Attacks in Paris: Columbus business owners shocked by violence in home country

Local security experts weigh in after attacks rock French capital

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — The attacks in Paris may be happening four thousand miles away, but for Stan Wielezynski they’re happening at home.

He owns the three La Chatelaine restaurants in Central Ohio with his wife Gigi.

He’s from France, has lived in Paris and still has family back there.

“I have eight cousins, a brother and a half brother there in France,” he said.

He’s following what is happening in the country he called home until he moved to the United States in 1985.

It’s confusing why these terrorists chose France as a target, Wielezynski said.

“France is there because it has a lot of history and interest in the Middle East, which is right now kind of in trouble,” he says. “The only thing we know is there were four attacks and maybe 20 people total which have put the whole country in terror,” he said. “And that’s the whole question we’re asking right now is how can you have 20 people, 50 people maximum putting the whole country of 50 million people in terror and the whole world in terror?”

It’s confusing for everyone.

Jeffrey Lewis, OSU Senior Lecturer in the Undergraduate International Studies Program, said he thinks such an attack would be “more difficult” in the US logistically.

“The simple fact that you had seven teams training together, carrying out attacks simultaneously and carrying out different types of attacks, bombings, small arms fire and a hostage taking situation, that’s extraordinary,” he said.

Matt Mayer, visiting fellow with the American Enterprise Institute, said he is concerned about more violence after European citizens come back from training with the Islamic State.

“We saw about a year ago that there were all these folks that were leaving Europe, going and training down in Syria and fighting with ISIS,” he said. “We knew that they would come back and they’d come back as cold-blooded killers. Our concern is that this may be the first wave of those folks that have returned from Syria and are now going to start unleashing this violence on the streets of Europe.”

Mayer said it would be more difficult for foreign terrorists to make it to the United States.

“We have a huge ocean that separates us and after 9/11, one of the things President Bush did well was to push our borders out, not our physical borders, but he made it harder at ports of entry in foreign countries to get on those planes and boats and get here.”

No particular group has been implicated in the attacks.

So right now, all Stan Wielezynski can do is what he’s doing, continue to run his business, continue to monitor what is happening in his native country, and continue to try to figure all of this out.

“We don’t understand, we don’t know what ISIS wants, we don’t know what Al Qaeda wants besides the destruction complete of the west civilization,” he said. “That’s ridiculous. There are other ways we need to do it. Let’s try to go to the source of the problem and fix it. And understand the problem, we don’t know.”

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