We don’t know all the details or the final death toll from Friday’s horrific terror attacks in Paris.
But the scope and brutality of the assault were clear enough for French President Francois Hollande to declare the first state of emergency since the Algerian war ended in 1962, impose the first mandatory curfew since World War II and to take the unprecedented step of closing his nation’s borders.
The carnage was more than enough for President Barack Obama to reaffirm America’s commitment to stand with France in the face of terror and offer any assistance necessary.
“Once again we’ve seen an outrageous attempt to terrorize innocent civilians,” he said at the White House. “This is an attack not just on Paris and it’s not just an attack on the people of France, but this is an attack on all of humanity and the universal values that we share.”
Early reports said that about 100 hostages had been killed inside a theater that police stormed early Saturday Paris time. (Eagles of Death Metal, a rock band from Palm Desert, was scheduled to perform but was unharmed.) Police said at least 40 more had been killed at several other locations in Paris. A bomb went off at the national stadium, halting a soccer match between France and Germany and forcing Hollande’s evacuation.
This is the second apparent terrorist assault on Paris this year. Three days of attacks by Paris-born terrorists in January, centered at the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, left 13 dead. The theater is near the magazine offices.
Experts are not that surprised that Paris has been struck again. It is an inviting target as one of the world’s greatest cities. And France, like several other European countries, is at the mercy of citizens who fought with the Islamic State and other extremist groups in the Middle East and have returned home.
But as the news, and the fear, went global with the speed of Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, it was as clear as it has ever been that we live in a small world that is getting smaller.
And all that is civilized in it shares Paris’ outrage.