I spent a few hours reading this afternoon and went back to the computer to find out what had transpired in Paris and news is still unfolding about the series of attacks throughout the city which has left at least 158 dead, according to reports as I write this. At least 118 dead reported from the Bataclan, a concert venue in Paris where earlier the situation had been described as a hostage situation.
Eye witnesses quoted on The Guardian said that the attackers at the Bataclan had Kalashnikov rifles and that they'd opened fire on the audience who was there to see an American band called Eagles of Death Metal. Other witnesses of course describe initially mistaking the sounds of shots for stage effects related to the show and I couldn't help thinking of attacks in American cinemas where gunshots were similarly misidentified at first. When killers take advantage of an artistic display to maximise the number of victims it reflects a disregard for the fundamental practices and beliefs of a culture in more ways than one. People who don't respect art lack empathy and imagination which explains why they would carry out actions that clearly have no ultimately constructive ends. "Who will play the violins?" the Doctor asked last week on Doctor Who when pointing out to a potential killer that this kind of violence takes no thought for the world that will be created in the unlikely event of success for the killers. But of course, for the committed killer, the future is irrelevant, or defined too narrowly to admit anything so complicated as society and culture.
My thoughts are with the people of Paris.