I’ve thought very hard before I’ve written this post. I didn’t write it yesterday as, like most people, I was angry and heartbroken at the sheer level of destruction and death caused to youngsters in Manchester.
I was angry as a Mum who has children who are getting to an age where they want to go to concerts, and indeed, have been to festivals to see all manner of bands since they were in nappies in Littlest’s case. I know the excitement before, during and after a longed for concert that these kids would have experienced as I’ve experienced it myself and seen my kids experience it too.
I am angry as a woman. Its widely been discussed that this was very much a targeted attack- it was the fourth anniversary of Lee Rigby’s brutal and very public murder, this was a concert by an American female singer known for her skimpy costumes and her female empowerment message and her support of LGBT rights, and the audience was mostly young, Western females of different ages who wear the types of clothes that the Extremists would see outlawed.
I am angry as a Britain who, time and again, hears the same nonsense from the Politician of the day. That yet again, this was a male known to Authorities, who was allowed to leave the country and enter a known hot bed for Extremist training, come back here and walk into the Foyer of the Arena. Why? Why do we just simply watch and wait? When did we become so scared to do something to stop these nutters seeing through these campaigns?
So, what do we do?
I know the consensus is we carry on. We don’t let them win. We don’t stop going about our daily lives because of one bad penny.
But this is a multitude now of Extremists, the threat level is critical. We must, as parent’s, make a judgement call.
We can’t trust the Authorities to protect us- elsewise this guy would not have been walking the streets, jumping on planes and then coming back and killing 22 people.
Its an uncomfortable truth now, but we aren’t safe. We aren’t safe at concerts. We aren’t safe on holiday. We aren’t safe in our capitals.
Instead of, yet again, voicing he was known (without the added, but yet we know it’s true “but we did nothing because we are too scared to offend anyone in case we get it wrong and they sue the backsides off us), it’s time our Police and courts are given powers to tag people. We need to bring in a “Persons of Interest” law, which enables the authorities to monitor the activities of people just like the Manchester Bomber.
No doubt, you would tag the odd person who has nothing to do with any of these people who seek to ruin our freedoms. Yet those with nothing to hide would submit to it, without fear.
We need an outright ban on these watched individuals being allowed to travel. And an outright ban across the board of any travel to any of the known countries where these types of attacks are planned and practiced. And anyone using gateway countries to go needs to be put on the banned list and not allowed back in under any circumstances.
We aren’t fighting a war the way we have in the past. It’s not a situation where we can, as many were stupidly voicing yesterday “nuke” or “bomb” the shit out of one country and hooray, peace is restored. They are everywhere. They are across Europe. They are in America, and, as we’ve found out to our cost, in the UK.
So, whilst I’m sure many will react to tell me I am wrong, I shouldn’t stop going out to gigs and places I’ve formally gone to without a second thought, I wont be going, and, definitely will not take my children.
As a Mother, it is my job to keep my children safe.
We haven’t had the TV on since the attacks. I don’t understand it myself, so I can’t begin to explain it to an 8 and ten year old who look to me to keep the bad people away.
I have cancelled a planned trip to London.
If Reading go up to the Premiership, I wont be watching the parade in town.
I wont be catching a train anytime soon.
And sadly, it will continue until someone in power actually does something other then watch and wait until these thugs blow themselves up.
Strength is needed, but it needs to come from the law makers, not us citizens.
My thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families, to the injured, and to children who, instead of going in to school to brag about an amazing concert by an artist they love, full of happy stories of music, and dance and lights and a naughty school night late night to bed, are shocked and silenced by visions their young eyes should never have seen, and screams their ears should never have heard.
Whilst the threat remains amongst us, where crowds of people gather, I will not.
And yes, it is sad. And yes, it is uncomfortable to feel I have to take that stance.
But I see no other option until our Police, our secret services and, most importantly, our politicians, do what we all know they should and take direct, full and no nonsense action against those they currently take a soft approach on, and merely watch the odd time.
Yes, we are strong.
We will hashtag, and start funds, and hang our heads in reflection.
But are we strong enough?
As awful as it is, I fear the answer is no.