We don't deserve to live in fear

Olly Murs and the words terror and scare are ones which I am sure have never before found their way into the same sentence. Until last Friday.

The singer, famed for the hit Troublemaker, was accused of stirring all kinds of bother when he sent Tweets following an incident in London during rush hour. Emergency services were called to Oxford Circus after reports of gunshots. Crowds of people were sent into panic and some of them, Murs included, did what comes naturally to folk these days and took to their smartphones.

The only trouble is that everybody’s favourite cheeky Essex boy has an army of nearly eight million followers on social media. This helped to amplify the drama and, within minutes, the news of the unfolding drama was being reported by ‘mainstream’ media with a tone of dread. As we know now, there weren’t any gunshots and it appears that it all began as a result of an altercation between two men.

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Murs was given a rough ride by many. But Murs was merely doing what 21st Century human beings do best – they share everything.

The fact is that Murs didn’t have a clue what was going on and, given that 2017 has been a grim year with 35 people dying in six terror-related incidents in the UK since March, who can blame him?

Back in October, the internet and the media was whipped into a frenzy when a car crashed into crowds outside the Natural History Museum. So-called experts took to social media to inform us that terror on the streets was happening all over again, only for the police to confirm the crash wasn’t terror related.

It has become convention to repeat the mantra “we won’t let the terrorists win” but it seems we are in danger of doing just that if the aforementioned recent events are anything to go by.

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It is important we don’t become a nation that descends into blind panic whenever a car backfires. Much of the responsibility rests on the shoulders of us in the media because the way we report such incidents influences large swathes of the population. But what is certain is that Brits don’t deserve to live their lives in fear.