The world woke up to one of those awful New Normal situations on Saturday. Here’s what we know.
- More than 120 people are dead as the result of a series of coordinated terrorist attacks in Paris that began just before 9 pm local time.
- There were three teams of attackers.
- Four gunmen wearing flak jackets armed with pump-action rifles and AK-47s walked into a venue called the Bataclan about 30 minutes into an Eagles of Death Metal gig. They opened fire on the crowd.
- While many of the 1,500 people at the show were able to escape, at least a hundred were held hostage. The gunmen then began shooting them one-by-one.
- When a SWAT team stormed the building, three of the gunmen detonated their suicide vests, killing more hostages. The fourth gunmen’s vest initially didn’t go off but when he was shot by police, it exploded as he fell.
- As of Saturday afternoon, the death toll inside the Bataclan was 89 with scores more injured.
- All members of Eagles of Death Metal escaped the carnage although it’s unclear if all members of their crew have been accounted for. UPDATE: Nick Alexander, a British citizen and a member of EoDM’s crew, has been identified among the dead.
- ISIS has taken credit for the attacks.
- Two of the attackers had registered as migrants in Greece.
- A Syrian passport was found on one of the gunmen at the soccer stadium where there were at least two explosions.
- A full summary of last night’s events can be found here.
This is the worst attack on a Western capital since 9/11 and the worst to hit Paris since WW II. Here are some things we’re all going to have to deal with:
- The attackers appeared to be very well-trained and highly disciplined. You don’t carry out something this sophisticated by just picking up a couple of guns and going for a stroll on a Friday night. If this is ISIS, they’ve just grown exponentially more dangerous. If it’s Al-Qaeda, they’re back. But if this is the work of a local cell of radicalized fanatics, that’s potentially even worse. A decentralized terrorist network is a nightmare.
- Expect more security everywhere throughout Europe and the United States. That includes concert security.
- The attacks have already further ignited political fires about the current European immigration crisis. Right-wing parties will have a field day with this and will no doubt make serious inroads with the general population.
- Islamaphobia will increase everywhere.
- ISIS will attract more recruits.
- Second Amendment proponents will use this as an excuse for arguing their position for more guns and ammo.
Meanwhile, consider this: the thugs behind the Paris attacks are exactly the people these millions of refugees are fleeing from. They’re now caught in the middle with no exit. What will become of them?