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Thinking About the Unthinkable

New from Iraq, often a tactics proving ground, is more than disturbing:

The gunmen had set up a fake checkpoint and stopped two buses in the village of al-Jirin full of students returning to classes after a weekend break. One of the buses escaped, police said, but male students from the other bus were loaded onto trucks and taken away.
A number of data points of a similar nature have been documented in the US, though not to this extreme. Note the concern and sentiment when an event associated with children that isn't terrorism occurs. Are we prepared – not militarily, but emotionally and politically – in case something more horrific happens in the US? How do you start such a conversation and how do you stop the end-result from being a multi-layered travesty?