While I don't agree with violence of any kind and I deplore what happened in Paris, this is an object lesson that I suspect will be ignored. Certainly, after September 11, I heard calls for revenge even in church (and from an Irish priest), despite Jesus' clear teaching to turn the other cheek and love our enemies.
I don't expect anyone in France to remember the deeply embedded hatred of Muslims in France and the mistreatment of all Arabs by the French. I'm sure few in France or elsewhere recall how France provided a major Western example of kidnapping, torture and murder without trial in Algeria in the late 1950s.
That didn't count in Western eyes, after all, in European eyes they were just Muslim brown people, rather than pseudo-Christian whites.
Paris, France was a fitting target for Muslim desperadoes. It wasn't just random. I don't approve of it, but I recognize it for what it is.
No one in the West ever thinks about these things, much as no one considered how decades of depredations of Western oil interests affected Muslims and the Arab world. Osama bin Laden's 1998 fatwah, although unquestionably a turgid rant, didn't come out of nowhere.
There's the tyranny of the House of Saud in the Arabian peninsula and the other various emirates ruled by princes selling out their people for oil revenues. There's the Mossadegh coup in Iran, the efforts against Nasser in Egypt, the Soviet/Russian alliance of convenience with the tyrannical Al Assads in Syria.
Then there's the elephant in the room: the 2 million Arab Palestinians many of whose families have lived as refugees in their own land since 1948.
The lesson is clear: let's find a peaceful way out of this situation. Let's open our doors to refugees and share our bounty with the world that has provided us fuel.
Let's lead, not with more war and money by the barrel to war-profiteering companies, but with peace and food and help for those who suffer in the Middle East.
Sure, the agents of violence must stop. But perhaps we should show them the way by example. Let's practice what we preach.
Let's not turn this into a perfect excuse to militarize our societies, shred what little is left of democracy in the West and start World War III.
Let's start, instead, World Peace I.