Innocents. That's what we talk about every time there is a terrorist attack; every time a murderous maniac destroys others in the name of some God that they pretend to serve.

We talk about the innocent people who have had their lives ravaged and ruined by evil. That is what terrorism is. It is the killing of innocents.

There is nothing more innocent than a child. Nothing. That is not to say that the deaths at the Bataclan or in Brussels were any less tragic than those that occurred on Bastille Day; or that the 84 adults who were killed on Thursday night in Nice should be grieved less than the ten children who found their lives cut short just as the holidays were beginning. It is not at all. It is simply to say that the attack in Nice has shown that nothing is sacred any more. Nothing. Men, women, children... to fanatics like Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, we are no more than human bowling pins.

A baby carriage is left on the beach a day after a truck mowed through revellers in Nice. Photo / AP
A baby carriage is left on the beach a day after a truck mowed through revellers in Nice. Photo / AP

This September, it will be 15 years since we entered the murky world of modern terrorism: suicide bombers with scant regard for their own lives let alone anybody else's. First they came for the businessmen and women. Then eventually they came for the young, carefree concert goers.

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Now they have come for the families. For the children. Perhaps this should not be a surprise given they have been doing it for years in Syria and Iraq. But in the western world, it is a monstrous first.

The murderer had been stopped earlier on Thursday, and asked what he was doing in the area. He had told police he was selling ice cream. It was, of course, that sort of day, that sort of event - where families would gather and eat delicious desserts while celebrating the unity of the French people with a fabulous firework display in a beautiful seaside town.

How heinous, how obscene that Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel should think he had the right to destroy that, ploughing through crowds in a 19 tonne lorry, apparently spraying bullets through the window as he zig-zagged down the Promenade des Anglais driven by hatred. One minute people were filming the fireworks. They next they were filming dying bodies strewn across the road.

A teddy bear sits between flowers at a makeshift memorial in Nice. Photo / AP
A teddy bear sits between flowers at a makeshift memorial in Nice. Photo / AP

Eyewitnesses said that the murderer rammed children with the same indifference as he did adults. He crushed them in their buggies, despite desperate pleas that he spare them.

A tiny body lay covered in the road, as lifeless as the doll next to it. An American man and his son were killed together. Many of the dead were crushed with such force that nothing could be done to save them.

It is thought that many of the surviving children have been orphaned. As Francois Hollande said: "Many there were young children."

People react near the scene where a truck mowed through revellers in Nice. Photo / AP
People react near the scene where a truck mowed through revellers in Nice. Photo / AP

His emphasis was on the word young - that these were helpless beings who could not fend for themselves.

"They were there to be joyful, to share their happiness and their delight, and who were in so doing struck down, taken out, just so that one individual could be satisfied, and his cruelty could be satisfied. We have several injured as well who saw terrible things, who have terrible injuries, and who are suffering psychologically. And there are people who were not traumatised physically, but who for their whole lives long will bear the scars of these scenes of horror they saw. They will not be reminded by their injuries, but by seeing bodies torn apart in front of their very eyes."

Harjit Sarang, a lawyer from London who was at the event with her children, tweeted about what she had gone through, what she had seen.

A toy rabbit and a candle that were placed on the steps of the French Embassy in Kiev, Ukraine. Photo / AP
A toy rabbit and a candle that were placed on the steps of the French Embassy in Kiev, Ukraine. Photo / AP

"Running through crowds in Nice with kids and terrified. Never taking kids to a public event again. Finally back to hotel. Hate this! F****** scariest thing ever running through crowds with boys. Got back to hotel and couldn't get in for people seeking refuge! "Can't stop shaking. Hate that my boys had to experience this. Why did I take them. Why did they do this and why the f*** is this happening!"

This is the loud despair of all parents - of all people, really - unsure of the world that our children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews are being born into. Do we now stop taking our families out of the house? Do we place our kids in protective bubbles? Gilded cages? Do we cancel our holidays, and is it terrible to even be thinking about holidays? This is what the terrorists want - to make us question seemingly safe decisions; to paralyse us with fear.

The children killed and caught up in the Bastille Day attack have lost their innocence. For their sakes, we must now make sure that no more do.