What brought the barbarism especially close to home for me was the fact that my sister was visiting Paris earlier that week. She left on the night of the 11th.
Had she stayed only 48 hours longer, she could have been out on the Place du Republique or Place de la Nation and been killed or injured.
It is difficult to understand and impossible to condone the impulses that lead people to pursue such horrific slaughter.
And yet, going out on the offensive against Islamic State, as France seems to have chosen, may only accentuate the violence in the warlands of the Levant. while drawing thousands more testosterone-fueled 20-something's from Europe's marginalized muslim communities into the war against the west.
What is needed is not conflict but containment, as Barry Posen of the Atlantic explains best (see link).