Mass Gatherings Thrust the Public into Vulnerable Situations

On a usual day the two items in my title would have very little to do with each other. But since the bombs went off yesterday at 3 pm local time, “usual” doesn’t count. Every time a mass sporting event or public celebration takes place across the world, we have to worry about who will take advantage of these made-to-order opportunities to inflict severe harm to the greatest number of innocent people.

As yet, the source of yesterday’s bombs is unknown. International or domestic terrorism? A lone assassin or a team of conspirators? It seems that someone should soon take responsibility for these heinous acts, for why else do they carry them out, if not for prime-time coverage across the earth?

Margret: Savior or Destroyer?

Tomorrow, Wednesday, 17th April, Margaret Thatcher’s life will be celebrated in London. But many are celebrating her death, as if dancing on her grave would change the past 30 years of British history. Must we fear violence on the streets from the disgruntled whom decades ago the grocer’s daughter forced to face economic reality? Might recalcitrant IRA terrorists resurface with bombs to shake the city in ear-shattering remembrance of Mrs. Thatcher’s Ireland policies? All agree that she altered the face and future of Britain. Not all have seen this in a positive light.

I lived in Britain from 1975 until early 1980. Baroness Thatcher (then simply Mrs.) had just entered office not long before we left and hope for change was high. It took a feisty woman to step up to bat and change the game. And as we all know, games have not only winners.

Brain Drain

The Britain I experienced in the late seventies was not a great place to live. London lived in fear of the next IRA bombing. The unions held sway over industry and the Labour government; and that government owned and operated many major companies. On a personal level, our years in Britain were meager and with both of us working full-time, we could barely make ends meet. When my husband had finished his professional qualification, we didn’t hang around to await improvements. We moved to Germany as economic refugees in search of a better future.

Britain had long been suffering from brain drain. Its most well-educated and talented citizens voted with their feet and emigrated to more user-friendly environments (i.e. lower taxes, fewer strikes, less rain). We just joined the stampede.

 The Iron Lady

In her later years as P.M. the Iron Lady became imperious. Her attitudes towards the European Union and her belief in the poll tax were not only arcane but extremely destructive. Nevertheless, in other areas Margaret Thatcher did her country a great service.  She brought about a sea change in Great Britain: she stopped the downward spiral.

Thus as Margaret Thatcher’s funeral is held tomorrow, London must brace itself for unrest. I pray that the press gets very little in the way of sensational stories from the event. I fear I shall be disappointed.

May the innocent in London be safe from harm. May the guilty in Boston suffer the consequences of their cowardly acts.



Filed under Politics


  1. Hi Deb
    An exceptional post. I often find that your posts help me to understand what is going on in the world. Thank you

  2. As some-one who lived in Northern Ireland during The Troubles, I know it is important not to let terrorists dictate our social agenda. Events like the Boston Marathon bombing were happening at least weekly in NI, and I don’t think many Americans realise that the IRA’s largest source of funding was – yes, it’s true – the USA. Americans were paying Irish terrorists to kill and destroy.

    Of course, there was friction between the two governments as a result, but the crazies were not allowed to appear as a serious political force until they put their guns down. To their credit, the British governments of the time, including Margaret Thatcher’s, kept terrorists off the political stage, and their citizens refused to be panicked. The best defence against terrorism is a strong, democratic society that holds to its core values.

    • Thanks for your insight into the NI troubles. Wasn’t it Irish Americans funding the weapons, not the government? For you can say the same about today’s Muslim Americans who send money to the various “charitable” organizations in the Middle East. However, there we do have US (and other countries!) happily and openly selling weapons to the governments of those same countries – who are their allies! All the guns and bombs will be circulating there for decades to come. God only knows where it will all end.

      Happily, we have seen peace come to NI. Although there are still issues to fight about, on a whole, things have normalized. And your final statement, Jacqueline, is eminently true: “The best defence against terrorism is a strong, democratic society that holds to its core values.”

      BTW, in Derry (Londonderry) there is a Peace Bridge built across the River Foyle, a footbridge to encourage the residents from the east (Loyalist) and west (Republican) parts of the city to grow closer together. The theme of reconciliation is the foundation of my novel, The Peace Bridge. I see it as a universal theme, one that applies to all sorts of places: NI, former Yugoslavia, S. Africa, USA, Australia…..

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