The London attack suspects first hit the British soldier with a car then hacked him to death with knives and meat cleavers in mid-afternoon as horrified pedestrians watched. With blood flowing in the south London road, the attack suspects chatted with onlookers and scored propaganda points into camera phones.
Finally, the police arrived and shot both men in the legs. Both suspects spent the night in hospitals under armed guard.
The attack was later designated as a terrorist attack by British authorities, and it was later revealed that they had been the subjects of previous investigations into terrorist activity. The attackers were also found to be Christian-Muslim converts, who were inspired by al-Qaeda but not appearing to be directly told by the organization to attack the infantryman.
This is yet another entry in a list of terrorist attacks to occur in the city in the last decade, and coupled with the Boston bombings last month, the London attack could be an alarming security sign. Attacks like these give more credence to the increasing of police forces in developed countries around the world, which could to the erosion of civil liberties as people are willing to give up more of their rights in the name of security.
However, while events like these are incredible tragedies, they absolutely shouldn’t warrant more spying by government agencies or intrusion by police forces. While people should definitely be smart and protective of themselves, and the government should be occupied with basic matters of national defense, increased paranoia is the major thing to avoid. Persuasion through paranoia and fear by politicians and legislators only leads to dangerous absurdities like the PATRIOT Act, unconstitutional roving wiretaps, and surveillance via personal correspondence, so stay wary of both terrorists and “terrorists.”