In previous eruptions of violence in Northern Ireland, republican attacks were almost automatically followed by lethal retaliation by loyalist groups whose speciality lay in "tit-for-tat" killings of Catholics.
Now thousands of people across Northern Ireland, and particularly in Co Armagh, are hoping this so-called peacetime means revenge attacks will not be launched, and the violence will not escalate. The illegal loyalist organisations have been unusually quiet in recent months but remain armed and have in the past re-emerged after periods of inactivity.
Very often they go on the warpath with shootings which, they claim, are in retaliation for republican violence.
Security forces are thus on their guard both against the risk of republican and extreme Protestant activity.