Dozens dead in France after Bastille Day terrorist attack.
By Jeff Knox
USA – -(Ammoland.com)- A large box truck, the kind that makes deliveries to shops and stores in cities around the world, was used as a deadly weapon in Nice, France Thursday evening as revelers were celebrating Bastille Day, the commemoration of the launch of the French Revolution.
Attackers drove the truck through a barricade into the crowd, killing at least 75 people, according to early reports, and injuring well over 100 others in a matter of seconds.
The attack represents one of the most deadly, single-event terrorist attacks in modern history, and one of the simplest. Terrorists had no need to acquire guns, build bombs, or smuggle weapons through security checkpoints. They merely stole, borrowed, or rented a large truck and drove.
This is not the first time a vehicle has been used as a weapon, but it is probably the most devastating in recent history. A transient intentionally drove down the boardwalk at Venice Beach a few years ago, killing one and injuring several. An 86-year old man who got confused, drove into a farmers market in Santa Monica, California in 2003, killing 10. And the Isla Vista murderer, who killed 3 people with a knife, before killing three more with a gun, also tried to kill people with his car, but was unsuccessful, only injuring one man. That attacker had planned to do more damage with a vehicle, but hadn’t been able to borrow his dad’s SUV as he’d hoped, and so launched his attack with his less-lethal BMW sedan.
Some reports claim that the attacker in Nice exited the vehicle and started shooting, but this is unconfirmed as yet. Gun control laws are very strict in France, but, as the recent attack in Paris demonstrated, accessing weapons does not seem to be a problem for terrorists.
It appears though, that the vast majority of the deaths and injuries were a direct result of being hit by the truck.
(Begin Satire of Failed Gun Control)
It is yet to be determined whether President Obama and Democrat presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton will use the attack as an opportunity to call for stricter gun control in the U.S., but doing so would be in keeping with their standard operating procedures in recent years.
Others are calling for gun-like restrictions on trucks and other dangerous, wheeled vehicles. Dave Vann, director of the group Responsible Action Against Vehicle Violence, or RAAVV, said that his group is seeking commonsense legislation to keep dangerous vehicles out of the hands of dangerous people.
“Many of these vehicles are designed for military or commercial use,” said Vann. “They have no place in civilian and non-professional hands on our city streets.”
Vann went on to say that larger vehicles should be tightly restricted to designated highways, while medium-sized delivery trucks that operate on city streets should be tightly regulated, with background checks for licensed drivers, including mental health screening and operational competency testing, and owners of these vehicles should be held responsible for any misuse of their vehicles resulting in death or injury. Vann called for an immediate ban on personal assault vehicles of the pickup truck variety and strict controls on any vehicle with a gross weight in excess of 5000 pounds or a ground clearance of 8 inches or greater.
“The potential to weaponize these vehicles makes them a serious threat to everyone,” Vann said.
“Cars and trucks kill far more people every year than any other weapon – far exceeding the death toll of guns and knives combined. Vehicles that are designed for commerce should not be so readily accessible to people with little or no training, and certainly not anyone under the age of 21. Right now, people leave these dangerous weapons unattended in public spaces, leave keys where children can easily access them, and allow easy access to illegal immigrants and the mentally unstable.”
Van went on to call for legislation requiring all new vehicles to be equipped with driver recognition systems that would prevent them from being used by anyone except authorized drivers.
“We use this technology for phones and laptops, we need it for motor vehicles,” said Vann. “The technology for “Smart-Vehicles” is already out there and proven to work. It just needs to be adapted to vehicles,” he said. “Sure this will be expensive, but look at the benefits. We could save hundreds of lives every year with this technology – more once all existing vehicles are retrofit with the system. And as an extra benefit, since the systems are computer controlled, systems for remote deactivation can be included, allowing police or other competent authorities to shut down any vehicle that is being used in an unsafe or criminal manner.”
Vann said that until Smart-Vehicle systems can be deployed, and a functional background check and screening process established, every commercial, potential assault vehicle, particularly the UPS and FedEx delivery trucks that are in our neighborhoods every day, should be required to have a 24-hour armed guard to prevent theft or hi-jacking, and to be prepared to take action to stop a driver who begins driving in an erratic or threatening manner.
“This is just common sense,” says Vann. “It’s easier to buy a deadly assault vehicle today than it is to buy a book. You don’t even have to have a license. All you need is enough money for a down payment, and not even that if your credit is good. They can even be purchased directly over the internet and delivered to the buyer’s door, or easily rented from equipment home improvement stores. We owe it to our children to keep these dangerous vehicles out of the hands of dangerous people and off our neighborhood streets.”
Vann says that RAAVV will be hosting walk-ins on major thoroughfares around the country to raise awareness of the dangers of assault vehicles, and that they have formed a speaker’s bureau of victims of vehicle-violence to tell their stories and advocate with lawmakers.
“If we just save the life of one child, all of the effort and expense will be worth it,” said Vann. “Join RAAVV. Sign our petition to President Obama. Send as large a contribution as you can afford, and do it today – for the children.”
The Firearms Coalition is a loose-knit coalition of individual Second Amendment activists, clubs and civil rights organizations. Founded by Neal Knox in 1984, the organization provides support to grassroots activists in the form of education, analysis of current issues, and with a historical perspective of the gun rights movement. The Firearms Coalition is a project of Neal Knox Associates, Manassas, VA. Visit: www.FirearmsCoalition.org