Today We Are All Parisians. But Some Of Us Are Complete Idiots.
The spire of One World Trade Center was lit in the French flag's colors Friday
It's the day after another horrible massacre, and we've now entered the "We know most of the basics" phase, while for many, the "let's make political hay out of this" phase got rolling within the first hour. The "shock, horror, and despair for basic humanity" phase will last at least until the next distraction.
What We Know For Sure
- Terrorists hit multiple targets in Paris, killing 127 and injuring approximately 300; 80 victims are reportedly in critical condition. French President François Hollande blamed ISIS for the attacks in a speech Saturday.
“It is an act of war that was committed by a terrorist army, a jihadist army, Daesh, against France,” Mr. Hollande told the nation from the Élysée Palace, using an Arabic acronym for the Islamic State. “It is an act of war that was prepared, organized and planned from abroad, with complicity from the inside, which the investigation will help establish.”
It's not yet clear what intelligence led Hollande to blame the attacks on ISIS.
- The attacks were carried out by eight attackers, all of whom are dead; seven detonated suicide belts or vests, and one was shot by police.
- At least two explosions were set off outside the Stade de France, where a soccer game between France and Germany was being played. The French Football Federation says three people died in the bombings. Because of poor cell-phone reception, many at the game, which was played to its conclusion, didn't know that a terrorist attack had occurred until the end of the game. As they exited the stadium, many in the crowd sang "La Marseillaise":
- The worst attack was at the Bataclan concert hall, where at least 80 people were killed during a concert by the American band Eagles of Death Metal (which is actually a blues-rock band with an ironic jokey name). All the members of the band are reportedly safe. One witness said that one of the gunmen shouted, in French, “What you are doing in Syria, you are going to pay for it now.” The terrorists also killed 32 people at two restaurants, and six more at other nearby locations.
- This was the first known use of suicide bombings in France; and the worst terrorist attack in Europe since the 2004 Madrid train bombings, in which 191 people were killed.
What We Don't Know
Let's start here with this handy News Consumer's guide from NPR's On The Media, which even the morning after is worth keeping in mind. It was written in response to the 2013 Washington Navy Yard mass shootings, so in this case we can ignore #4, or at least modify it to "be skeptical of initial unconfirmed reports of additional attacks." So what don't we know?
- The identity of the killers, whether they were French citizens, or if they were foreign terrorists, and when and how they came to France. Considering the amount of time involved in planning a complex, coordinated attack, you may want to be skeptical of claims that any of the terrorists were recent refugees, but we don't know for certain.
- Whether they have accomplices who haven't yet been identified. Belgian authorities say they have made arrests of several suspects believed to have been involved in assisting the attackers. See above caution about early reports.
- What group they were affiliated with -- President Hollande is saying it's ISIS, and ISIS has claimed responsibility, but it's worth noting that ISIS claims responsibility for everything.
- The final casualty count.
Who's Being The Worst About This?
Let's say U.S. Rep Jeff Duncan from South Carolina, who tweeted this Friday night:
We'll leave the rebuttal to sane English person Dan Holloway:
Mother Jones collected some of the worst of the twittersphere, too. How can this tragedy help us advance an agenda utterly unrelated to the tragedy?
That last one, from deadbeat dad Joe Walsh, is a nice reminder of the warning about early reports: No, Mr. Walsh, there weren't any terrorists arrested. They were all dead.
There are more of course. Dinesh D'Souza decided to go for "humor":
Best reply, From Buzzfeed's Andrew Kaczynski: "Are hot takes a condition of your parole Dinesh?"
And our new favorite One-L'd wingnut Michele, Nevada Assemblywoman Michele Fiore, posted this, probably while being outraged that Barack Obama might politicize the tragedy:
What Are The Presidential Candidates Saying?
- Jeb Bush: From The Hill:
"This is an organized effort to destroy western civilization, and we need to lead in this regard," the Republican presidential candidate said on Hugh Hewitt's radio program.
Bush argued that the U.S. should fortify its alliances with European allies on intelligence and counterintelligence capabilities to defeat the "Islamic terrorists."
He also called for the U.S. to further engage in the Middle East to defeat the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which he suggested could be a ”wellspring" for such an attack.
"This is the war of our time," Bush said. "And we have to be serious in engaging and creating a strategy to confront it and take it out."
Oh boy! Jeb might get to lead a war, just like his dad and his brother!
- Ted Cruz managed to play the "No refugees" and the "Obama isn't blaming Islam" enough cards in his prepared statement:
- Ben Carson explained that the Paris attacks prove we should close our doors to Syrian refugees, saying "To bring them here when we have tens of millions of people who are suffering economically doesn’t make any economic sense." Because economics always trump humanitarian concerns, duh. Asked how he would combat terrorism, Carson apparently thought he could poison ISIS to death with some tainted word salad
"I would be working with our allies, using every resource known to man: in terms of economic resources, in terms of covert resources… military resources… things-that-they-don’t-know-about resources… not to contain them, but to eliminate them, before they eliminate us," Carson told reporters at the Sunshine Summit, a gathering of Republican leaders.
Ah, yes, the famous "things-that-they-don’t-know-about resources": Always our most powerful weapon.
- Donald Trump: Let's start with what Trump didn't say. Apparently someone retweeted the incredibly stupid thing Trump tweeted following January's Charlie Hebdo attack, to which the French ambassador to the U.S. replied:
So, yes, correction: Trump was a vulture, but that was in January. Friday night, Trump somehow managed to stick to diplomatic and sympathetic, possibly because a campaign advisor threatened to tase him if he didn't.
By Saturday morning, he was back to Obama-blaming mode:
- Carly Fiorina: Another solidarity and resolve message, with emphasis on the "let's destroy them" part:
- Hillary Clinton went for resolve and sympathy:
- Bernie Sanders: All sympathy, no call for war:
Yr Wonkette will undoubtedly be bringing you more horribleness in the days to come; we're also preparing a roundup of some of the kinder reactions to the Paris tragedy, because there are few better things we can do than to remember Fred Rogers' advice following any tragedy: "Look for the helpers."
Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.