So this time it is Stockholm. And I am tempted simply to write ‘copy’, ‘paste’ and ‘repeat’ with links to my recent piece on the Westminster attack. Which in turn referenced my piece on the Brussels attack. Which itself was a re-run of my piece on one of the Paris attacks. And so on and on it goes.
If there is nothing new to say it is because nobody has anything new to learn. On Wednesday of this week, two weeks to the day after Khalid Masood ploughed a car into the crowds on Westminster Bridge and stabbed PC Keith Palmer to death inside the gates of the Houses of Parliament, what was billed as a ‘Service of Hope’ took place in Westminster Abbey. One hopes that it consoled those injured and mourning. But the tone of the sermon by the Dean of Westminster suggested that the word ‘blind’ should perhaps have been put in before ‘hope’.
In the sermon at the inter-faith service the Very Reverend John Hall said that Khalid Masood’s attack had left the nation ‘bewildered’. He went on to ask:
‘What could possibly motivate a man to hire a car and take it from Birmingham to Brighton to London, and then drive it fast at people he had never met, couldn't possibly know, against whom he had no personal grudge, no reason to hate them and then run at the gates of the Palace of Westminster to cause another death? It seems likely that we shall never know.’
Indeed. ‘Bewildered and hopeful’ is as good an epitaph as anyone has come up with for this age. A fortnight ago it was London. This week it was Stockholm. Next week it will be somewhere else. I imagine there will be a little less giggling about Donald Trump this time, but other than that there will be no change from the now traditional procedures.
And so on and on it goes, with nothing new to learn. And all the time insisting on the need to seize ‘hope’ out of every bewildered moment.