I saw the report of the Nice truck massacre on the news last night, and every time I went to the online news for the rest of the evening, the death toll kept mounting. Now, as the New York Times reports, it’s up to 84 dead and many more wounded—18 critically. This is the third major attack in France in the last year and a half, and the police are calling it a “terrorist” attack. I suspect it is, but we don’t know for sure.
Meanwhile, for the time being can we avoid the recriminations, the finger-pointing, the speculation, and the worries that this will initiate a wave of “Islamophobia”? The first thought should always be for the victims. For if we don’t perceive the depth of the sorrow, what good is our concern?
When things like this happen, I always think of some of the people in my life who have died. I have been devastated at those losses, which mostly involve friends and acquaintances. But, aside from my parents, I haven’t lost any close relatives or partners. All of those 84 people had loved ones, so multiply a single murdered individual by 84, and then by the average number of close friends, relatives, and partners of that person. That’s the toll of sorrow.
There will be time for discussion later. As nonbelievers, our “thoughts” for the victims and their relatives and friends mean very little, and our prayers are nonexistent. All we can do is think of ways to keep this from happening again, even though we know that it will—many times. And that certainty is awful.