Speed Reads

London Bridge attack

After bridge attack, Londoners update 'Keep Calm and Carry On' with a pint of ale, splash of gin

At least three terrorists with a delivery van, knives, and machetes killed at least seven people in London on Saturday night, England's second terrorist attack in two weeks. U.S. cable news networks and newspapers characterized the city as "reeling." Londoners — whose city has endured in recent decades carpet bombing from Nazi warplanes and street-level bombings from militant Irish Republicans — did not seem to embrace that characterization. The 2017 version of "Keep Calm and Carry On" has a notably spirituous edge to it.

Brian Klass, a fellow at the London School of Economics, points to this Sunday morning interview with Richard Angell, who returned to the Borough Market bar he'd been at during the attack, to pay his bill and leave a tip from the night before. "If me having a gin and tonic with my friends, flirting with handsome men, hanging out with brilliant women is what offends these people so much, I'm going to do it more — not less," Angell told the BBC. "That's what makes London so great."

Police responded immediately, killing all three attackers eight minutes after the first call came in. There will likely be political fallout from the attack, and along with the seven people murdered, dozens are still in the hospital, some with very serious injuries. Still, the moment that many people are pointing to as the iconic image of Saturday night's terrorist attack is the man fleeing — if you can call it that — the area of the attack with a pint of ale in one hand and a cigarette in the other.

The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attack, as ISIS often does. "Three hate-filled murdering terrorists" shouldn't be given any more power, Guardian columnist Owen Jones wrote Sunday. "Today, London carries on. It is quiet by London standards because it's a Sunday. There are people in the parks. Some have gone for a swim. Others have taken their kids out. Others are in the pub, drinking: I can see them from my windows. Others are watching box sets at home. Their lives are continuing. They are not scared, and they are not cowed, and they are not allowing fanatics to win by ruining their lives."