Our main TV broke about three weeks ago, so the first I heard of today's bombings was on BBC news on my way to work. It made the news much more immediate hearing it on a London-based station. The immediate panic and the jammed phone lines reminded me so much of 9/11 it was eerie. In addition to the victims and wounded, they talked about the 3 million or so people who would normally take the subway or buses today, and it was hard to imagine how scared those people must be, all of them.
My other thoughts are about Iraq. I have never been there, but I have to think that getting on a bus there you would take your life in your hands every single day. Not to mention on the street, in your home, going to the store, anywhere. Are they scared all the time? Or are they just numb to it by now and take it as part of everyday life? Also, ask yourself what your reaction was the last time you heard about a suicide bomber blowing up a bus in Iraq. Was it on par with your reaction to the attacks in London?
Of course this doesn't diminish the tragedy in any way. In "free" western societies we expect to be able to walk down the street or use public transportation without being blown up. Of course, we also expect to live without things like illegal search and seizure, wiretaps without court orders, imprisonment for indefinite time without hope of trial, going to jail for not revealing a journalistic source, things like that.