It’s a story that we hear all to frequently these days. A lone crackpot inspired by the messages of hate spewed out on social media by ISIS and other religious extremist organizations making the leap from embittered loser to murderous terrorist and leaving a swath of dead innocents in his wake. The latest incident occurred yesterday in Nice, France, a country besieged by terrorist attacks these past few years, when 31-year-old Tunisian-born petty criminal Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel went on a rampage, mowing down hundreds who had gathered for Bastille Day celebrations with a large delivery truck. As of Friday the death toll has reached 84, with another 202 injured, and among the dead are an American father and son, Sean Copeland and his 11-year old son Brodie.
The French celebrate Bastille Day every July 14th to mark the day that the common people wrested control of the country from the loathed monarchy and cast off the chains of feudalism to form the modern French Republic. A large group of spectators had gathered along the Promenade des Anglais, along the seaside city’s beachfront, to watch the annual fireworks display. Without warning, Bouhlel’s truck made a left on the grand boulevard with its lights off and then jumped the pavement and began running over civilians at will. At first people thought it was an accident or a runaway truck, but it soon became apparent the driver was deliberately targeting people. The truck went over a full mile leaving death and destruction behind it before police officers were able to shoot the driver to death.
Sean Copelan and his 11 year old son Brodie lived in Lakeway, Texas, just outside of Austin. They were on vacation in Europe when they fell victim to the murderous act of terrorism. The Copeland family have released a statement saying "We are heartbroken and in shock over the loss of Brodie Copeland, an amazing son and brother who lit up our lives, and Sean Copeland, a wonderful husband and father, they are so loved."