This morning I was in London with my teenage son and daughter, Aaron and Lauren, when the work of terrorists began to unfold. En route to the Swiss Cottage subway (or tube) stop, we learned of what was thought to have been an electrical grid power failure of the London Underground system. While my initial thought that this was much like the New York power failure in August 2003, one thing did not seem right: we were not experiencing a heat wave.
We decided to wait and return to the hotel until things returned to normal so we could carry on with our day planning to see the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace and the Portrait Gallery or Tate Museum.
Upon our return, we learned that in addition to the tube being shut down, there were several bus bombings. Connecting the dots, we suspected the worst: a terrorist attack on London. We waited a bit longer and then decided not to let the day’s events get in our way. Rather than being terrorized, we made alternate plans and carried on. My son took a two – hour walk through the Regent’s Park area, and my daughter and I walked over to a neighborhood called Primrose Hill. We had lunch, went into several shops, and Lauren got her hair cut.
Checking my Blackberry, I was receiving streams of emails from friends and business associates back in the U.S. asking to see if all was ok. My standard response was that from where we were, you would never know anything had happened. People were out and about, carrying on with their daily lives, enjoying what turned out to be a lovely early afternoon.
Returning to the hotel, we learned that 33 people had died and 1,000 had been injured. I don’t make light of what happened, for one death and one injury are one too many. When an incident like this happens, the media tends to focus on the pain and horror of human suffering. That is when the terrorists win. But they also wind up losing- and losing they did on a much grander scale. What you did not see in the media were the millions of other residents and tourists who were carrying on with their daily lives. In my own little world, today’s score became Alan, Aaron and Lauren 3 and the terrorists, 0.