Just after midnight last night as I was barely sleeping Cécile rolled over and informed me there was another terrorist attack underway in France. It seemed underway, at least, as the reports began rolling in of a death toll that was 40, then 50, then 60 and then, by morning, over 80. An Islamist terrorist had rented a truck and driven it headlong into the crowd crammed along the beachside road in Nice and hadn’t stopped until he was shot dead by police.
The reports were updated with brutal efficiency all day. The 80 turned into 84, the 20 in critical condition turned into 50, and dozens more were injured. The attack in Nice, though less deadly than the Paris attacks a few months back, is just as damaging to the people who live here. It’s almost as if we’d lulled ourselves into a false sense of security having managed to get through the Euro 2016 championship without a terrorist incident.
And then, just a few days later, the terrorists struck again.
I could say a lot about it and I probably will later, but for now I think it is sufficient to remind people that we are in a war and we should start acting like we recognize that. There is ‘us’, there is ‘them’, and you win wars by killing more of ‘them’. Find them, kill them, destroy their ideology. Yes, people won’t like us while we are doing it, but they will like us when we win.
Perhaps in some sort of subconscious effort to hurt myself a little bit, in today’s ten kilometer effort I threw in a nice, steep hill. After making my way up the Soane, I crossed over to the foot of the Croix Rousse and then made the climb up to the cometary. I’ve run down this hill before but I have never run up it – and it is a doozy. I ended up power hiking part of it to keep my heart rate under control in the late afternoon heat, but I was glad to have included it as it made for a worthy test of my fitness.
After arriving at the top I followed my nose back to the top of the Croix Rousse plateau above Lyon, then followed the road around to the Pentes. Bottoming out beneath the Jardin des Plantes, I headed uphill again to pass under our old apartment and then drop down to the flat of the Presque Isle once again. A straight shot down the quai, a diagonal to the Place de la Republique, and then a right hand turn to find the Place des Jacobins and click stop on the Garmin.
It was a nice way to end off the afternoon, but it only made me forget the terror that has been visited upon this country for an hour. Reality has a way of storming back in when you stop moving.