Wednesday 22nd 2013, 1421 – Woolwich, South London.
That’s when the call was placed to police – that’s when the authorities became aware that two men were hacking another to death with machetes. But there were witnesses to this act – it happened in broad daylight. Bloodstained hands were caught on camera-phones, tweets going viral while the perpetrators explained why they had done it, to passers by.
They didn’t run, they waited for police. Fourteen minutes later, armed police showed up, and were charged by at least one of the perpetrators. They promptly shot him. Both perpetrators are now in hospital, under guard.
The dead man was a serving soldier. The perpetrators were young black men, who were Muslims. Media makes much of them shouting ‘God is Great’ in Arabic, and their statements that the reason for this is Western troops in Muslim countries.
There will be countless other editorials on this act, and terrorism in general, for many years to come, but as a Briton of a certain age, I grew up with mainland terrorism. Irish Republican paramilitary groups were making threats and blowing things up and killing people throughout my childhood. It’s nothing particularly new, because ultimately, yesterday’s act was an ideological murder.