A Bastille Day massacre in Nice

And so it happens again.  At the time of writing, 84 people are known to be dead, and an unknown number injured.  The terrorist’s weapon?  A common-or-garden truck, the sort we see driving our roads in untold numbers every day.  The gun the driver reportedly used to shoot out of his window is basically irrelevant.  The vast majority of the casualties he inflicted were with his vehicle, not his firearm.

May those who were murdered in Nice rest in peace, and those who were injured recover as speedily and as fully as possible.

And yet again, the politicians – in France and elsewhere – will just talk about it.  That’s all they can do – talk.  There’s no nation state they can hold accountable for this atrocity, no country against whom they can declare war.  This was a ‘lone wolf’ actor, motivated by his religious ideology, beholden to no other country to equip, prepare and train him.

And yet again, we note that if there’d been a person with a gun in the right place at the start of this terrorist rampage, it might have been stopped in its tracks.  You scoff?  You say that’s nonsense, a fantasy?  Then why do police so often shoot the driver of a vehicle who’s trying to use it to ram them?  They do so because it works.  It stops the carnage, often before it starts.  If, at the start of the killing, the cab of that truck had been within range of someone who knew how to use a firearm, and was carrying one that could penetrate a vehicle’s glass or bodywork to reach the driver, the terror might have been stopped right there.  Instead, because there was no-one within range who was armed (concealed carry being impossible for civilians under French law), the terrorist was able to drive well over a mile along a crowded boulevard, mowing down his victims one after another.

Now the blame game will start, and the finger-pointing, and the pontificating by politicians who’ll talk up a storm, but not actually do anything.  To be fair, part of that is that they can’t do anything to stop the terrorists already in their midst.  That stable door is wide open, and that horse is long gone.  However, heaven forfend that people should be allowed to hold their political leaders accountable for their immigration and refugee policies, that have already admitted so many potential terrorists to their countries!  The politicians will protest that they had to do so, in the name of humanity – can’t you understand that?  Their citizens, of course, don’t understand that at all, because it’s nonsense.

Just yesterday I noted the views of the chief of France’s Directorate General of Internal Security, who warned that “it could just take one more major Islamist terror attack to lead to a huge right-wing backlash”.  Well, France has now endured that ‘one more’ attack – and I’m sure it won’t be the last of its kind.  Let’s see if France also experiences the backlash he foretold.

As for this side of the Atlantic, I’m waiting for our more feckless politicians to propose a ban on ‘assault trucks’ and/or demand more stringent licensing of their drivers, complete with background checks.


For the rest of us, what can we do to protect ourselves against such attacks?  Basically, there’s only one way – don’t be in places where such attacks are likely.  I’ve warned about that before.  This is yet another reminder.  In this day and age, anywhere large numbers of people gather – particularly if those gatherings are deliberately disarmed as a matter of law, regulation or policy, so that those attending can’t defend themselves or each other – is a potential target for terrorism.  Unless you absolutely have to be there, don’t.

I’ve quoted John Farnam’s sage advice several times before.  This is as good a time as any to repeat it.

The best way to handle any potentially injurious encounter is: Don’t be there. Arrange to be somewhere else. Don’t go to stupid places. Don’t associate with stupid people. Don’t do stupid things. This is the advice I give to all students of defensive firearms. Winning a gunfight, or any other potentially injurious encounter, is financially and emotionally burdensome. The aftermath will become your full-time job for weeks or months afterward, and you will quickly grow weary of writing checks to lawyer(s). It is, of course, better than being dead or suffering a permanently disfiguring or disabling injury, but the “penalty” for successfully fighting for your life is still formidable.

Crowds of any kind, particularly those with an agenda, such as political rallies, demonstrations, picket lines, etc are good examples of “stupid places.” Any crowd with a high collective energy level harbors potential catastrophe. To a lesser degree, bank buildings, hospital emergency rooms, airports, government buildings, and bars (particularly crowded ones) fall into the same category. All should be avoided. When they can’t be avoided, we should make it a practice to spend only the minimum time necessary there and then quickly get out.

That’s very good advice indeed in an age of terrorism.



  1. And from the occupant of the White House, the chirping of crickets is deafening. I'm not quite sure how he will attempt to spin it, but I'm sure there is a an angle they are going for (possible Trump supporter goes crazy after hearing about VP pick ?).

  2. I suggest you look at the footage on the Daily Mail website showing armed offices firing at the Truck before it has hit anything. The problem was they couldn't stop it.
    Talking to someone this field his view is the only way to stop this truck is .50 calibre bullet the problem is when you miss and it takes out 20 people standing in the path of the bullet.

    Being unarmed had nothing to do with this incident, the French Armed Police reacted very quickly. As to comparing Jihadi Terrorists to Black Lives Matter, please that is an insult to anybodies intelligence.

    1. "…take out 20 people standing in the path of the bullet."

      Ahem…seriously? Sure, a .50 cal is likely to ruin someone's day, and overpenetration is a definite concern, but *twenty people*? Come on. Not likely.

  3. @Anonymous at 5:13 AM: Unless one's equipped with suitable heavy weapons (which no cop on the street, or armed civilian, will be), one doesn't shoot at the vehicle to stop it. One shoots at the driver. That's been shown to work more times than I can tell. Of course, you have to be close enough to do that, and be accurate enough to hit the driver. Not everyone is.

    As for "comparing Jihadi Terrorists to Black Lives Matter" – I haven't done so. Where are you getting that from? Why bring up something I haven't said in the article at all?

  4. When, not if, but when, something similar happens here in Australia, all hell will break loose, for all the wrong reasons, as recently demonstrated here in Sydney, 15-16 December, 2014,- the dates of the Lindt Café Siege, where a lone gunman took hostage 10 customers and 8 employees.
    After 16 hours, during which a small number of hostages escaped, the gunman forced the café owner to his knees and blew the back of his head off with an illegally acquired sawn-off shotgun.
    Only then did the police storm the café, killing the gunman and one hostage, and wounding others.
    As stated by Police, they followed a "contain and negotiate" strategy, which was to avoid any direct action unless a hostage was killed or injured.
    That is a direct quote from the police Commissioner!.

    On Wednesday 13 July 2016, my Wife and I attended an afternoon performance of Bugs Bunny at the Symphony II, at the Sydney Opera House, and as it's currently school holidays, hundreds of kids were there too.
    That's the fun part.

    This is the serious part.

    My Wife calls me paranoid, when I comment on various aspects of security, or lack of when we're out and about.
    I have not one second of security training whatsoever, I just like to 'be aware'.

    Security within the Opera House complex is shockingly lacking, not one visible deterrent, there is none, nothing, nada, ZERO!.
    NOT. ONE. GUARD/RESPONDER. – on or within the whole Opera House complex.
    Access is directly from the street, via an unmanned, automatic boom, to the five story level carpark, directly under the public concourse.
    The Opera House is located on a site that is surrounded on three sides by Sydney Harbour, except for one ingress/egress access point, a chokepoint.
    Look it up, and ponder the possibilities, as a former military member, the potential scenario horrifies me, I dare not think about it!.

  5. At least France's president is willing to call it by name 'Islamic terrorism' contrasting with our 'leader': 'appears to be a major act of terrorism'
    I don't envy France's position, their relation to the Arab world is much more akin to ours with the Hispanic both in terms of proximity, mistakes, and intentions gone wrong.

  6. Being France as is typical for most of Europe, the cops likely had 9mm or lesser caliber firearms.
    Our own FBI learned years ago that in a shootout, particularly one involving vehicle cover, a wonder nine just won't cut it. And yep, to stop the truck you need a .50BMG to the engine block, but Peter's right, to stop the driver all you need is something that penetrates the wind screen. In the heat of the moment still not an easy shot. I will offer the observation that one of the requirements for the 5.56 NATO cartridge is the ability to penetrate a steel helmet at 500 yards. That is the cartridge typically used in AR pattern rifles.

    Struck me last weekend at Libertycon. Large gathering of people, all visible weapons required to be peace bonded, on the surface a perfect terrorist target. On the surface. Percentage of concealed carry permit holders probably 40% and a fair number of them were armed. The LC folks are firmly in the "don't ask, don't tell" camp on that issue.
    And of course nothing occurred, but it is exactly the sort of thing we must consider as an integral part of our life planning in these very interesting times we now live in.
    I've proposed in several forums the concept of designated security to parallel the current designated driver. A volunteer with a ccw agrees to attend an event and abstain from drinking. It would seem to me that the venue should comp whatever entry fee and offer free soft drinks in exchange for such a service.

  7. Windshields are a tough barrier to bullets, especially from handguns. However, side windows are tough only to the first hit. They are designed to crumble/shatter from an initial impact. So, the first bullet into the driver's window MAY not be effective, but all following ones will do the job on the occupant, once the tempered glass has lost it's integrity.

    A side effect of the way that side windows are designed to fail when hit, is that visibility of the interior will be lessened until the glass falls away, due to all the fracture lines. The glass fragments tend to stick together until physically shifted, so you may only have what seems to be a shadow as a target.

  8. The FBI is going back to 9mm to accommodate agents with small hands who cannot properly grip full frame handguns or tolerate the recoil of major rated calibers.
    This is a very admirable politically correct move on their part.
    It will get agents killed in the line of duty.

  9. "All visible weapons peace bonded"

    and how long would that last if there was an attack (and even peace bonded, swords would make fair clubs)

  10. Reports say truck was "full of weapons and grenades!?!!" Where? The cab, cargo bed, what? It would seem more efficient to be flingin' explosives when trying to drive, than shooting. What say those with pineapple experience?

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