Ruthless savages fell upon a schoolhouse in Beslan, a town in North Ossetia.
Over 150 school children were slaughtered by Islamic terrorists. Total dead so far: 338. That number is expected to rise. The latest speculation out of Russia: it could rise as high as 600.
When the terrorists took over the schoolhouse, they gathered all the children, teachers, and other employees (about 1000) into the gymnasium. They rigged the gym with explosives. They denied food and water to their hostages for days.
The situation went from bad to horrendous in the time it takes to trigger a detonator. Details are unclear and may remain so for some time. Early reports said that the children tried to escape and the terrorists set off the high explosive bombs they had rigged. Other reports say that the terrorists set off the bombs when Russian Special Forces stormed the building.
One thing is clear though. When the massacre started, it included not only detonations inside the gym, it featured Islamic animals machinegunning fleeing children. The aftermath is horrific. One need not know the ballistic effects of 7.62mm projectiles to imagine the slaughter that took place.
Another thing is equally clear. Islamic barbarians are responsible for the savagery -- not the Russian military who died while trying to do good, not the Russian children who died with an innocence that is heartbreaking, not the Russian Duma, not President Putin, not the Russian people.
We are haunted by our thoughts of Beslan; haunted by what those children experienced as they went without food and water ... as they ran for their lives ... as they lay dying.
And we are haunted by the certain knowledge, born of another fateful September day, that the same thing could happen to our loved ones, to our children -- in our towns -- at our schools, stadiums, amusement parks, shopping malls . . .
Homeland Security cannot protect every single place in our country. That is why we must be relentless as we continue to take the fight to these monsters. They are not impressed by the nebulous notion of nuance, nor the defeatist dithering of diplomats at the U.N.
We must never forget that we are in an epic battle between good and evil -- a battle that knows no holiday, an evil that shows no mercy ... not even to our children.
Beslan, you are in our hearts.