Fighting spirit

The metro station where, each morning, I take the metro to work and where, each evening, I get off to go home again, is quite notorious. The other platform receives the train to and from the airport. Tourists and travelers are often waiting there for their train. Pickpockets, bag snatchers and other verminous thiefs were quite aware of this. The lack of police control had turned this station in a heaven for small time criminals. People resisting were regularly roughed up, threatened with knives or otherwise forced to give up their possessions. The chances for a thief of being caught were virtually zero. Things had gone way out of hand but, though it took a couple of years, the local government took action and things have turned for the better now. The increased police presence on the station and the trains, camera monitoring, security fences, and the presence of security guards have even led to the arrest of a terrorist suspect. The man was wanted for questioning and possible arrest as he was suspected of being a member of, or at least supporting with physical and material means, a terrorist group here in Holland, the same group that's held responsible for last year's murder of Theo van Gogh, the dutch cineast. That the man was up to no good anyway can be concluded from the fact he was apprehended with a cocked and loaded firearm.

Police, government and local transport corporations have started an anti-terrorism campaign. People can report suspicious packages, unusual situations and suspiciouly behaving people to the authorities. In the light of the recent bombings in Madrid and London, this campaign is easily understood. I'm just wondering why now? This kind of campaigns have been around in London for at least the past 10-15 years. It couldn't and didn't prevent the bombings. What it does do, or at least what people hope it'll do, is give people more fighting spirit, make them alert and ready. No more fear is what we need.

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