And death is now my neighbour

I find myself in a very strange mood this morning after the horrendous events that unfolded in Cardiff late yesterday afternoon during the Friday rush hour. I didn’t know anything about them at the time, and even several hours later the picture was extremely confused. Stories were flying around that many people had been killed by a man in a white van who had been driving around deliberately running over pedestrians in Ely, which is to the west of Cardiff city centre.

This morning a slightly clearer picture has emerged. One person was killed but fourteen were injured, some of them critically. Five children are among those injured, the youngest just 23 months old. The University Hospital at Cardiff has this morning appealed for emergency blood donations as supplies are running short.  Grim.

The driver of the white van has been taken into custody on suspicion of murder, but his motives remain (for now) a mystery. It seems he went berserk after an incident at or near the Asda supermarket in Leckwith and went on the rampage, deliberately trying to run over pedestrians (including women and children) until stopped.

Here is a map of the area:

If you look at the top right-hand corner of the map you can see the cricket ground at Sophia Gardens; my house is to the North-West of that, near the slight kink in the main road (Cathedral Road) that runs by the stadium.  The Cardiff City football ground can be seen near the caption marked “Sloper Road”. That’s about 20 minutes’ walk from where I live.

I was several miles away at the time, so was never in any danger, but even from a such a distance it’s very disturbing when familiar “safe” places become sites of violence and destruction. Most of the time life seems so secure, but things like this show how fragile it can be. I can’t even begin to imagine what people must be feeling who experienced those events first hand.

It’s been a lovely sunny morning this morning, but there’s a palpable sense of shock around the neighbourhood. I think it’s the incomprehensibility more than anything. Why would someone do such things? What on Earth was going through his mind? Perhaps the Police investigation will provide answers. In the meantime  all I can do is post my sincerest condolences to the loved ones of the person who was killed, and wish a speedy and complete recovery for all those injured or traumatised by what they saw.

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6 Responses to “And death is now my neighbour”

  1. Anton Garrett Says:

    Running short of blood when 12 people were injured? What happens if there is a major accident to a packed coach on the motorway, or train or plane?

    Awful incident.

    • telescoper Says:

      It surprised me too. I assume stocks must have been low anyway, but perhaps if there’s a bigger incident they would use more than one hospital.

  2. You’re right about the incomprehensibility. I can imagine myself into some extreme states of mind, but (luckily) most of us can’t even guess at this one.

  3. Bryn Jones Says:

    Yesterday’s events in Cardiff were very distressing. I also sympathise very much with everyone affected. Time will reveal what stimulated the actions, bizarre as they seem.

    Coincidentally, I lived near the kink in Cathedral Road when I was a PhD student, although my flat was a little down Cathedral Road in the direction of the city centre.

  4. It’s very hard to imagine a vehicle – a comfort zone – becoming a lethal weapon – but I’m often aware it is when I’m in an angry mood and behind the wheel (There is no such thing as security – Krishnamurti)

    • telescoper Says:

      I don’t drive, and I can assure you as a pedestrian I always view cars as lethal weapons – though this is mostly through the driver’s carelessness rather than malevolence.

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