A week after the terrorist slaughter of 130 mostly French civilians and the wounding of another 350 in Paris, the French are still reeling and making pilgrimages to the sites of the shootings and bombings.
It would be uncivilized to deny the French their time of mourning or to pass judgment on what may or may not constitute responsibility for the murderous rampage that hasn't been seen in that magnitude since World War II. But at some point there has to be an analysis of the killings, how they occurred and why they occurred.
And I don't mean from the standpoint of the liberal whine "What did we do to them? Why don't they like us?"
One of the most shocking revelations concerning the orgy of slaughter in Paris was that it was carried out by only 8 Islamic terrorists, and most of the killing was done by psychopaths carrying AK-47 semi-automatic rifles. Also, according to eyewitness accounts from survivors of the horror inside the Bataclan concert venue, each of the gunmen had to stop shooting on occasion to reload.
Survivors and news reports are thus far silent on whether any of the approximately 1,500 patrons inside the Bataclan made an effort to rush the terrorists, who were calmly and precisely shooting their targets. Only when police forces finally charged the hall, where hundreds were still being held as hostages or playing dead while bleeding from their wounds, did the attackers die, one by blowing himself to bits.
Francophiles, those who devote their lives to all things French and have a reputation for disdaining anyone who does not believe that the US lags far behind Europe in cultural matters, have long bashed Americans for our "cowboy" mentality. But I can't conceive of an attack on a concert hall anywhere in the United States, packed with people rocking to the sounds of a heavy metal band of all genres, where the patrons would simply stampede for the exits or hide until the police arrived.
Even without weapons there would be a rush to tackle the shooters, similar to what occurred on Flight 93 on September 11, 2001, or on a high-speed train from Amsterdam to Paris last August when three American passengers took out a terrorist armed with a Kalashnikov, a pistol and a box cutter. Many, if not most, Americans have an ingrained sense of responsibility to do something in the face of certain death, even if that something means to die with honor while thwarting their attackers.
I realize that there are soft targets in the US where a terrorist attack would be more likely to succeed; cities such as New Orleans, Washington, D.C., New York or Chicago for instance. Those cities have extraordinarily tough gun control laws which have effectively disarmed the citizenry leading to out-of-control murder rates. They are sitting ducks for terrorist attacks.
But even in those cities it would not likely end well for terrorists to attack a concert by an emerging rap star for instance, if hordes of Chicago gang-bangers had decided their night out would include a few hours of live music.
Without question there are many people in France who love the United States and strongly believe in our centuries old alliance. But many also believe that most of us are of the Ugly American variety, and don't know the difference between a brasserie and a brassiere.
The point here is not to be snarky or to gloat, but simply to note that there are many philosophies in the world and sometimes it takes a blend to get things right. Take for instance the news report late last week where a French father was talking to his young son in front of a makeshift memorial piled high with floral arrangements.
The boy said, "The bad men have guns."
"But we have flowers," the dad responded.
Beautiful sentiment. Just the kind of peace-at-all-costs sentiment that will get both of them murdered by unrepentant Islamic extremists who see killing "infidels" as a holy calling. Unless the next group of victims is trained to defend itself.
There are ways to blend our national philosophies to the good of all. Perhaps if the Francophiles get down off their high horses, so to speak, and look at the good in America for a change, they can see how it can be applied to the betterment of the average Frenchman.
Perhaps the French educational system can add some foreign flavor to its philosophy curriculum in the future. Let the boys study philosophers such as Jean-Paul Sartre to understand existentialism, but throw in a little Wyatt Earp, Wild Bill Hickok and Billy the Kid for realism.
And if the typical French family includes a jeune fille who is enthralled with the lifestyle of Simone de Beauvoir, even the stories of her occasional ménage a trois, why not throw in a little Belle Starr and Annie Oakley for balance. At least they could shoot, n'est-ce pas?