July 10, 2005

Legacy of 9/11

Among the lasting effects of the attacks of 9/11---and perhaps the most personally relevant for me, unfortunately---is a certain desensitisation. Despite rationally understanding the tragedy of the recent bombings in London, there is this nagging, horrible part of my brain saying things like, "what's the big deal? Only a few dozen dead." As if that makes it any less tragic, or any less terror-inducing.

I think that it was in fact less terror-inducing than 9/11, but for quite a different reason: Londoners, and Britons as a whole, have had much longer to become psychologically prepared for bombing attacks. The IRA's activities of a decade or two ago were certainly a textbook example of terrorism, and those bombings make today's residents of the UK a considerable bit more able to deal with the London attack without a lot of knee-jerk fear and power play. Not to mention the fact that even now a significant number of older Brits can remember the Battle of Britain, and even in the younger generations, the bombings of London play a notable role in the national psyche. So London, I think, will pick itself and move on sensibly---maybe with heightened security, but it will be security that actually helps, rather than just irritating and invasive measures that serve only to make people feel better. The effectiveness of 9/11 had at least as much to do with its novelty as with its scale.

All the same, though, there's that nasty little corner of my brain that is playing the numbers game. Not exactly one of my prouder moments.

"well I use triple-rot13 ... nyah nyah nyah" --Skapare

Posted by blahedo at 3:08pm on 10 Jul 2005
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