Steve Bourne was in the lobby of the Westgate when he got a message from his daughter Gemma saying she was all right.
“She was very, very close,” he said.
Bourne immediately went online to see reports of the attack.
“You suddenly feel that as a parent, ‘Why aren’t I there?’ ” said Bourne, who is in Las Vegas with his son Simon for the World Series of Beer Pong tournament.
On Saturday night, a white van slammed into screaming pedestrians on London Bridge. The attack was followed by stabbings in bars around Borough Market. Six people died and more than 40 were injured in the attacks, while police shot dead three suspects. It was the third attack to hit Britain in three months.
Las Vegan Michael Johnson, who was drinking a pint at the pub, said he has a 25-year-old son living in London.
“Right away he texted me that he was OK,” he said. “It’s always nerve-racking when you have somebody in an environment where terrorists attack. My wife wants him to come home, but I know he needs to live his life.”
Since the attacks, Johnson said he has constant conversations with his son about being extra vigilant and watching his surroundings for people with backpacks and items left on buses.
Keeping calm and carrying on
The terrorist acts won’t stop Brits from living their lives as normally as possible, said June LeMay, general manager of the Crown & Anchor British Pub.
“Brits will continue to carry on,” LeMay said Sunday afternoon at the popular East Tropicana Avenue pub. “They might be aware of their surroundings, but they’ll just carry on and keep on drinking.”
“Terrible things have happened over the last few weeks, but the Brits are a resilient bunch of people,” added Lee Bennett, executive chef at Monte Carlo hotel-casino. “I guarantee you that even today the bars and restaurants will be full again. It’s so amazing to see how people from all backgrounds and diversities come together in such tragic circumstances.”
British native Amanda Thomas has been living in the U.S. for 25 years. While she agrees with Bennett’s sentiments, Thomas said she feels that it can lead to a certain naivete.
“I like that the Brits are resilient and give people the benefit of the doubt, but from an American perspective it can seem naïve,” she said. “I think British as a whole think back to the Second World War and think we can withstand anything. They still keep calm and carry on. It seems that because the UK are such an accepting country there is a fear if being considered racist.”
Others point a finger at British Prime Minister Theresa May. Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn accused the prime minister on Sunday night of trying to “protect the public on the cheap” by implementing 20,000 police cuts.
“We have an election coming up, and this just highlights the fact that we need more police officers on the street,” said Brian Jopson, who is visiting Las Vegas with his Londoner stepson, Anthony Lunn. “I live in the countryside and this is probably never going to affect me, but as a businessman I try to avoid the Manchester area whenever possible.”
Upon hearing the news Saturday night, Lunn said he immediately went on Facebook to check on the safety of his friends.
“Of course I was very concerned about what happened, but that’s not going to stop me nor my friends from getting on with our daily life,” he said.
History of resilience
Former Londoner Helen Edwards who now lives in Las Vegas echoed Lunn’s words.
“Attacks like these on our freedom, our way of life, will only ever cause the opposite of the desired effect,” she said in an email.
Brits have a remarkable ability to stand together to overcome adversity, Edwards said.
“The attackers need to remember that us Brits survived and overcame horrendous bombing during WWII and the years of the IRA (Irish Republican Army),” she said. “It did not stop our freedom, our way of life, if anything it encouraged it and made it stronger.”