Video: Latest attack tests Londoners

By Correspondent
NBC News
updated 7/21/2005 7:31:40 PM ET 2005-07-21T23:31:40

Amazingly, many Londoners took these latest attacks in stride. Some may not have even known about them until they tried to catch a subway going home. Still, two terrorist strikes in two weeks is testing the famous British stoicism.

With London subways paralyzed by the lunchtime attacks, crowds of workers at evening rush hour scrambled to find a way home, determined to prove the point that London can take it.

“[I'm] a bit scared,” said one commuter, “But you have to try to keep going, haven't you?”     

Three million people a day use the London underground system, and just hours after this latest attack, much of the system was back on track — though clearly some riders were anxious.

Yet most Londoners seem either undaunted — an elderly woman riding the subway asked, “We've been through this before, haven't we?” — or defiant, with a younger female rider insisting, “If I get scared, I'm giving in to the terrorists.”

Even a man who was temporarily detained and frisked by police didn't seem to mind, saying, “You know, they [sic] doing their job.”

At least, that's how the people of London look, says sociologist Tony Travers. 

“Underneath that,” he says, “There will be wear and tear. People will feel more stressed than normal.”

At one bicycle shop, sales quadrupled the day of the first attack. One customer says, “I haven't caught a tube since the bomb.”

Some taxi companies say business has doubled over the last two weeks. That’s a mixed blessing says one cab driver.

“There's been more people on the street,” he says, “Which is good, but not good.”

And while there are concerns about future tour bookings, there's no mass exodus.

“I think knowing that family members are nervous for us at home makes it even worse,” says American tourist Leah Kilfoyle.

Most Londoners seem resolute, knowing exactly what the bombers are trying to do — and they're having none of it.

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