For me the murders marked the real start of the escalation and were closely followed in 71/72 by Internment, Bloody Sunday, Direct Rule, Aldershot bombing and Motorman.Later that year, we used to regularly patrol past the point where the bodies were found outside Ligoniel. Some unknown person was placing flowers there for a long time afterwards. I went back a couple of years later and it was still happening. Most of the local Catholic population, particularly the older people, were horrified by the act.
As has been said, the lads were not so conscious of this type of threat, so one cannot be be over-critical. The first time is always understandable. However, it staggered me on a later tour in 1972 to find that some idiots based at a RUC station which adjoined the Markets area were opening a rear door to let in some slags for shagging purposes. They say a rampant prick has no conscience; apparently it has no sense of survival either.
Bimbled past the murder site a few times in late 72 and there were usually flowers there. Always thought that it was a miserable and bleak place.