All of us in Britain and across the world have been deeply saddened and disgusted by the Manchester Arena attack, in which 22 innocent people, including teens and children, were killed and a further 59 were injured.
World leaders, from Russia’s Vladimir Putin and US President Trump to the president of France and China and numerous prime ministers, have expressed their horror of the attack and their sympathy, along with the Queen, our own leaders, and many celebrities.
At the time of writing, it is understood that the police believe they know the attacker’s identity but are not yet ready to reveal it, and a 23-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the incident. The search for missing people continues, while the anguish of everyone involved is set to continue for a very long time.
One lesson to be learned from such dreadful events is that it is very hard for the counter-terrorism and security services to identify and prevent ‘lone wolf’ attackers from wreaking havoc among innocent communities, despite an extensive intelligence-led approach. We should, therefore, follow police advice and urge anyone who ever comes across any information that seems ‘a bit peculiar’ to come forward and share it, as it might make a difference.
Another important lesson is that the goodness of ordinary folk in coming to help is very precious. On the whole, people who are involved in or close to an attack are more inclined to act generously and help others in the same boat, than to ‘look after number one’. Think of the good people who provided overnight accommodation or rides home to concert-goers who were stranded, and those who have helped to search, in person or online for missing teens.
Finally, our emergency services and first responders are due enormous thanks for their dedication in doing a difficult job with compassion and professionalism that undoubtedly made a great difference.
Our prayers are with all concerned.