Merely to satisfy the cruelty

The New York Times:

The toll of an attack on a Bastille Day fireworks celebration in the southern French city of Nice rose on Friday to 84 dead and 202 injured, as the government identified the assailant as a 31-year-old native of Tunisia, extended a national state of emergency and absorbed the shock of a third major terrorist attack in 19 months.

Starting around 10:45 p.m. Thursday, the attacker mowed down scores of victims in Nice with a rented 19-ton refrigerated truck before engaging in a gunfight with three police officers, who pursued him down a storied seaside promenade before finally killing him.

The Paris prosecutor, François Molins, identified the man as Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, who was born on Jan. 3, 1985, and raised in Msaken, a town in northeastern Tunisia.

No organized group has said “We did it!” They do say they did it when they did it, because they’re proud of doing it. The fact that they haven’t said that is a strong hint that they didn’t do it.

Mr. Bouhlel had a history of petty crime, including theft, going back to 2010, and he received a six-month suspended sentence in March for assaulting a driver during an altercation in January.

“However, he is completely unknown by intelligence services, both at the national and local levels,” Mr. Molins said. “He has never been in any database or been flagged for radicalization.”

Maybe he wasn’t “radicalized.” Maybe he just wanted to kill a bunch of people, for the sheer glorious fun of it. Maybe he wanted to live out a fantasy. Mowing people down with a big truck is one fantasy a person can have, and maybe Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel simply wanted to do that – maybe there was no more ideology to it than that, nothing but a love of violence and not enough compassion to inhibit him from pursuing his love.

“There are many children, young children who had come to watch fireworks with their family, to have joy, to share happiness, delight, amazement, and who were struck, struck to death, merely to satisfy the cruelty of an individual — and maybe of a group,” Mr. Hollande said, flanked by Mr. Valls and Health Minister Marisol Touraine, after meeting with victims and medical workers at the Pasteur Hospital in Nice.

Maybe that was the only point. People were out having fun, including children, enjoying a fireworks display just as we did here in the US 11 days ago – maybe Bouhlel’s only goal was to fuck that up.

He’s been given plenty of role models lately though, role models who did have an ideology. It’s the hot new thing, picking out a place where people are crowded together – an airport, a bar, a football ground, a music theater, a busy street – and killing as many of those people as possible.

Pick your role models carefully.

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