I like Borough Market. I’ve eaten there. Friends and ex-colleagues of mine work by London Bridge. One was about to finish a nine-hour shift when the mayhem began below – and he ended up locked in the office overnight.
Had he clocked off a few minutes earlier he might have been home 10 hours sooner – or never have got home at all.
Among those left in intensive care was a close colleague of an old pal of mine. He was going to the aid of another victim when his throat was slashed. It’s hard to imagine how one human being could do that to another.
So much easier to drop a bomb from a safe height or fire a long-range missile and never have to see your victims.
Easier still, perhaps, to order the missile launch or despatch the flight crew on their mission.
Or sell the guns and planes that make your living and someone else’s death.
London was strangely subdued on Sunday when I went in to work. The tube was less crowded than usual, the shopping streets less busy. The whole city was as if in a church-like hush. Carrying on, yes – more calmly than normal. Every one of us, no doubt, thinking “it could have been me”.
When terror comes close, it’s the randomness as much as the proximity that is profoundly shocking.
It’s impossible not to feel deep sympathy for the victims and their families, a shudder of horror on their behalf.
These random victims were people just like you and me. The lives ended or gruesomely damaged were lives much like ours.
Which must be why they were so much more important than the 88 lives ended in a suicide attack on a shrine in Pakistan in February.
Or the 105 civilian lives ended by a US air strike on Mosul in March.
Or those of the thousands of Yemeni children killed, maimed, blinded or orphaned by the Saudi crews of British-built planes, firing British-made missiles.
Their lives don’t really matter at all. They can’t do, because we never learn their names. We hear little or nothing of their lives, their hopes, their achievements. They don’t live in places we know, go to bars or restaurants or concerts like those we go to, don’t daily journeys we can easily imagine.
The destruction of their homes, their cities, doesn’t evoke the same horror as a killing spree in familiar streets. Because we knew nothing of their cities when life in them was normal.
Be honest: had you heard of Mosul, or Homs, before they became war zones? Can you picture an undamaged, bustling Aleppo? Can you think what it was like to have a life or a job or a drink there?
We can’t because even our TV crews never went to those places until they were well on the way to destruction.
There are places we see, even in our minds’ eyes, only in a condition you couldn’t imagine living in. Even if British, French – and especially American – forces and equipment helped make them that way.
And if you can’t imagine living there, you can’t easily put yourself in the shoes of the people who do.
The death of hundreds in a city hit so often by bombs that it’s ceased to be news is much less disturbing than the slaying of seven right outside the offices of our national press.
The lives of all those slaughtered in London, and in Manchester, matter. They matter deeply. As do the lives of every victim of bloody murder. Whether they’re killed by knives or bombs, delivered by rucksack or Tornado jet.
If you’re horrified by one – as you must be – you should be equally appalled by the other.