This morning I took a bus into town and saw a bike shop with windows smashed and Richer Sounds boarded up. It was so close that last night me and hubbie literally sat in the front room fully dressed until 3.30 am in case we needed to get our family out of Croydon to safety.
The last time I was this terrified it was 1977 and the National Front were marching past our family home - the flat above my parents shop (yes it was on the corner - ha ha very funny). At that time I had no idea why they were marching or who they were, just that my parents had closed up the shop and were peering through the closed curtains. No one should ever see their family this frightened.
I relived that memory today as I felt sick, scared and disbelieving. I don't know what the appropriate response is to feeling afraid that your family might get hurt, but one person (who is abroad right now) kept referring to other people she'd spoken to being 'level-headed' about it. I guess being in another country and watching news footage doesn't automatically make us all experts in empathy.
This afternoon the police issued photos of people who broke into the large retail stores on Purley Way and other stores that have CCTV. The fact that they so blatantly disregarded any need for disguise shows either supreme arrogance or a belief that there will be no consequences for their actions. I sincerely hope they are wrong.