|France is still in shock from the horrific rampage in Nice Thursday night. And right on cue, terrorist experts in France, Europe and around the globe—including Donald Trump and New Gingrich—are already counseling what new Draconian measures should be implemented to deal with the menace of Radical Islam.
But their mindless spewing has nothing to do with what happened in Nice.
The problem is the killer. How on earth could anyone with whatever laws the country had, have stopped such a deranged individual. How could anyone have predicted that the 31 year old truck driver was even capable of such a massively terrifying act?
From what is known so far his name was Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhel, he was an immigrant from Tunisia, had a French resident permit, a wife, and three children.
He had never been to Syria or Iraq. He had no known links with ISIS [who has now claimed responsibility - prh, ed.] or any fundamentalist organizations. Those who knew him say he was also not particularly religious.
He did however have a record with the French police, sentenced last March for as some unspecified violent crime. There are some who claim he had a history of domestic violence. His wife may have left him.
In other words, he was a something of a thug, unhappy, with a big chip on his shoulder. The same is true of many who have decided to act in the name of ISIS.
But even if al-Qaeda or ISIS claim this man as theirs, what does that really mean?
Whether or not ISIS was able to specifically recruit him on line, the many terrorist acts in ISIS name, provide enough stark examples for misfits and criminals to take action themselves–to express their hatred of France or society in general. They are advised to choose their own time and targets, make use of the most expedient weapon at hand and kill as many people as possible.
In this case, Mohammed Bouhel happened to be a licensed truck driver—his huge white van turned out to be as effective as an assault rifle for slaughtering scores of of people, no matter who they were.
And there you are—out in a blaze of gunfire–transformed from a “zero” to a “hero” –at least in your own eyes and the eyes of Isis and its supporters—overnight.
So, again, bottom line–what the hell is France—with 50 million citizens—to do?
With thousands or tens of thousands of potential “terrorists” like Mohammed Bouhel, who do you deport? Who do you put under preventative arrest? Who do you put under full-time watch, when each 24 hour surveillance requires at least 18 police?
Mohammed Bouhel isn’t the first to go like that—nor will he be the last.
Even if France turns it back on the traditions of July 14th it is proudest of.
Barry Lando is a former producer with 60 Minutes, who has just finished a novel, "The Watchman's File", about Israel's most powerful weapon and most closely guarded secret. (It's not the bomb.) It is now available on Amazon.