Op-ed: A Nice vacation

  • By Bob Franken
  • Wednesday, June 7, 2017 9:58am
  • Opinion

Normally I wouldn’t bore anyone with my family travel plans, but please indulge me when I mention that my wife and I are returning to Nice, France. Our accommodations will be at the same seaside spot where we were last summer when an apparently ISIS-inspired madman drove his truck through the nighttime crowds on the busy beachfront 30 or so yards away. Eighty-six died a horrible death at the hands of this pathetic maniac; over 430 were injured. A few readers might remember that we both immediately began covering the story for our respective news organizations. We confronted the horror of widespread bloody carnage, and the nightmarish screams that were everywhere that night.

I mention all that because since then we’ve had several terror attacks, one just a few days ago in and around London Bridge. As it happens, we have scheduled a separate trip to London later this year. We have no intention of changing that plan either. Those who conduct these grisly acts, and sponsor or encourage them, are trying to sow fear. That’s obvious. To the extent that they have rational thoughts, they want to frighten all of us into avoiding the areas where the onslaughts took place, and in a larger sense, into trembling at the thought of going out anywhere and risking exposure. We cannot allow ourselves to be intimidated. That’s why the two of us refuse to be scared away. We passionately reject their pathetic intimidation. Otherwise, we would let the terrorists win.

They also get a victory when their actions set off mindless reactions from our officeholders and the demagogic wannabes who respond by advocating oppressive laws and, in the case of our current president, concocting idiotic plans sold as protection when they’re really just politics. Smarmy politics at that. His idiotic wall along the Mexican border fits that profile, almost as much as his Muslim travel ban, which was so badly planned and executed that it was quickly put on hold in several courts. It’s finally reached the Supreme Court, where if the law and the Constitution mean anything to them, the justices will emphatically dispatch with the ban once and for all.

The president doesn’t seem to think much of the law and the Constitution. In his various Twitter spurts, which often provide the full depth of his thinking, he has questioned the rights of “so-called judges” to interfere with his policies. His tweets are rarely boring, but always boorish. His first reaction to the latest London atrocity was a study in petulance: “We need to be smart, vigilant and tough. We need the courts to give us back our rights. We need the Travel Ban as an extra level of safety!” The critical sniping at his bad taste began immediately, so a few minutes later he sent out a more appropriate, “Whatever the United States can do to help out in London and the U.K., we will be there — WE ARE WITH YOU. GOD BLESS!” Better late than never — “never” being when he expressed Twitter concern over the two men who were stabbed to death and one wounded a few days earlier. They had stepped in to prevent a man on a transit in Portland, Oregon, from screaming epithets against two frightened young Muslim women. Not a word on the @realdonaldtrump account, site of his personal missives. He did call the violence “unacceptable” on his @POTUS address, the one maintained by staff.

Fast-forward again to London, where he did return to the personal account: “Do you notice we are not having a gun debate right now? That’s because they used knives and a truck.” It’s fair to say that his personal tweets are rarely tactful, always tacky.

So Linda and I will be emphatically returning to the scene of these crimes against humanity, in spite of them and in spite of Donald Trump’s absurd policies, which are themselves shameful offences for all of us who consider ourselves proud Americans.

Bob Franken is a longtime broadcast journalist, including 20 years at CNN.

More in Opinion

This screenshot of an Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation map of PFAS sites in Alaska shows that contamination from so-called “forever chemicals” is observable throughout the state. (Screenshot | Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation)
Opinion: More action must be taken on PFAS

Toxic forever chemicals present in high concentrations in Nikishka Bay Utility Water Supply

Logo courtesy of League of Women Voters.
League of Women Voters of Alaska: Join us in calling for campaign finance limits

The involvement of money in our elections is a huge barrier for everyday Alaskans who run for public office

Promise garden flowers are assembled for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex in Soldotna, Alaska, on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2023. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Opinion: Let’s keep momentum in the fight against Alzheimer’s

It’s time to reauthorize these bills to keep up our momentum in the fight to end Alzheimer’s and all other types of Dementia.

Jacquelyn Martin / Associated Press
Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., questions Navy Adm. Lisa Franchetti during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Sept. 14 on Capitol Hill.
Opinion: Music to the ears of America’s adversaries

Russia and China have interest in seeing America’s democracy and standing in the world weakened

Dr. Sarah Spencer. (Photo by Maureen Todd and courtesy of Dr. Sarah Spencer)
Opinion: Alaskans needs better access to addiction treatment. Telehealth can help.

I have witnessed firsthand the struggles patients face in accessing addiction care

Former Gov. Frank Murkowski speaks on a range of subjects during an interview with the Juneau Empire in May 2019. (Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: Need for accounting and legislative oversight of the permanent fund

There is a growing threat to the permanent fund, and it is coming from the trustees themselves

(Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: Imagine the cost of health and happiness if set by prescription drug companies

If you didn’t have heartburn before seeing the price, you will soon — and that requires another prescription

Mike Arnold testifies in opposition to the use of calcium chloride by the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities on Kenai Peninsula roads during a Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2023, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai Peninsula Votes: Civic actions that carried weight

Watching an impressive display of testimony, going to an event, or one post, can help so many people learn about something they were not even aware of

The Kasilof River is seen from the Kasilof River Recreation Area, July 30, 2019, in Kasilof, Alaska. (Photo by Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion)
Opinion: Helicopter fishing a detriment to fish and fishers

Proposal would prohibit helicopter transport for anglers on southern peninsula

The cover of the October 2023 edition of Alaska Economic Trends magazine, a product of the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development. (Image via department website)
Dunleavy administration’s muzzling of teacher pay report is troubling

Alaska Economic Trends is recognized both in Alaska and nationally as an essential tool for understanding Alaska’s unique economy

Image via weseeyou.community
5 tips for creating a culture of caring in our high schools

Our message: No matter what challenges you’re facing, we see you. We support you. And we’re here for you.

The Alaska State Capitol is photographed in Juneau, Alaska. (Clarise Larson/Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: Vance’s bill misguided approach to Middle East crisis

In arguing for her legislation, Vance offers a simplistic, one-dimensional understanding of the conflict