London this week, in a strange and possibly heartless way, tells me we're still lucky. Lucky only in the chilling sense that the dead hearts of Mr. bin Laden and his likes have not yet found the means, or had the opportunity, to deal a blow on the scale that all of us must by now know they would wish to deal.Odd, isn't it, how something can be both profoundly disturbing and profoundly consoling at the same time? This, of course, is not the kernel of Murphy's argument, but perhaps it is also something that needs to be remembered, especially as terrorists try to summon panic as our great cultural chimera. That these attacks were not as crippling as those in Bali or Madrid or New York may, of course, be the result of other factors (incompetence on the part of the attackers, effective rescue techniques, or even just plain coincidence), none of which may have a thing to do with what might still be possible. It does, however, appear to me as an act of a different kind of desperation from what we have come to know from these "people." The plot seems almost like a macabre "forget-me-not" from people (again, scare quotes are probably best used around that word) losing ground.
There is no moral reserve in terrorism. If they could have concluded the lives of all Londoners on Thursday morning, they would have done so.
Dreadful, though, when one has to think in such perverse terms.