The right weapon
Today’s terrorist attack in London seems to have been in the worst tradition of slaughtering the innocent, but pretty feeble in its token attempt on the more noble target of Parliament. This won’t become a Grand Tradition like Catesby’s papists’ attack.
But if we accept that the goal was slaughter of the innocent, then today’s perpetrator made a better job of it than most have done, at least since the days of the IRA, with their deep-pocketed US backers and organised paramilitary structure. His weapon of choice was the obvious one for the purpose, having far more destructive power than many that are subject to heavy security theatre and sometimes utterly ridiculous restrictions. Even some of those labelled “weapons of mass destruction”.
The car. The weapon that is available freely to everyone, no questions asked. The weapon no government dare restrict. The weapon that kills more than all others, yet where it’s so rare as to be newsworthy for any perpetrator to be meaningfully punished. Would the 5/11 plotters have gone to such lengths with explosives if they’d had such effective weapons to hand?
With this weapon, the only limit on terrorist attacks is the number of terrorists. No need for preparation and planning – the kind of thing that might attract the attention of police or spooks – just go ahead.
And next time we get a display of security theatre – like banning laptops on flights – we can point to the massive double-standards.