The mother of one of the victims of the Manchester bombing remembered her son in a moving opinion piece. The woman also called for increased public safety measures, starting a petition with her husband.
Figen Murray is the mother of the late Martyn Hett, a gay man who lost his life during an Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena on 22 May 2017.
‘Sitting in a restaurant with friends on New Year’s Eve, my phone lit up with a newsflash about the stabbing of three people at Victoria Station in Manchester,’ she wrote in the op-ed for The Huffington Post.
‘I have become more vigilant about my surroundings’
That episode brought up dark memories for Murray.
Her son Martyn was among the victims of a suicide bomber. The attacker killed 22 people, including an eight-year-old girl, and injured 59.
‘The rest of the meal became an exercise in, by now, very well-rehearsed composure, yet everything inside me was in a state of full alert. I was acutely aware the incident happened just 200 meters or so from where my son, Martyn, and 21 others lost their lives 19 months ago in the Manchester Arena terror attack.’
Murray reflected on the many incidents investigated as terror attacks in the UK in recent years.
‘As news stories unfold about yet another major incident, another stabbing, another shooting and other horrendous events, I can’t help but think that as a society we could do something about all of this, or at least be doing more.’
‘Martyn’s death has made me so much more aware about safety and I have become more vigilant about my surroundings. This is of course partly due to the fact that I suffered PTSD-like symptoms as a result of my horrendous bereavement. Put simply, Martyn’s death put safety on my agenda when I go out and about, which just wasn’t there before.’
A petition to ensure public safety
The woman also started a petition to increase public safety measures, Martyn’s Law.
‘My husband and I had recently attended a concert in one of the theatres in Greater Manchester. I foolishly made the assumption that all major venues now have proper security checks in place since the Manchester Arena attack.’
She said they walked into the building and nobody checked their tickets.
‘Needless to say I felt on edge during the entire performance.’
‘My petition calls for metal detectors and bag searches to be obligatory for big public venues.’
She also explained her safety wasn’t a concern before the attack.
‘So many of us – me included, before Martyn died – attend concerts, go to the theatre, visit comedy shows and museums without giving our safety a second thought.’
‘Martyn, and the 21 other unfortunate people who died at the Manchester Arena, no doubt felt the same. They went to have a good time and safety was not even on their radar. They sadly paid with their lives.’