The events of yesterday (Wednesday 22nd May) in which a serving member of the British military was killed by two assailants who then tried to dismember the body was barbaric and a tragedy.
According to eyewitness statements it took armed police TWENTY minutes to attend the incident, even though multiple bystanders had reported that a serious incident was taking place involving two armed men.
Woolwich is located in the South-East of London. Within a kilometre to the east is the notorious Thamesmead Estate which is known as London’s most crime-ridden housing complex, where street gangs and violent crime proliferate in a maze of high-rise apartment blocks.
Approximately two kilometres to the west of Woolwich is the Blackwall Tunnel, which leads to Poplar and the East End of London, which has been home to major criminal gangs (such as the Kray twins) for at least 100 years, and is still the centre of major crime today.
Woolwich Crown Court is less than 3 kilometres away, and has a heavily armed police presence.
Police officers in the UK are not routinely armed, and rely on Armed Response Units (ARVs) to attend incidents where weapons are reported to be involved.
London has a significant armed police presence throughout the city, especially in high-risk areas such as the City of London, Westminster, and areas with a high rate of crime and criminal gang activity.
Where the Woolwich incident took place is easily accessible by a good road network, providing police with a fast route to the incident from several main routes through south-east London, which are fairly clear of traffic at around 2:20pm when the incident took place.
Taking into account the that two major crime areas are close to Woolwich, a military facility is right where the incident took place, Woolwich Crown Court is a short distance away, and Armed Response Units cover the whole of London, it is incredible that it took twenty minutes for an armed unit to arrive at the incident.
Of course, an armed response unit would not have arrived in time to save the person who was attacked by the two assailants, but taking into account the number of bystanders, there could easily have been a bloody massacre involving many, many more fatalities and injuries within that twenty minute period.
The assailants appear to have had a single purpose, and after they attacked the person they killed were more interested in gaining publicity for their actions – a factor that prevented many others from being assaulted or killed.
In a hypothetical scenario, what would have happened if bystanders knew that it was going to take such a long time for the police to take action? Would some have taken action themselves, and what would the legal position be? Would they have been prosecuted if they had killed the two assailants (which is probably the only way to stop the two who were determined to complete their ‘mission’)? Would more bystanders have been killed or injured through trying to stop the assailants?
Hypothetical situations are not reality, but thinking about a group of citizens left at the mercy of armed criminals raises many questions about what members of the public can do when they are left defenceless in the face of such potential violence.
According to a statement made by Metropolitan Police Commander Simon Letchford local police officers were at the scene before the armed officers arrived. If they were, we wonder where exactly they were or what they were doing, because none of the pictures or video of the incident show any police officers at all until the arrival of the Armed Response Unit.
In the aftermath of the two assailants being shot by police, there were no signs that any other police officers were actively engaged at the scene. Bystanders can be seen walking around the area where the body lay. Surely if there were police officers there, they would have been engaged in controlling the general public and protecting valuable forensic evidence.
A police statement claims that local officers were on the scene in about 9 minutes and the armed officers arrived in around 14 minutes – still a long time considering the proximity of armed units.
Overall, the handling of this incident seems very strange and illogical.
What has materialised from this incident is that the police have become very ineffective at protecting the public from serious, violent threats.
We know that the police are under-resourced in finance and manpower, and over ‘managed’ with bureaucracy, but this is a problem of government – not the officers involved. No doubt politicians will seek to gain as much mileage for their own purposes as they can out of this incident when it is they who are directly responsible.
As early as late Wednesday afternoon he incident was being cited as an act of terrorism by the government without being investigated to establish if that is the case, or if the two assailants were acting because of other influences, such as drug abuse or mental health problems.
Cameron has already called an emergency meeting of COBRA (the UK’s crisis committee) and is shouting that ‘the UK will never give in to terror or terrorism”.
Today (Thursday 23rd May) police have raided addresses in London and Lincoln, taking in several people for questioning.
Another disturbing factor is that the two assailants were known to UK security services.
This has been described as being a ‘lone-wolf’ attack, but this is highly unlikely if the two assailants have been known to security services for some time. There will have been some kind of intelligence gathering process that rated them as persons of interest, which often involves deeper investigation into their activities and contacts.
Now it remains to be seen what the aftermath of this tragic event will be.
The police will inevitably come under criticism for something – probably from politicians. Politicians will make all kinds of claims, passing the buck for any criticism of them, and that will be about it.
At some point the government will come up with some ill thought out and hair-brained policy, law, or scheme – ignoring the fact that criminals and terrorists don’t play by the rules and obey laws. Or they may use this incident as justification for (or to bolster their case for) further curtailment of civil liberties – again ignoring the fact that it will have no effect on determined criminals or terrorists.
There are a couple of things the British public can be certain of:
- The death of the person in Woolwich, as with tens of thousands of other deaths around the world, was preventable and is a direct result of the government’s involvement in oppressive illegal war and conflict in the middle-east.
- The British public cannot rely on the police to protect them when they come under violent attack by armed criminals or terrorists.
The Woolwich incident should be a wake-up call to everyone in the UK. It is time the British people sent a clear message that enough is enough to ALL parties involved in the most manipulative and unnecessary conflict in modern history.
It is our duty to ensure that we evolve into the 21st century as a whole humanity instead of remaining in the barbaric pathologic psychopathy of those who control our world.