Watchman Warning: Walls
By Hal Lindsey
Wednesday’s terror attack in London may seem small compared to others. But it could turn out to be one of the most significant terrorist events of recent years.
Last year’s attack on a gay nightclub in Orlando, for instance, killed 49 and injured another 53. The London attack had nowhere near that number. But it struck at what could be considered the heart of western civilization.
The Independent reports that British Prime Minister Theresa May was just forty yards away from the point where the terror suspect was shot down. They said, “Witnesses saw Ms. May being led to a silver Jaguar, as what sounded like gunfire could be heard.”
The final shooting took place just outside Parliament. Big Ben stands above the area. Westminster Abbey — historic home of British coronations, as well as royal weddings and funerals — is just feet away. Buckingham Palace is a quick walk from there. On the walk, you pass the headquarters of the Metropolitan Police, better known as Scotland Yard. At every turn, offices of government are a stone’s throw away. Number 10 Downing Street is two blocks to the north. This is the heart of London and one of the most strategic areas on earth.
When the attack occurred Wednesday afternoon, this prestigious and highly symbolic area changed permanently. No one knows the extent to which the changes will be visible, but new security cordons went up the moment this happened, and they aren’t coming down.
That means new walls between the public and their representatives in government. And it doesn’t stop in Britain. When a terrorist breaches the security of a major capital, the ripple effect reaches to capital cities everywhere.
If a country fails to build appropriate outer walls — by which I mean solid and comprehensive immigration controls — it will build inner walls instead. But inner walls are far more complex and harmful to democracies.
We keep hearing that it is better to build bridges than walls. It’s a lovely platitude. Connecting points are better than barriers. I think of Robert Frost’s poem, “Mending Wall.” Frost pictures himself arguing against walls. To which his neighbor responds with the ancient wisdom, “Good fences make good neighbors.”
Both sides make a legitimate point, but neither position can be taken as an absolute. The U.S. teacher goes to a protest march. She holds her sign that says, “Build bridges, not walls.” When the march is over she goes home — sometimes to a gated community, or a building that requires a code to get in. She lives in a home with walls, doors, and locks. She uses, “Build bridges, not walls,” as a mantra. She says it as though it can’t be argued with — as though it were true at all times and in all circumstances. She forgets her home, car, computer, phone, bank accounts, mail, and other parts of her life where she wants privacy or needs security. There’s no such thing as a world without borders.
The latest terror event in London also serves as a reminder that murder does not originate inside guns. It rises out of dark hearts. Those intent on creating mayhem will find or make weapons. Kitchens will always be a source of knives. A truck can mow down a crowd with the same terrible efficiency as an automatic weapon. Even if government could remove all guns, we would still need the basic tools of human existence, including knives and vehicles.
Before his attack with a car and a knife, British officials investigated the London terrorist. They dismissed him as a “peripheral figure.” That’s the problem. There are millions of similar “peripheral figures” lurking in the shadows of Islam all over the world. ISIS and other radical groups inspire them to violence. Because they are “peripheral,” they can come from any direction and without warning.
The war with terror is ongoing for the people of democracies from Jerusalem to Paris to London to New York to Los Angeles. I fully expect it to continue until Christ returns.
We live in troubled times. But those who have experienced rebirth in Christ can live in the assurance of God’s continued care. When we see or experience terrible things, we should remind ourselves of the future promised in God. He has a new world on the way — full of love, joy, and peace. Even though things will get worse before they get better, we’re oh-so-close now to the most amazing days in the history of the universe.
Remember the most famous of all the Psalms.
“Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” — Psalms 23:5-6