Anger in France After Terrorist Slaughters More Than 80
Thursday night, a man named Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel proved that terrorists don’t need guns, bombs, or machetes to carry out their evil plots. With nothing more than his own delivery truck, Bouhlel managed to kill at least 84 revelers at a Bastille Day celebration in Nice, France. Little was known Friday about the suspect or his, ahem, motivations, but French President Francois Hollande said there was no denying the “terrorist character” of the mayhem.
“The horror has once again hit France,” said Hollande. “France has been struck on the day of her national holiday. Human rights are denied by fanatics, and France is clearly their target.”
In his remarks, Hollande referenced the recent tragedies at Charlie Hebdo and the Bataclan concert hall – attacks which make the bloody massacre in Nice the third major terrorist attack in 19 months.
And he’s not the only one who sees a disturbing pattern.
After the two previous attacks, French citizens and politicians concentrated their efforts on unity and resolve. But in the hours after the Nice attacks, demonstrations of love and strength are taking a backseat to pointed criticisms of the government.
“If all the means had been taken, this tragedy would not have occurred,” said Alain Juppe, a center-right presidential candidate.
Lawmaker Georges Fenech said the time had come for blunt honesty. “I don’t want to hear about national unity,” Fenech said. “Today, it is a duty to talk to the French people – to tell them that our country is not equipped against Islamist terrorism.”
And regional president Christian Estrosi said, “Questions are raised. As I try to comfort the families, I also try to contain my anger; I can’t hide to you that I feel a deep anger. How is it possible in our country that after everyone said there would be a state of emergency, a state of war, we forget it?”
Clearly, amnesia is a problem on both sides of the Atlantic.
While France has been hit harder by Islamic jihad than any other Western state in recent years, we in the U.S. have our own struggle with long-term memory. Boston, San Bernardino, and Orlando have already begun to fade into history. Some of our problems with ISIS and their ilk could be solved by electing Donald Trump, but not this one. We’re simply getting “used to” these sickening attacks. We’re shocked and outraged for a few days…and then we move on. There’s no fix for that. It’s basic human nature. And frighteningly, our ability to quickly get over these attacks is only going to be strengthened as they grow more frequent. One can imagine a future where terrorist attacks barely dominate a single news cycle; in fact, that future is inevitable if we stay on the path we’re on now.
Only two things can change that future. One, we wait until Islamists pull off an attack so spectacular that not even Democrats can keep America’s wrath at bay. Two, we could pretend that attack has already happened and do now what we would do then.
Let’s choose the latter, save lives, and get serious about the war on Islamic terrorism. The alternative is too grim to consider.