Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Austin, and Belfast

I was going to write about the Austin bombings today, but the bastard blew himself up last night.

24. White. Home-schooled. The only thing missing is "white nationalist". Well, it's early.

We are incredibly sensitive to bombings in this country, because they happen so seldom. School shooting? That's Wednesday.

In other countries, when there are school shootings, laws are passed and people turn in weapons. Not here.

That's not what I want to talk about today, though, so let's move on. Let's talk about Bloody Friday.

I don't remember when I became interested in Belfast, and what happened there in 1972. Oh, I do remember--it was when I went to London on business in the late 1990s and couldn't find a single trash bin at the train station. It was kindly explained to me that there were no bins because that's where bombers put their bombs.

Sobering, to say the least.

So I started reading, working my way backwards, and eventually I got to Belfast in 1972.

In one year, over 1,300 bombs were detonated in Belfast. Car bombs, usually, as that was the preferred method used by the IRA. ANFO (ammonium nitrate-fuel oil) bombs, to be more specific.


When I say "car bomb", it gives no reference to explosive power, so let me narrow that down for you. A car bomb in Belfast in 1972 was usually powerful enough to hurl cars at least fifty feet high.

That takes two words and gives them dimension, doesn't it?

The urban population of Belfast in 1972 was about 400,000. The Austin urban population is about 2,000,000 (and it's much more spread out). So over three car bombs a day were going off in a physical area 1/10 the size (maybe even smaller).

Three a day!

I don't know many people who can even conceive of that. I can't.

Oh, and to clarify: please understand that none of this was written to minimize what happened in Austin. It was more that what happened in Austin vibrated a string, and the Belfast string vibrated as a result.

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