Our hate-filled zealots reasoned that committing a murderous spectacle would short circuit the radicalisation process and speed up recruitment to their demented religious politics. It was an action designed to tear the secularist veil off French society and show it up as an explicitly racist, anti-Islamic entity that will never accept the five million Muslims living in its midst. The consequences, the attacks on French Muslims since, the new terror law calls, and the taxpayer-funded three million copy run of Charlie Hebdo, festooned with an image of Muhammad (all pre-empted here) were exactly what the gunmen wanted. There will be some Muslims, probably young, probably already alienated from broader society, for whom this is grist to the radicalisation mill.
Official France this last week has shouted its defiance at the bullet-ridded corpses of dead terrorists, it has bellowed that they cannot win. The response on this awful occasion suggests otherwise.