As I write this I am blinded by tears. Let them take me as they will now.
He is running. The backpack straps rub against his shoulders as he leaps down the steps into the tube station. It's coming up to the rush hour on the tube and he's going out this evening. His tools of trade , heavy on his back. Meters for measuring amps and volts, little screwdrivers, big screwdrivers, clamps, wire, fuses. All the necessaries for his work.
When you work in London, sometimes... most times it's better to take a tube or a bus. The parking is awful. There are more and more people on bicycles. He doesn't need the aggravation of a car and parking. Just to get to the house, make repairs, order a new fuse box or whatever it is that electricians do, call in to the boss and pick up the next job ticket. Off to the next job. That's life in the Great British City of London.
The country I came from. The country that Roger Miller sang a song about. "England Swings like a pendulum do... Bobbies on bicycles two by two. Westminster Abbey, the Tower of Big Ben. The rosy-red cheeks of the little children".
Lord he's behind time! The tube trains motor in and out so quickly and these days people jam in like sardines... He leaps down the steps three at a time. Got to make that tube train. Another won't be here for ten minutes.
The rucksack is heavy. He hitches it up, losing his stride, but taking great gulps of air and heading for the platform.
Around him scores of other Londoners are doing the same, racing for the next tube train. The smell, the sounds of the London Underground are heavy on the air. It bustles and slams, and everything around is noise bouncing off the smooth walls. Walls decorated by posters and messages wondering what "YOU are doing tonight.?" He smiles as he races past that message that pictures a sensual young woman in a camisole. Not sure if it is an ad for a movie, or the camisole.. but whatever it is, he won't be doing THAT tonight.
The tannoy belches out announcements.. Now there is just one more flight of steps to go and a sprint to the automatic doors.. There are people sprinting behind him. He puts on the speed as the tube train grinds to a halt with a screech and the doors hiss open.
The queues move forward, and then he is on the train, breathless. But he made it. Suddenly he is thrown to the ground. Three men are on him. He looks up, in sudden terror at the guns around him. He is nailed down by three men.. and the last look on his face is one of sheer undulterated terror. He is murdered, there and then by three British Police Officers. Shot in the head SEVEN TIMES. And once in the shoulder.
Can YOU imaginine what condition a human body would be in to be shot in the head SEVEN TIMES? SEVEN shots to the head. A young electrician racing for a train. Murdered in front of scores of Londoners who always thought of Britain as a place where you could always ask the time of a policeman. Murdered. Yes.
I think of this with horror. Not terror. No never terror. I have no fear of terrorism, or of anyone for that matter. The Long-Haired-Hippy Lout taught me that. No, it's HORROR! Horror that the country of my origin, the country I always had such fond growing-up memories about, now DEFENDS these murderers by saying to people that if an innocent person dies it is in the quest for terrorists.
No! Please do not tell me that! Please do not ever tell me that the cold blooded murder. (SEVEN SHOTS TO THE HEAD) is to protect ME..YOU... US ... from terrorism.
Don't you EVER say that to me!
26th July 2005