It was shocking to see the attacks play out in France last Friday.
So far, the multiple, coordinated strikes have left 129 dead.
These cowardly acts did not target the military or the government.
They deliberately targeted regular people enjoying the evening out, people who would be totally unable to defend themselves from the violence.
This was a strike at a secular culture that the west enjoys and that the terrorists deride as contrary to their twisted, cult-like take on religion.
And like the cowards they were, many of them took the easy way out — detonating suicide bombs strapped to themselves.
It doesn’t take guts to end your life and take as many people with you as you can.
That’s an act of either a brainwashed idiot or a sadist with a death wish.
If they really had the courage of their convictions they would have looked their victims in the eyes — and when I say victims, I mean the friends and families, the whole city of Paris, the whole country of France — and stood fast in their beliefs in the face of the consequences of their actions.
But then, if they really had the courage of their convictions they would not feel the need to resort to random violence in the first place — they would believe that persuasion of what is right would win the day.
Did they, after all, convince everyone of the righteousness of their cause by perpetrating this tragedy?
They did not.
They only served to strengthen the resolve of the billions of us who refuse to bow before their poisonous altar, where they steep themselves in the blood of the innocent in the name of a god and a religion they do not truly worship or honour.
They did not win on Friday or on any of the days since.
Because the truth is that it is all of us who determine whether they are victorious.
The terrorists truly win if we give up our lives to fear. They win if we give up our freedoms in the name of security. They win if we give up on our compassion and pull up the drawbridge.
I’m referring, of course, to the uneasy calls by some to pull back on accepting Syrian refugees — even though this is exactly the kind of senseless violence the refugees are fleeing, not creating.
We have screening processes to guard against those few in the tide of millions who would attempt to infiltrate Canada for nefarious purposes.
Far too many terrorists turn out to be homegrown anyway.
We cannot punish the millions for the actions of a few when all they desire is a safe place to live their lives.
That’s all that we want too, isn’t it?