Houston's U.K. natives react to Parliament terror attack
HOUSTON (TX) - Hours after four were killed and dozens injured outside British Parliament on Wednesday, Guy Streatfeild gently sorted delicate charms on his store shelf. Surrounded by gifts and merchandise reflective of his homeland, the United Kingdom native said the best thing we can do in response to such terror is simple: carry on.
"The way we win is to continue as we always were," said Streatfield, who opened his Houston area shop British Isles twenty five years ago. "Otherwise, they win"
News broke Wednesday morning of a man driving a vehicle into a crowd on Westminster Bridge. The suspect is said to have then stabbed an officer in Parliament Square before being shot dead by police. Four people, including that officer, were reported deceased a of Wednesday night. At least forty were said to be injured.
"It takes a bit of time before the story unfolds. When the story first came out we weren't quite sure what happened. So you sort of wait and you hope it's going to be better. But, in this, instance it's been pretty bad," said Streatfeild.
While Streatfeild hadn't yet spoken with family back home when he talked to FOX26 Wednesday afternoon, he says they are always the first on his mind when such incidents occur.
As to why this attack seems to have resonated with Houstonians, Streatfield feels people, "always thinks of America and Britain in particular as being of one shared family, one shared tradition."
Over at the Richmond Arms Pub, afternoon soccer fans wondered why the pub's British flag was not up. They would have liked to see it at half mast.
Hedley Paris moved to Houston from the UK five years ago. He's glad social media allowed him the ability to quickly Facetime his family back in London after hearing of the attacks. Yet having lived through the 2005 U.K. bus bombings, Hedley warned against trusting everything you read online.
"You don't know necessarily where [posts and facts are] coming from. There's a lot of rhetoric that's out in the world these days," said Paris. "Right now there's a lot of talk in terms of ethnic groups, religions and things. I think it's important to not be too sensational about it but to wait till the facts come together"
From his personal experience in 2005, Paris gives this advice: "People who want to disrupt your life in a negative way, you can't let them win."
When asked about the London attacks at an event Wednesday evening, Houston's Police Chief Art Acevedo pointed out today that Houston is one of the most diverse and inclusive cities in America, but that there are, "a lot of misguided people in the world."
The Daughters of the British Empire sent the following statement to FOX26 in response to the Wednesday attack:
"On behalf of the Texas members of the Daughters of the British Empire, we extend our prayers and condolences for those who were killed and injured in today’s attack on Westminster Bridge and Parliament Square. We know that our family and friends in London and Britain will continue on in the vigilant manner they always have and not allow the fear of such events to colour our daily lives." --Patricia McDonald,Texas State President,Daughters of the British Empire
FOX26 receive an alert that 11 University of Houston students are currently in the United Kingdom, and at least one of them was believed to have been near the area where the attack occurred. Fortunately, all have been accounted for and are safe as of Wednesday evening.