Reports are still coming in, but the world has been shocked by another deadly terrorist attack. This time it happened in Paris, where more than 100 people were killed in a coordinated series of shootings that targeted a sporting event, concert, and restaurant.
We’ll have to see what the investigation shows as to who planned the attacks — ISIS already is claiming responsibility — and what their motivation was, but the attacks show, once again, that the citizens of the western world must always be on guard. Those of us who have enjoyed a trip to Paris can easily imagine that we might have been at the restaurant, or the concert, where the masked men armed with machine guns started indiscriminately shooting innocent people. We think such horrors can’t happen again . . . and then they do. We shake our heads at what seems to be senseless violence, but to the perpetrators such attacks obviously are not senseless. They are carefully planned and designed to sow panic and give the terrorists the advantage.
At this point, with the identity of the assailants still not released and details sketchy, we don’t know the backgrounds of the shooters. If they do, in fact, turn out to be Islamic extremists affiliated with ISIS, that fact will only feed into the anti-immigrant backlash that seems to be building in Europe in the wake of the decision by the EU to have member states accept large numbers of Syrian refugees.
The repercussions of such a finding are likely to be felt in America, too, and probably will mean that immigration will remain a huge political issue and that security will once again become a focus of discussion. I think part of the mystifying, apparently enduring appeal of Donald Trump is that he talked about immigration when other candidates really weren’t — and although many people want to dismiss all of the voters concerned about immigration issues as racist xenophobes, I think that many are simply worried about the potential risks of an apparently porous southern border. If we can’t stop the flood of people crossing into the country, what’s to prevent ISIS or al Qaeda militants from joining the tide?
In the meantime, our hearts will ache for the people of France and the awful loss and horror they have experienced.