Belfast Telegraph

This bloodshed and violence cannot be allowed to continue

Editor's Viewpoint

Once again terrorists have struck in England, and the sense of shock is reverberating around the UK. Seven people, excluding the terrorists themselves, have died, and 48 others are injured, 21 of whom are in a critical condition.

All terrorist attacks are appalling, but there was something particularly barbaric about this one, when three individuals drove a vehicle into people on London Bridge and then went on a knife rampage.

Barely two weeks after the Manchester atrocity, yet more innocent civilians were targeted as they were enjoying themselves in London on a summer evening.

There could not have been easier targets for those seeking to kill and main.

Terrorist attacks are meant not only to kill and injure people but also to make headlines, and the men and women of violence go to ever more appalling lengths to do so.

Sadly, attacks like this one in London are almost impossible to counter. How can the authorities control all vehicles, and the use of all knives?

There is always the need to balance security with providing access to familiar places, and too many restrictions on movement will only aid the terrorists' aim of disrupting normal life.

Nevertheless, the Prime Minister is right to call for tighter security measures, including greater controls on the internet, where these messengers of death and injury can plot their horrific crimes. For far too long this has been an area which has required much more attention from those who are able to devise ways of cutting down the terrorists' means of communication.

Mrs May is also right when she says: "Enough is enough". These people of violence should have no hiding places, on the internet or anywhere else. She is also correct in stressing that things must change, and that there is too much tolerance of extremism in Britain. Others have been saying this for quite some time, but so far their warnings have been largely ignored.

Given the technological expertise available in this country, there is no reason why the war against terrorists should not be waged on the internet as well as on the ground, in the interests of overall security.

Meanwhile, hundreds of miles away on the Isle of Barra, the body of Eilidh MacLeod, who was 14, was repatriated after the Manchester bombing. This is a haunting image of a young girl who left a peaceful island to attend a pop concert, and was returned lifeless to her family. This is a tragedy that is beyond words.

Sadly, there will be more funerals in the Manchester area and in London in the near future. Many victims of both atrocities continue to suffer from severe injuries, some of them life-threatening, and many people will be haunted by what has happened in both cities, and elsewhere.

The plight of the badly injured victims is sometimes forgotten when the immediate news impact is taken over by something else.

This state of virtual anarchy, where innocent people are murdered and injured, cannot be allowed to continue. There is a mounting anger across the UK at the continuing bloodshed and violence, and this demands an adequate response from the authorities.

We in Northern Ireland know only too well the importance of showing defiance in the face of violence, and the value of this is incalculable in the war against terrorism.

Today our prayers are with all the families of the dead and injured in London and Manchester, and also with those brave people who have the difficult job of keeping us all safe.

Belfast Telegraph


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