The world is suddenly a scary place to live. There seems to be no corner of the civilized world that isn’t in the sightline of potential terrorist attacks from those who hate us for who we are — and the values we stand for.
After the deadly attack in Nice, a sense of hypervigilance and dread is increasingly taking hold of Americans — along with calls for action.
"[President Obama] is dangerously clueless. Where is his backbone? This is why Trump may win the election — whether you like him or not, people at least feel he will do something."
On Thursday evening, Nice, France, was in a celebratory mood. The seaside community was buzzing with tourists and residents who had just enjoyed fireworks together at the famous beachfront Promenade des Anglais to celebrate Bastille Day. Children rode on their fathers' shoulders, baby carriages were pushed by smiling parents, and tourists delighted in strolling a charming French Riviera city at night.
Then all hell broke loose.
Maryam Violet, an Iranian journalist visiting the Mediterranean city on holiday, told Britain's The Guardian that she saw a truck running over people as they walked in the pedestrian area just minutes after the fireworks ended.
At least 84 people were killed and many wounded when a terrorist drove a large box truck filled with arms and explosives directly into the dispersing crowd, multiple sources reported. Parents ran, clutching their children, while others crouched and hid, stunned. Many of the dead were children, Britain's Sky News reported early Friday morning.
Among those killed were two Americans, according to WFTV. It named them as Sean Copeland and his 11-year-old son, Brodie Copeland. The elder Copeland, 52, was from Austin, Texas, The Huffington Post reported, though the two have not been named by authorities.
"People were shouting, 'It's a terrorist attack, it's a terrorist attack,'" said Violet. "It was clear the driver was doing it deliberately. I was walking for nearly a mile and there were dead bodies all over the place. I think over 30 dead bodies were on the ground and lots of people injured. The dead bodies have been covered by blue sheets."
"I saw two sisters and one brother from Poland that were mourning the death of their two other siblings," she said.
Wassim Bouhlel, a Nice native, told The Associated Press he saw the truck drive into the crowd and then witnessed a man emerge with a gun and start shooting. "There was carnage on the road," Bouhlel said. "Bodies everywhere."
Travis Kingston, a 31-year-old businessman from Boston, Massachusetts, told LifeZette he felt shaken watching coverage of the attack on television.
"I just feel like it's happening again, and another attack seems very likely," he said. "What are we doing with all our intelligence? When will we have a declaration of war? I even thought about where I and my loved ones could move if we had to. It's a 100 percent serious thought. Look at history, war is not inevitable — and it's not a curse word, either. It's a solution."
"It is happening, it's crazy, and we can't continue to have this," said Gen. Michael Flynn in frustration during an appearance on Fox News. "They [the terrorists] are vicious, barbaric, and they are on the march."
One Malden, Massachusetts, mother of three said she had a hollow feeling when she heard the body count, and immediately went to check on her kids who were playing in the next room. "Maybe a declaration of war would be a relief," she said. "Now, I just feel vulnerable. We're not fighting back, and our president can't even call it what it is. He is dangerously clueless. Where is his backbone? This is why Trump may win the election — whether you like him or not, people at least feel he will do something."
Trump himself tweeted of the attack, "Another horrific attack, this time in Nice, France. Many dead and injured. When will we learn? It is only getting worse."
Our helplessness in the face of random terror attacks is felt by both the common man and by those who study potential solutions to terror. "There is no front line. The front line is when you leave your house in the morning," Dr. Sebastian Gorka, a terrorism and warfare expert, told Sean Hannity of Fox News.
Under the hastag #PrayforNice, the Twittersphere was angered, saddened, nervous, and defiant. @Fashionista tweeted, "There's a time to pray and a time to fight. Now is not the time to #prayfornice."
The French ambassador to the U.S., Gérard Araud, tweeted: "Our democracies are besieged. Let's stick more than ever to our values. Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité. Vive la France, vive les Etats-Unis."
On Facebook, "Nice, France bastille day" was soon trending, and posters expressed worry as a live feed of the attack rolled.
One commenter posted, "I have family living there and I hope they are okay" — while another wondered, "First it was an airliner, now a truck. What is next?"
Another commented, "I wake up every morning wondering what's next. God have mercy on us."
A commenter with the handle Southern Cross posted to the American Renaissance website, "I was just going to say that France needs a Napoleon, Britain needs a Churchill, and the United States needs a Washington. But for now, a Trump will do."
Last Modified: July 15, 2016, 11:57 am