A milk crate, a shop­ping trol­ley and now a nar­whal tusk … or­di­nary peo­ple refuse to bow to fear

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - FRONT PAGE - CLAIRE HAR­VEY

NOT on our watch.

A makeshift anti-ter­ror squad of or­di­nary Lon­don men, armed with just a fire ex­tin­guisher and a nar­whal tusk, yesterday chased down a knife-wield­ing ji­hadi on a mur­der­ous ram­page.

They were driven by the fury of a com­mu­nity that has had enough.

The ter­ror­ist, Us­man Khan, 28, had al­ready killed two in­no­cent peo­ple and they knew he had to be stopped.

It fol­lows a string of cases of ‘have-a-go’ he­roes in Syd­ney and across the west­ern world who used ev­ery­day items, such as milk crates and trol­leys, to fight ter­ror.

Ex­perts say public at­ti­tudes have shifted and peo­ple in­creas­ingly feel “fight­ing back is the best op­tion”.

DON’T run away from ter­ror. Run to­wards it. Kick it in the head. Tell it to “f … off”.

That’s what a group of seven men did when a con­victed ter­ror­ist sprinted onto Lon­don Bridge with the fresh blood of civil­ians on his knives. The men were armed only with what they could grab: a fire ex­tin­guisher and an or­na­men­tal nar­whal tusk, seized from a wall dis­play and wielded like a spear.

“Run, hide, tell” is the of­fi­cial UK gov­ern­ment ad­vice in ter­ror events. In­stead, th­ese men gave chase, crash-tack­led, wres­tled, kicked, and brought to vivid life the new mood of or­di­nary civil­ians in west­ern na­tions who sim­ply refuse to let cow­ards turn our cities into slaugh­ter­houses.

This is the fourth at­tack in re­cent times when passers-by have helped foil ter­ror at­tacks through sheer self­less courage: the first Lon­don Bridge ter­ror at­tacks in 2017 when by­standers threw bot­tles, chairs and crates; the Mel­bourne home­less man who used a shop­ping trol­ley to con­front a ter­ror­ist and Syd­ney’s “milk crate hero” who helped dis­arm stab­ber Mert Ney in Au­gust.

On Lon­don Bridge yesterday at­tacker Us­man Khan shrieked: “Get off me!”

“We just told him to ‘f … off’,” said Thomas Gray, a 24-year-old tour guide who stopped his car and leapt out when he saw an armed of­fender on the run.

“(I’m) just a Lon­doner do­ing their bit. If peo­ple are go­ing to call me a hero I’m go­ing to blush like a school­girl,” Gray told a group of jour­nal­ists scrib­bling down his ev­ery word. “Any­one want to go to the pub?” he added.

The men chas­ing Khan in­cluded a plain­clothes trans­port cop, Gray’s fel­low tour guide Ste­vie Hurst and a chef at the nearby his­toric Fish­mon­gers’ Hall, who had ripped the tusk off the wall.

An­other of the men who took on Khan was James Ford, a con­victed mur­derer on day re­lease who had re­port­edly been at­tend­ing the same crim­i­nol­ogy con­fer­ence at the Fish­mon­gers’ Hall as the paroled ter­ror­ist.

Ford was sen­tenced to 15 years’ jail for stran­gling a dis­abled woman in cold blood. He’s no hero. But his ac­tions yesterday were un­doubt­edly brave: per­haps even in the dark­est souls there is a pow­er­ful in­stinct to fight back.

The of­fi­cial ad­vice of the US Depart­ment of Home­land Se­cu­rity is: “Run, hide, fight.” It bet­ter cap­tures the mood of 2019. We’ve had enough.

Pic­ture: Ketts News

Brave men car­ry­ing a huge tusk and a fire ex­tin­guisher fight the knifewield­ing ter­ror­ist on Lon­don Bridge.

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