London attack is aimed at us all

Trevor Canty
Laurel Outlook intern, University of Notre Dame student

At 9:30 p.m. Saturday night, listening to the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 soundtrack, I boarded the Tube—the name of London’s subway system, which only runs at night on Fridays and Saturdays.  A raucous crowd of drunken football fans greeted me as I stepped out onto Cromwell Road; I continue up the steps of Conway Hall, home to Notre Dame’s student housing for their London study abroad program. Three friends greet me, and one-and-a-half miles away, eight people are dead.
Despite armed guards nearly everywhere I looked during my stay in London, the three terrorists who orchestrated the London Bridge attacks on June 3 were still able to carry out the unspeakable. There are eight victims dead as of June 7, and upwards of 50 more with critical injuries, mainly from the three attackers’ vehicle running over pedestrians on the bridge. The attackers followed their road rampage by exiting their vehicle with 12-inch knives and stabbing indiscriminately down the street, reaching Borough Market—a popular tourist destination, formerly home to filming locations for the Leaky Cauldron in the Harry Potter movie series, as I had found out a short week earlier on a walking tour.  
Even though I was close enough to watch ambulances rush to the scene of the terror attack, I never really felt in danger at any point. The only direct effect that I experienced was not being able to get a cab back to where I was staying the next morning.  However, my memories of several carefree walks across London Bridge and through Borough Market days earlier serve as a grim reminder that I could have easily been any one of the eight victims. There is a tendency to think that overseas terrorism only affects citizens of that country, yet seven out of the eight victims were foreigners: three French citizens, two Australians, two Canadians and one Spaniard.
It isn’t unlikely that a Montanan on vacation, studying abroad or working abroad will be a victim of terrorism.  It’s unclear whether terrorists are aware or even care about their victims’ identities in cases like these. Perhaps the terrorists thought that they had killed a score of Londoners before they were shot by British police, but in reality they struck at five of the world’s most powerful nations, including Britain. Google “London attack,” and you can find information immediately, but “London Attack,” is a misnomer in a greater sense. Any act of terrorism is not a crime against a single country, culture or religion, but rather an attack on humanity. Humans would not be able to live in groups if we had to live in constant fear of violence—that’s universal, whether mountains or skyscrapers are your backyard.
The depravity of the attacks threatens Montanans as well as Londoners, though our removal from the forefront of terrorism often allows for more apathetic fear-mongering. The difference between Muslims and extremists often goes ignored (the former is a tenable, valid religion, the latter disregards the social contract that makes life liveable). Nevertheless, more aggressive action must be taken against terrorism. Just what more we can do though is unclear, though a misinformed apathy rooted in distance is not the answer.    

Trevor Canty is working as an intern at the Outlook. He is a sophomore at the University of Notre Dame.

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