London. London. I was born there; lived just below the Northern Line for the first five years of my life. I've always loved the city, despite it being noisy, dirty and crowded; to see it being ground to a halt, so mercilessly paralysed hits home far more than the 9/11 attacks did. There's no gallows humour at the moment, just sheer disbelief.
London's been the victim of terrorist attacks before. The IRA are notorious for their bombing campaigns, but I had never seen one hitting the capital. London was the target of the Luftwaffe's air raids throughout the Second World War, wreaking far greater destruction. But this feels so much more personal.
Oddly enough, if it weren't for Slashdot, I wouldn't have even known about it. Leaving for my driving lesson this morning, everything was fine; the first explosion wouldn't occur for another three quarters of an hour. Checking the BBC's website before I left, all attention was focused on London's successful bid for the 2012 Olympic Games. When I got home, an hour later, I didn't think to check again. Instead I went to Slashdot, reading some story or other before stumbling across an Anonymous Coward's posting: "An explosion has occured on the London Underground".
It's not unknown for anonymous users to troll by posting false news, be it by reporting a celebrity's death or by falsifying some other event which would cause a stir. Normally, I'd brush this off, but I still felt I ought to check. And there, sitting on the BBC's website, was that news.
It feels utterly unreal. I've been glued to the TV almost all day, something I never do. Just seeing the blasts and hearing of the casualties makes me want to just curl up and hide - of course you can't escape from this, but you really wish you could. Tomorrow the newspapers will speculate, and already a flock of organisations are claiming responsibility. I just wish they weren't.
I apologise if this feels stream-of-consciousness. I really just had to get this out. My heartfelt condolences go to anyone who was caught up in today's events, and gratitude to all the emergency services.