The worrying aspect of the British terror-rash is that it's obviously an amateur effort, inspired rather than organized by al Qaeda. This means we are likely to face more of these things, but that most of them are not going to be massively successful. They can still be deadly, of course, and we should be vigilant. But it seems to me we shouldn't grant them the capacity to terrify us. That's one happy consequence of 9/11. It's hard to top; and every time they fail, they look sadder. A reader points out another salutary observation:
You can't watch the response of UK police authorities in their public statements without being impressed with the careful balance they strike between exorting the public to vigilance and resistance to being stampeded into premature conclusions. And particularly their restraint in talking about those who were arrested. "Out of respect for proper process, we will avoid comment," they say. And indeed, that's exactly what responsible law enforcement in a democratic society should say. It couldn't contrast more sharply with the conduct of the Ashcroft and, still worse, Gonzales Justice Department which engages in hysterical rants, leveling charges that almost never pan out, and screaming "terrorists!" at the top of their lungs - on a manifestly partisan political message. Let's call it department of calm heads vs. department of headless chickens. In any event, our friends in Britain are providing a model on this.
Stay calm and carry on.