Politics must vanquish bombers
Northern Ireland has been so used to bomb attempts to kill security forces that such an outrage is sometimes overshadowed by other developments. However, this should not be so, because any attempt to kill or maim members of the PSNI is a direct attack on the rule of law.
This is why the weekend bomb by the so-called New IRA in north Belfast was so dastardly. The fact that it failed to go off was pure good luck.
A senior policeman underlined that if it had done so, the explosion could have murdered or seriously injured PSNI officers and members of the public.
This grave development underlines the relative lack of attention being given in this current uninspiring election campaign to issues which so many people still have to live with in Northern Ireland.
There have been a number of topics which make for the usual television confrontation, but there has been little emphasis on the chronic concerns such as security, parades, flags and emblems, dealing with the past and the victims of the Troubles.
When the votes have been cast later this week, and the results analysed, we may wake up on Friday morning only to realise that most of the major issues which dominate community life here have not been properly highlighted or discussed.
In only a few weeks the highly contentious issue of parades will be bearing down on us again, at precisely the time when most of our MLAs will be getting ready for their holidays.
In the weeks and months to come, victims will still be victims, strikes may still be looming, and marching and flags may again dominate our sorry agenda of community and political life.
It is all the more reassuring, therefore, that whatever happens or fails to happen in our narrow and confrontational political world, we still have the brave officers of the PSNI, aided by the Army, dealing with bombs, and the experienced forensic teams trying to catch the culprits. Elections come and go, but where would we be without those people who are dedicated to trying to keep Northern Ireland safe for all of us?
Politics is supposed to be the art of the possible, and while the law-enforcers try to hold the ring as best they can, it is up to the politicians here to hammer out a lasting solution.