In one of the worst terror attacks France has witnessed recently, a lorry ploughed through packed crowds in Nice, Southern France, leaving 80 dead bodies in its wake and another 100 critically injured. Thousands of men, women and children had gathered at the French Riviera to watch the Bastille Day fireworks, a national holiday to celebrate the memory of the French revolution and the birth of democracy. What began as a scene of joy and festivity soon ended as one of horror, death and chaos.

Although the police are still trying to investigate the attacker’s motive of this atrocity, he has been identified as Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, a 31-year-old Franco-Tunisian man living in Nice, known to the police for his violent behaviour in the past but not linked to jihadist groups. He has been described as a “loner” and “depressed” after his wife left him. Whether he was mentally ill or a recruit of ISIS remains uncertain, but the French president, François Hollande, was quick to extend the state of emergency resulting the events in Paris last November for another three months. He has announced, yet again, that France is “at war” with the threat of Islamist terrorism. By doing so he raised the multiplier impact of the terror and fear in the country and also raised public expectation that “something can be done” to protect the people from it.

The fact of the matter is that such responses may comfort the families of the victims of the Nice attack in their current state of shock. But there is no force on Earth that can defend a crowd from a madman in a truck. France will not ban lorries, much like America will never ban its guns. The more sensible response is to accept the degree of risk that such elements will always pose in today’s world, and not pretend that it can be prevented altogether. The insinuation that leaders can somehow prevent such attacks by heightening security and deploying more armed forces is a total farce, only to appease the scared and vulnerable. Furthermore, it is a distraction from the intelligence and police work that might at least diminish their occurrence.

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The victims of this massacre deserve sympathy and expression of solidarity from their government. To create an atmosphere of terror and fear by institutionalising the feeling of being under constant attack, will only serve to hinder the recovery of the victims from this profound loss and shock.