Yes I’m fine. Don’t worry, I was not near the cafe. Although I live little more than a mile from it, it doesn’t seem like I’m close. It was strange walking out on to the street and seeing the Sydney CBD bustle carry on as it always does, knowing that just up the road a very serious situation was occurring.

It is now the day after, and aptly, the rain falls. It’s not unusual to experience rain in Sydney’s summer, but it usually occurs in a downpour after a whole day of baking heat; today it is that foreboding, miserable grey that I left England to get away from. The streets are emptier than usual, but those who are carry on as normal as they only can.

Ironically, today is worse than yesterday, which was a long day of waiting and listening. We were given so little information that it was frustrating. We were simply told not to head towards the cafe (mostly because you wouldn’t be able to see anything anyway), but otherwise to carry on as usual.

Being in Sydney was probably little different to observing the situation on the news, from abroad. We saw the same images of the shop as you from that impossible angle. We were in the dark, patiently worrying.

My friend, off work due to the evacuation, suggested we get a little closer. I refused, not out of fear of being caught up in the situation, but because I know what happens. I didn’t want to involve myself in that paranoid atmosphere and have my every movement monitored by on-the-edge cops. I’d already seen two officers inspect a bin across the street from my room. No, it is best to extricate oneself from any potential danger, state-caused or not.

The state really comes into its own in crises – an almost perfect opportunity to reaffirm the notion that it is our protector, saviour and national figurehead to provide objectivity and reassurance in times of need. Such was the rhetoric put forward by Prime Minister Tony Abbott, the New South Wales Premier, and Chief of Police in public addresses, with a dash of fear-mongering. “Don’t worry (but worry), we are under control (but be careful, these people threaten democracy), and will keep you safe (no promises)”. This recurring theme became grating enough to ignore the news for several hours.

The lack of information given out was concerning. We only know now exactly what the criminals (terrorists?) wanted, and the ins and outs of negotiation process today. We didn’t know that they were talking about bombs until this morning. I can’t imagine how this information could be anything other than useful. Yesterday, I presumed that the cops inspecting the bin were doing so out of precaution, but now I realise my pre-bed fears of being blown up in the middle of the night were not so irrational after all!

I slept with relief that nobody had yet been harmed. My heart sank as I picked up my phone this morning. Needless deaths.

I don’t know respond to this news on its own terms. But what can we do?

I don’t pretend to know of a perfect solution to terrorist and hostage situations, but the way the state handles them is far from acceptable. I can predict down to a tee what will happen: the Australian government will use the tragedy as an excuse for some legislation, that they’ve most likely been waiting to implement for years, that punishes the peaceful and innocent, curtailing their freedom. It will be ‘proof’ that Australia’s already expansive police state is not powerful enough, and that in the name of national security, some people’s liberty must be trimmed back.

I’m not psychic, I just pay attention. Australians have been psychologically prepared for a crisis by weekly reminders from their wise overlords that there is some esoteric threat to the country – that there are people that just don’t like them and will do anything to harm them. So now instead of viewing this incident in isolation as it should, as an attack on person and property, the entire nation will be embroiled in a mini Cold War against an unseen enemy.

So what we should do is ignore the state as best as possible. Do what is sensible to protect you, your family and your friends, and then get back to living. This time, let’s not get led.