I’d like to provide a bit of context for the school attack that happened in Toulouse, France this morning. While I don’t have any more information than what we are seeing in news reports, I do know the city of Toulouse well. In the summer of 2007 I spent six weeks in this peaceful city, exploring it on foot and by bicycle with all of my free time. If I had to describe Toulouse in American terms, I would call it a “college town”. With a population hovering around 500,000 people, 20% of those are students (the third largest student population in the country). This is relevant information in light of this tragic attack at a religious school – the most recent in a string of attacks in the region. The lesson we can take away from this is that any school can be a target, and we must remember to always be on alert to prevent dangerous situations and mitigate them if they do occur. While this story is updating rapidly, here is a link to one of the most recent reports I have seen on the attack:
To illustrate what the city looks like here is a photo from my stay there. The photo depicts one of the town thoroughfares.
Chris Dorn is Executive Producer of Safe Havens Video and has been an Analyst with Safe Havens since 2003. He is the co-author of “Innocent Targets: When Terrorism Comes to School” – one of the leading texts on school terrorism and school related attacks in the world. This book has been referenced around the world and was distributed to all 50 states through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).