A terrorist attack Thursday in Nice on the French Riviera has cost at least eighty lives with many more injured. The attacker, a Frenchman of Tunisian origin, drove a commercial truck over a mile along a sidewalk through crowds of people celebrating the Bastille Day holiday before being shot dead by the police. While no specific claim of responsibility has been made, several groups associated with ISIS have posted celebratory messages on their social media accounts. Grenades and other weapons were found in the vehicle, but apparently weren’t used in the attack.
This is the third major assault on French citizens in under two years, providing sad proof of just how wrong President Obama was when he claimed that “this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries. It doesn’t happen in other places with this kind of frequency.” His supporters have claimed that he was correct in the second part of that statement, but ISIS attacks in Europe and around the rest of the world even since the beginning of 2015 make it all too clear that we are at war with barbarians.
But more than the fact of how often terrorists have murdered innocents recently, we also need to note that once again, the claims of gun control advocates that firearms are the best tool for killing large numbers of people is hereby shown to be false. I’ve been told over and over in debates that no, a truck cannot be used in mass attacks. Of course, the 9/11 attack and the Oklahoma City bombing also demonstrated that killing large numbers at once is easily done with weapons other than guns.
And as the three attacks—two in Paris and now one in Nice—have shown, French gun laws have accomplished precisely nothing other than to assure the terrorists that their victims won’t be able to meet lethal force with lethal force. French self-defense law is similar to that of many American states, but that’s entirely theoretical when the attacker is armed and the good citizen is not.
Gun control advocates will call me paranoid, but the moral high ground of being someone who has no wish to harm others won’t save you. I wish we lived in a world in which random attacks on innocents did not happen. I could also add in a wish for a free unicorn for every child with equal probability. In reality, a nightclub, a magazine office, or a beach-side promenade are places where the injustice of a violent attack can happen.
Jeff Cooper had color codes to describe the levels of attention and action required to be ready. Others call this situational awareness. In any case, the concept here is that is you want to move beyond mere moral superiority to surviving the day, take out the ear buds, put away the cell phone, and pay attention to who and what are in your environment. If something is going wrong, work on getting you and yours out of the situation as expeditiously as possible.
And in the relative safety of social media and the voting booth, support laws that accept our right to carry and candidates who respect that right. This is no guarantee. Life rarely offers those. But I find that even supporters of disarming good people often go silent when I ask them if they’d rather be armed or unarmed in an attack. The more these attacks come, the more it is the duty of those of us who stand for rights to spread the word that good people need not be defenseless.
The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the position of Guns.com.