I’m not afraid to say that these events don’t usually get to me, as heartless as that sounds. They’re always someone else’s problem. London or Paris etc. There’s so many of them that you become desensitised and numb. There’s just so much pain in the world that if you let it, it will fucking devour you.
This was different. This was local. My city and my people. I stayed up watching the rolling news, or should I say lack of it. I was angry with senior Police and the lack of information being released, after all, when was the last time you saw an event like this take so long to break in the news? After two hours of watching the same three second clip of Ambulances, Sky News were discussing balloons and fucking speakers exploding.
My anger was misplaced of course. I knew deep down that this was something bad and with hindsight, the police were just trying to keep their intelligence to themselves. That way they retained an element of surprise for the protection of all of us.
The Police, despite 7 years of crippling cuts, along with everyone else involved that night, were amazing.
It’s easy to go on about the wonderful people of Manchester helping each other out, but the truth is that happens anywhere that such tragedy strikes. People are, for the most part, essentially good. A point which gets easier and easier to oversee in today’s hostile climate.
It’s also difficult not to get caught up in a patriotic wave, but fuck it, I will. The Police and The NHS coped tremendously that night, but the truth is they would have coped with 200 fewer officers and 200 fewer nurses just as well. We brits are resilient as fuck. We fought WW2 with songs and 2 ounces of fuck all. We make shit happen. We always triumph.
That cunt, I won’t say his name, robbed 22 families of their loved ones. He attacked fucking children and injured scores of innocent people. There are no words to express my utter disdain for this backwards thinking moron or the poison oozing bastards who radicalised him, knowing full well that they will never die for their so called beliefs.
But he took more than that. He robbed my sense of security and for a second, a second too long, he made me hate all the people he pretended to represent, and that is unforgivable.
I’m ashamed to admit it, but it didn’t take long for my logic to be restored and it’s embarrassing to admit that terrorism worked on me, even if it was for a second. A second that felt like an eternity.
He hurt all of us but he didn’t break us. They never will. The following day I was in a taxi and the Asian driver felt the need to denounce it. To point out how sick the attacker was and that radicals should be hanged.
His outrage was laboured but genuine. I felt sorry for him. How may times did he feel he had to condemn the acts of a guy who had fuck all to do with him that day alone? I wanted to shake him and say ‘Stop! You don’t have to fucking do this for every customer. This has nothing to do with you’. I gave him a tip instead.
My words would have been hollow anyway. What good is me telling him that when you’ve got scum like Hopkins and Morgan chomping at the bit to politicise and cash in on tragedy, when the political parties are taking a break? The Sun ran with a picture of Jeremy Corbyn ‘with blood on his hands’ for Christ’s sake.
Dropping bombs, spreading vitriol against normal people. It’s not fucking working is it? The wheel of hate just keeps turning. The answer? I don’t have one but being stuck in this cycle isn’t it.
So. Keep being people. Keep that free taxi rides, free brews, free rooms spirit. Keep giving blood and getting bee tattoos and singing. Keep fucking loving each other because what’s the alternative?