Attack in Paris meant for everyone

Published 7:10 pm Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Paris is one of the most beautiful cities I have ever visited. The art, the food, and the history are all world class. After several visits, I have even come to like the Parisians themselves, believing their reputation for being rude to Americans to be overstated.

Like most of the world, I woke up Saturday morning horrified to hear of the attacks in Paris last Friday night. Suicide bombers belonging to ISIL, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, took hostages and eventually killed 129 people. 80 more were critically injured with over 400 admitted to area hospitals.

None of the injured, maimed and killed were actually targets. They were all innocent bystanders, enjoying a concert, sporting match or dinner. Some just happened to be strolling by, in the wrong place at the wrong time.

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The target was all of us. The cowardly attacks were meant to instill terror in the people of France and indeed, the rest of the civilized world. The irony is there is absolutely nothing civilized about blowing yourself up in order to kill people you don’t know for things they didn’t do.

These attacks were the deadliest in France since World War II and resulted in the first curfew in Paris since that time. The French borders were temporarily closed as they tried to determine just who was responsible and bring them to justice.

ISIL has claimed responsibility for several attacks in the past few weeks, including the bomb planted on a Russian airliner headed home from Egypt. That attack killed all 229 on board. Once again, the people killed weren’t the targets so much as attempting to bring terror to all around the world.

Everyone has an opinion on what we should do in response to these senseless, brutal killings. The visceral reaction is to wipe ISIL off the face of the earth. That is easier said than done. On the other hand, ISIL is clearly not “contained” as President Obama stated just a week earlier.

There is not much I can do, personally to bring any solution to bear. I can encourage our leaders for a swift and meaningful response. I can encourage greater cooperation between our allies in our common fight against evil. I can support action by our leaders realizing there are no easy answers for them either.

As I lowered our flag to half-staff on Monday, as directed by the President, in support of our French allies and in honor of the victims, I felt great personal sympathy. I have been where those bombs went off. Those bombs could have gone off in almost any major city I have ever visited. Those attacks in Paris were meant for everyone. There but for the grace of God go I.