"Customer information. Please do not leave bags or personal items unattended."
What are personal items, anyway? Family photos, underwear, feminine hygiene products?
But just wait right there. That's not customer information, that's just an implied passive-aggressive threat. You're claiming the right over the tannoy to do a controlled explosion on my man bag if I just nip into WH Smith for a bottle of coke and forget to take it with me. We've made criminals of the absent-minded, every bag assumed guilty until the fragments are proven innocent.
Do you remember the days when you didn't get a frisson of scare and then feel guilty about it when you saw a middle-eastern guy with a backpack? Back when a stray carrier bag was someone's forgotten shopping and not a reason to evacuate the building? Back when you could ride the London Underground without it being in the back of your mind that it could erupt into a fireball at any second?
I don't think it's necessarily any kind of latent racism, but we are guilty victims of our own carefully-crafted media narrative. We've shaped this terrorism ourselves - those tannoy messages, however kindly and supportive the intentions, have terrorised us all.
1 hour ago