And the people shuffled their feet…

Notice anything odd at the end of last week?

No, I’m not referring (directly) to the London Car-bombs, but rather something related but much more interesting: Rather than the expected reactions of shock or fear, the general public reaction seems to have been a collective “Meh.”

Has the public finally reached saturation-point when it comes to “terror” alerts? Are people now more concern about the poor passengers missing their flights than the idiots to tried to drive a burning vehicle into an airport?

Are people finally hearing the credible reports, such as this one or this one which confirm that this was an amateurish attempt as a bomb which would never have succeeded?

Are people finally realising that, whatever the root cause of the action, the long-term ramifications are almost purely down to politicians seeking to make political capital of the situation? In fact, idly speculating, given that Prime Minister Brown will shortly be attempting to get Parliament to approve further extending the amount of time that a suspect can be held without charge from 28 days to 90 – wouldn’t there be the temptation to ask the security services to let a low-risk attack through, in order to force the agenda? No, that’s probably being far too paranoid… and probably giving the intelligence services far too much credit.

But what is true is that Britain has lived through decades of frequent and very highly organised attacks from the IRA which did pose a very clear danger – they almost blew up the entire Tory party when they were in power for heaven’s sake! – but people got on with things and our way of life was not significantly altered, the impossibility of finding a rubbish bin anywhere in the Underground system notwithstanding.

create and maintain a state of extreme fear and distress in (someone); fill with terror

So who are the true terrorists – the criminally misguided people who thought that igniting petrol within a vehicle was a good way to form a bomb, or the politicians and media who are capitalising on this to attempt to keep the population scared, docile, and submissive? I’d argue that the (previous) government and the media are unquestionably guilty of terrorism themselves: They’ve taken a remote threat (since 1960, peanuts, deer, and lightning strikes have killed more Americans than terrorists) and blown it out of all proportion in order to terrorise the population and cement their own positions of power.

The one saving grace end up being the apathy of the general public: if non-event terror alerts such as this continue, then people will ever more demand back the intrinsic rights that have been stolen from them. The more that the terrorism card is used, the less effective it becomes.

When we look back at this period in history, the current political climate will surely be looked down on with as much contempt and disdain as the McCarthy-era Communist witch-hunts are now… are we finally seeing signs that we’re approaching a turning point?