Can ISIS Attacks Be Stopped? Public Security in Age of Madness


Part Five in a Series

NICE, France — Kinetic energy is calculated as an expression of mass and velocity.

According to statements by French prosecutors, the vehicle that drove for more than a mile along a thoroughfare crowded with pedestrians celebrating Bastille Day in Nice on July 14 was an 18-ton truck, driven at speeds of up to 70 miles per hour.

From these sparse facts, rough mathematical calculations are simple. At its fastest, the truck was delivering kinetic energy of up to 12.6 megajoules — equivalent to 14 sticks of military-grade dynamite — to anyone in its path.

Eighty-six people killed. Two hundred injured. Ten children dead; thirty-four in intensive care.

One madman.

Horrors like the attack in Nice have become commonplace enough that we can make spreadsheets of shattered lives.

But is there anything we can actually do in the wake of such attacks, except tally up the dead?