeled a ‘hero’ yesterday and the speed with which photos of him tending to the murdered police officer PC Keith Palmer appeared. I imagine that Ellwood would be the first person to distance himself from talk of being a ‘hero’, directing the attention, rightly, to those who actually put their lives in harms way. But the media and others want ‘heroes’ to accompany their ‘villains’ and it merely reduces a tragedy to pantomime.

 

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