My First Bomb Scare

Posted: May 31, 2011 in Joe's Life, London
Tags: , , , ,

‘Vigilance’ was an important word this month. Every political figure and journalist used it the week Osama Bin Laden’s death was announced and it cropped up again midmonth when a bomb threat was made against central London.

The Metropolitan Police sealed off areas like Trafalgar Square and the mall near Buckingham Palace, detonated an unusual bag in central London, and used a bomb squad to investigate several suspicious manhole covers and streets.

What?!? Someone forgot to mention these types of activities when we were discussing my transfer.

While watching a Die Hard movie or sitting around with buddies, it’s easy to say how you would handle this situation but those hypothetical, and mostly chauvinistic, plans disappear when you learn of a credible threat. It’s replaced instead by a million different thoughts and ideas.

The first for me was “Holy Sh!t.

It was quickly followed by “Is this real?!” and “I think I’m working late tonight.

Central London is quite large so the odds were on my side but the “Is this for real?” feeling stuck with me for a while as a new list of questions popped into my head. Do I take the tube home like normal or should I try the bus? Will they issue an ‘all clear’ or do we remain vigilant until tomorrow morning? If I stay late, how late should I stay? Is 8 p.m. late enough?

As these questions were passing through my mind, I was caught off guard by my colleagues’ lack of reaction. Was I the only person that received the email? They seemed to be the epitome of “Keep Calm and Carry On.”

In the end, the threat was minimal and nothing more than a slight hiccup from the Metropolitan Police department’s perspective. However, it was a good reminder of the British mentality. ‘Redesigned’ by the Nazi bombings in WWII and shaken by the 7/7 bombings of 2005, London is a strong city with a difficult past.

As someone that grew up rocking the suburbs, my colleagues served as a reminder that there will always be threats close to home and you should keep a watchful eye, but that doesn’t mean you should be afraid of the unknown.



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