It appears that London’s Muslim Mayor, Sadiq Khan, was right: Living in a big city means you’ll just have to get used to a terror attack now and again.
It isn’t likely that Londoners didn’t know that, but in case they forgot, a “Midlands man” reminded them this morning when he smashed his car into cyclists and pedestrians before ramming a protective barrier in front of the Palace of Westminster. The palace is the home of Britain’s House of Lords and the House of Commons, the two bodies of Parliament.
This is the third attack since March 2017 near Westminster, the locus of British politics and some of the most recognizable sites in the Western world, including Westminster Abbey.
And in May last year, a bomber struck a concert in Manchester, killing 22.
"Man From Midlands"
According to the Telegraph, a man in his late 20s drove a Ford Fiesta into a “group of cyclists and pedestrians waiting for traffic lights to change.” The paper continued,
Rooftop camera footage shows the car mounting a pavement on the wrong side of the road before, witnesses said, it travelled at up to 50 mph for around 40 metres (130ft) and hit a bollard....
The suspect was taken to a south London police station, where he remains on suspicion of terrorism offences. He is not co-operating with officers.
The Met's counter-terrorism command is leading the investigation. Officers are seeking to formally identify the suspect, but "don't believe this person is known to either MI5 or counter-terrorism police".
The Sun reported that the black suspect, photographed in handcuffs, is a “man from Midlands,” although police have not said whether he was born in Britain or was a recent refugee or immigrant.
The Sun also took down eyewitness reports:
[Said] eyewitness Jason Williams: "He went into the bollard at high speed, about 40 or 50 mph. It was, in my opinion, something planned and something very sinister."
Another witness stated: “I saw a silver car heading towards cyclists on the wrong side of the road. He hit them then swerved over towards the safety barrier and then accelerated and hit it at quite high speed. The car actually came off the ground and landed again. He hit about five cyclists. One actually got up and began to chase the car. It was frightening."
The terrorist, as yet unidentified, had not surfaced as a potential threat before this morning.
President Trump delivered a typical Twitter blast after the crash: “Another terrorist attack in London... These animals are crazy and must be dealt with through toughness and strength!”
Indeed, but whatever London’s authorities are doing — including London's Muslim mayor, who seems happy to live in a city that has suffered four terror attacks in little more than a year — it isn’t very tough or strong.
In March of last year, 52-year-old British-born Muslim convert Khalid Masood smashed into pedestrians and stabbed a policeman on Westminster Bridge. Driving a Hyundai Tucson 4x4, Masood killed five pedestrians and injured 50 before a policeman killed him.
In May, a 22-year-old British-born Muslim of Libyan descent Salman Ramadan Abedim detonated a suicide bomb at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, killing 22. British authorities had the terrorist on their radar, but were not watching him closely enough, despite evidence that he was very likely a dangerous radical.
In June 2017, it was another bridge attack. Three Islamic State terrorists — Khuram Shazad Butt, Rachid Redouane, and Youssef Zaghba — rammed into pedestrians on London Bridge, then fled to nearby Borough Market for a stabbing spree. Police shot those men dead, too, and found them wearing fake bombs.
Authorities received an “avalanche of warnings” about them, the New York Times reported. Butt was a Pakistani Muslim born in Britain, while the Muslim Redouane sneaked into Britain after the government denied him asylum. Zaghba, another Muslim, was born in Morocco and linked to ISIS.
Meanwhile, the U.K. Independent reported: "At a briefing for journalists in Westminster, the prime minister’s spokesman said 13 Islamist and four far-right plots have been foiled since the first Westminster attack in March 2017 — an average of one a month."
Trump labeled London Mayor Khan’s reaction to that attack “pathetic.”
For his part, Khan is resigned to living with Islamic terror. After a terror bomb exploded in New York in September of 2017, injuring 29, Khan’s advice was to get used to it. “Part and parcel of living in a great local city,” he said, “is you’ve got to be prepared for these things.”
After this morning’s attack, does that mean Britons will be allowed to carry guns?
Image: Screenshot from a Reuters video