Europe: complaint about released criminal equals incitement to violence
The Brussels Journal reports on a case where a rape victim fought back, a blogger asked why the rapist (convicted of a prior rape) had not been removed from society, and otherwise citizens themselves might have to do so -- and was forced to delete his post lest it incite violence:
"It is taboo in Europe to say that if the state fails to protect the citizens, the citizens should do so themselves. There is no Second Amendment in Europe. Even European politicians from the so-called "right," like Mr. Sarkozy, are horrified at the suggestion that citizens should be allowed to protect themselves against criminals. Last year, Mr. Sarkozy told French radio: "Security is the responsibility of the state. I am against the private ownership of firearms. If you are assaulted by an armed burglar, he will use his weapon more effectively than you anyway, so you are risking your life.""
UPDATE: actually, this is not Hobbesian. Hobbes maintained that the ONE right you could not give up was the right of self-defense. It was to him the only "inalienable" right. After all, you had given up rights (including the "right" to kill in vengence or just for the heck of it) in order that the sovereign would protect you against others exercising those rights. So you couldn't agree to give that up, too, or you would be giving the sovereign the only thing he had promised to provide you.
This is something far beyond Hobbes. More like you give levithan everything, and hope for the best.
Welcome, Instapunditers! BTW, if you're looking for a Christmas present for yourself or another gun activist, you might consider my documentary film "In Search of the Second Amendment." (See the link in the left margin). If you want presents, the first one is 24.95, and subsequent ones are only $10.
Sounds as if Mr. Sarkozy would be right at home on the DC city council.
Posted by: W. W Woodward at December 7, 2007 04:06 AM
Of course European governments don't want citizens to think they can defend themselves against criminals. If you let them do that, they might think they can defend themselves against the government...
Posted by: Bill Twist at December 7, 2007 06:47 AM
"If you are assaulted by an armed burglar, he will use his weapon more effectively than you anyway, so you are risking your life."
WHAT? On what basis does he assert that the burglar would "use his weapon more effectively than you anyway"? Does the burglar go the range and practice regularly with his weapon? If guns are illegal, what is his weapon anyway? A knife or crowbar? I suppose the statement might be true where guns are outlawed, because then the law-abiding citizens will not be familiar with guns, so any familiarity the criminal has with his gun might enable him to use it "more effectively" than the totally gun-ignorant law-abider.
And as far as "risking your life" - well, isn't it better to risk your life by actively defending it, than to risk your life by leaving it up to the good graces of some two-bit low-life hoodlum not to kill you, please, please, don't kill me?
Nonsensical talk like that literally makes my gut clench.
Posted by: Bill at December 7, 2007 07:08 AM
"His text was deemed an incitement to violence."
Damn straight! It should be, when the government refuses to let you defend yourself and says that is the job of government, but then refuses to protect you. Jeez, my head is going to explode. I have to stop reading this stuff of I'm going to have an infarction.
Posted by: Bill at December 7, 2007 07:12 AM
"of" in the last line should be "or" - I need an "edit" button.
Posted by: Bill at December 7, 2007 07:12 AM
"He will use his weapon more effectively than you anyway"--
I doubt it. I've got an awful lot of shot-up paper, assorted other targets, and a couple of marksmanship ribbons that say otherwise.
That's not a competition the thug is gonna come out of with a happy outcome, or a pulse.
Posted by: jetfxr69 at December 7, 2007 07:50 AM
If you are assaulted by an armed burglar, he will use his weapon more effectively than you anyway, so you are risking your life
Maybe that's true in FRANCE...
Posted by: dad29 at December 7, 2007 08:02 AM
I, for one do not welcome our new Muslim overlords.
Posted by: The Mechanic at December 7, 2007 08:48 AM
The late 18th Century, when the American Republic was founded, is referred to in both political and literary history as "The Age of the Enlightenment."
The late 20th Century and early 21st Century will surely be known by our future progeny as "The Age of Ignorance and Stupidity."
Posted by: Flash Gordon at December 7, 2007 10:04 AM
Based on frequency of practice there are a lot of American citizens (who, Moi?) more qualified with a pistol than the majority of police, I'm willing to wager the price of a box of ammo on that. The badguys probably don't practice that much either.
Oh and Flash, wouldn't that look better as,
"The Age of Endarkenment" for the 21st century?
Posted by: Doug in Colorado at December 7, 2007 11:15 AM
Mr. Sarkozy told French radio: "Security is the responsibility of the state. I am against the private ownership of firearms. If you are assaulted by an armed burglar, he will use his weapon more effectively than you anyway, so you are risking your life."
Our French friend epitomizes the victim mentality we are struggling so hard to cast off in this country. I certainly do not agree with him; my years of shooting IDPA demonstrate that I shoot faster and more effectively than most LEOs I know...giving me realistic confidence that I could likely meet the challenge of Mr. Sarkozy's hypothetical armed burglar. Mr. Sarkozy would do well to read this article:
Kleck, G. and J. Tark. 2004 “Resisting crime: the effects of victim action on the outcomes of crimes.” Criminology 42(4):861-909.
Posted by: Carl in Chicago at December 7, 2007 11:17 AM
there was a FBI or DOJ study recently that found that bad guys practice significantly more than cops. the bad guys interviewed as part of the study were under the incorrect impression that cops are required to practice constantly, weekly was their assumption if i remember correctly, so they'd go shoot a few times a month at a minimum.
i think sarkozy's statement is aimed at the general public, not specific individuals. hit youtube and search for the french girl (16 i think) that shoots ipsc, if he'd seen that he'd have kept his mouth shut.
Posted by: deadcenter at December 7, 2007 12:06 PM
"He will use his weapon more effectively than you anyway"
He might try. Like a lot of others, I hope all those IDPA, IPSC matches and other range time would pay off in the event I run out of 00 buck for the shotgun and while fighting my way to the main arsenal :-)
What the heck kind of firepower does the average French burglar show up with anyway?
Posted by: Robin at December 7, 2007 12:39 PM
Hey Flash! How about the "Age og Unlightenment"?
Posted by: Jerry in Detroit at December 7, 2007 12:59 PM
You know, the internet closes geographical gaps mighty powerfully.
It could only be a matter of time before enough Europeans (Limies included here), who have been wistfully observing our exercise of the right to armed self-defense, stand up on their hind legs and start bleating for their own little "Second Amendment."
Power to the Sheeple!
Posted by: Tarn Helm at December 7, 2007 01:49 PM
Several years ago I was confronted by a young thug holding a 9mm chrome (not nickel, not stainless, I know the difference)automatic.
He was holding it sideways.
I took my chances, threw the 10 lb bag of quarters I was holding at his face, turned around and ran.
I'm actually not that fast, if he'd tried to chase me he would have caught me. But I knew that if he was holding the gun sideways, he'd never been to the range.
He fired 5 times at me, and never came close. I doubt he knew how to use the sights.
Now I have a CCW and a .45 auto in my waistband. I can put 5 rounds in a 6x9 target at 25 yards in about 4 seconds.
If he tries again, I will stand my ground.
Posted by: dsinope at December 7, 2007 06:45 PM
We are having similar discussions at a mil/gun blog.
Basically, we have forgone Lockean theory of "social contract" where by the citizen gives only some rights to the state and expects it to secure them, but maintains individual rights, such as the unalienable right to life. France and many others are living in the Hobbesian post "natural state" world of the Leviathan where the citizen gives up all their rights to the state, including the inherent right to self defense, in the expectation that the state will defend them and not abuse those rights.
Frankly, people think that their peaceful society is so important that other members of the society should sacrifice themselves in order to maintain the myth that the state functions successfully without the active defense or participation of its citizens. The law is never pro-active, contrary to attempts to make it otherwise. It is, at best, reactive and often too late for the victim.
The more people believe that the state is the responsible party to defend citizens and disbelieve the inherent right to self defense, the less they believe they are responsible for the defense of others in their society. Which is why a known rapist can continue to rape while the state tries to apprehend and punish him (state being naturally slow and ponderous). Or why a gunman can walk into a mall and kill 10 people while everyone cowers, praying its not them next, as they wait a torturous six minutes for the police to arrive.
I am of the opinion that mass shooters feel they can do this not simply because they want the "blaze of glory" but because they see other shooters are able to get away with it with little interference. They are assured by our society the ability to kill as many as they like and get all the media coverage and fame they could never have otherwise. If they were not assured of that because they could be assured of being stopped before they made a grand splash by some other armed person, the thrill might be less appealing. In fact, their time in the limelight would be limited to a quick jot on the back pages of papers and maybe 15 seconds on the nightly news instead of national and international coverage.
But, I also believe the lack of belief in the inherent right to self defense and the emphasis on state responsibility leads to citizens who don't participate in any other fashion including reporting crimes, testifying or attending jury duty. After all, its not their responsibility, right?
Not to become a link hound, but here are our two discussions:
Further discussions on the effect of Locke on the Declaration of Independence and its statement of the right to life (ie, self defense), the right to rebellion and its relationship to the second amendment to follow.
Posted by: kat-missouri at December 7, 2007 06:52 PM
"there was a FBI or DOJ study recently that found that bad guys practice significantly more than cops. the bad guys interviewed as part of the study were under the incorrect impression that cops are required to practice constantly, weekly was their assumption if i remember correctly, so they'd go shoot a few times a month at a minimum."
I see these gangbanger tpes sometimes at the public range outside of the city.
All I see is a bunch of idiots ingraining a lot of bad habits. Yep, shootin' that gat sideways is just the way Col. Cooper taught it!
Practice makes permanent. Perfect practice makes perfect.
Good Training + Good Practice = Ability.
No training or even worse, trained by a rap video or a hollywood crap job movie + Poor practice = Deeply ingrained bad habits.
Posted by: Mike Puckett at December 7, 2007 06:52 PM
This is a not-uncommon trope among American liberals, too.
Many years ago, discussing the Long Island Railroad massacre, I lamented that things might have been different if even one person on that train had been armed.
A (liberal) friend of mine replied, in dead seriousness, that if other civilians had had guns, they would certainly shot _each other_ rather than the gunman.
And that's what she believed.
Posted by: F451 at December 7, 2007 06:56 PM
There's a prejudice among American pistoleros that Europeans, cut off from their firearm traditions, are incompetent shooters. It's not just the one French girl: European marksmen are in the first rank of every competitive shooting discipline. Germany and England, in particular, draw 3 to 4 times as many competitors in their national matches as the US does. Don't underestimate the ability or enthusiasm of gun owners over there. An Englishman shot high score at Camp Perry this year. They're damn nice guys, too.
Posted by: comatus at December 7, 2007 07:12 PM
"comatus" wrote, at December 7, 2007 07:12 PM,
"There's a prejudice among American pistoleros that Europeans, cut off from their firearm traditions, are incompetent shooters. It's not just the one French girl: European marksmen are in the first rank of every competitive shooting discipline. Germany and England, in particular, draw 3 to 4 times as many competitors in their national matches as the US does. Don't underestimate the ability or enthusiasm of gun owners over there. An Englishman shot high score at Camp Perry this year. They're damn nice guys, too."
It is "nice" that a few European countries can boast of a "few" expert shooters.
But there are more important things than bragging rights.
Since gun ownership among most Europeans seems, to us here in the U.S.A., to be more heavily restricted than it is here, it is a safe bet that we have better (and more) civilian marksman than they do, even if ours are not running around the elite international competition circuits of jet setters.
That's one point.
The more important point is that the number of law-abiding U.S. gun owners and Second Amendment practitioners is probably quite a bit larger than the number of exceptional competition shooters who represent the various European countries.
While I agree that there is no need to make excessively snotty remarks about Europeans and their gun skills, it is worth remembering that their ever-diminishing gun rights stand in inverse proportion to the admittedly laudable gun skills of their (few) experts.
To me, that is a far more important issue.
What use are gun skills without gun rights?
Europeans (the English included, though they see themselves as different from the continent) need to aim--en masse--for stronger gun rights and not just aim--as a select few do--at mere competition targets, or else some day there won't be any more non-military European shooting experts.
European marksmen are essentially a vanishing breed, I'd wager, their excellence notwithstanding.
We, on the other hand, are getting more heavily armed all the time.
I prefer our situation to theirs, even if our law-abiding marksmen are busy perfecting their craft in relative obscurity.
Posted by: Tarn Helm at December 7, 2007 10:02 PM
I think that a page out of the left's playbook might be in order. Any government entity that passes a law that prevents you from effectively defending yourself should be hit with a class action by families of murder victims. The state, by preventing the victims from effectively defending themselves, has assumed responsibility to defend them and has failed. A couple of multimillion dollar awards ought to do the trick.
But I am not a attorney. If I were one I would know that there is some type of immunity that prevents governments from paying the price for their stupidity.
Posted by: John D at December 7, 2007 11:00 PM
A burglar or rapist isn't looking for a gun fight, it's a lose-lose proposition for him. He's looking for an defenseless victim. A burglar is going to run at the sound of a slide dropping.
I grew up in rural Texas in a house with no address a mile down a private road. Our nearest neighbor was 1/2 mile away. When we moved in to the house, the local sheriff came by to welcome us to the area and to make sure my father understood that we were responsible for our own security because there was no way the his department could provide rapid response to rural areas. I'm sure this was and still is typical.
Despite the apparent vulnerability of rural residents, violent crime was almost non-existent.
Why you ask?
It was legal in Texas to use deadly force against someone who broke into your home. The sheriff told my dad that if we heard someone around our house and we shot him, to make sure that we dragged the body into the garage before we called the sheriff and that there would be no questions asked.
Those of us who lived out there understood that if we approached a house uninvited and unannounced, especially after dark, we would probably be shot.
Posted by: Quo Vaids at December 8, 2007 12:59 AM
In the end, where does government legitimacy come from? That's the key question. The US answers this by saying that the Creator of the universe endowed us with certain inalienable rights. We loan some of those out to our government and retain others. The monarchies of old in europe had the Creator giving rights to kings who handed them out stingily or generously to the people as they chose to exercise their divine right of kings.
But the monarchies of old are gone, morphing into constitutional monarchies or overthrown by republics. The question of where ultimate legitimacy comes from should have been reassessed, but it hasn't.
Next time you talk to a european, ask where their government draws their legitimacy from and whether there's some sort of coherent system of thought that supports their system of government. The response may surprise you.
Posted by: TMLutas at December 8, 2007 01:10 AM
Thank you for the reminder on Hobbes and the inalienable right to self defense. I think that you did illustrate my point which is that we are giving the leviathan everything by either allowing them to take our right and ability to self defense or by giving it up willingly.
Beyond the danger it poses to individuals, it leads to the danger of being indefensible against despots and invasions. why are we (much of society) willing to give up that ability to resist on any level? That is the question.
Posted by: kat-missouri at December 8, 2007 03:09 AM
re: European shooting skills.
About 20 years ago, I shot with a German Sportpistol club, almost every week for a year. The first time I shot with them, they laughed at me for holding the gun in two hands and shooting quickly. The range of skill levels was similar to what you would find in a similar group here.
I am an average shot with a pistol. When the club competition rolled around I finished in the middle of the pack in slow fire, and a little above the middle in rapid fire. There were 3 or 4 guys who were good enough to be called competitive, several of us in the middle, and a few beginners who could barely stay on the paper at 25 meters.
The percentage of shooters was very small in the total population, and there was much more hostility to the concept of self defense, than in this country. If Europe can ever recover from the debilitating effects of sociallism, they would have the potential to become respectable again.
Posted by: fast richard at December 8, 2007 05:45 AM
Sadly, the beautiful people, with the power of popularity behind them, have already made up their minds. They would rather live as the aristocracy of a dark age, than as mere citizens of an enlightened age. "What's the point of a better life for yourself and your children, if you don't get to see the ugly, unworthy peasants suffer and die, preferably at your whim?" they ask. They are gradually imposing their answer upon everyone, and the world is too blinded by their beauty and wit to see it.
Posted by: Tatterdemalian at December 8, 2007 09:17 AM
"The first time I shot with them, they laughed at me for holding the gun in two hands and shooting quickly."
Similar elitism exists in America.
Self-appointed range masters at the Arvada Rifle and Pistol Club would hassle me for shooting "more than five rounds at a time," even though I was just there practicing, and not participating in a target shooting match.
When I brought this up at a general meeting, the "Master Trainer" (or whatever his title is) stated that he had no interest in sanctioning "combat" shooting at the range. Of course, he also believed that 9mm is too fast to be effective, but the .357 Super Vel was a great man stopper.
It's why I'm no longer a member there, and now have no place to shoot. It's also when I started to lose interest in the gun culture in this country.
Sometimes we're our own worst enemy.
Posted by: Anonymous at December 8, 2007 10:44 AM
I think the problem is that we're divided on the issue. (Too many people have been brainwashed into thinking guns are icky nasty things. But that's always been true.)
As long as the bad guys have guns - as they always will - as they do in gun-free England - most of the population will be defenseless. On the other hand, I don't think it's practical to go to a fully-armed population.
What we need to do is come to a realization that deadly force in self defense is lawful. There should certainly be an investigation - as there is with every policeman who kills somebody (though only 1 or 2 have ever been convicted (except for the Border Patrol Agents - but that's another story)).
Posted by: ZZMike at December 8, 2007 03:44 PM
"If you are assaulted by an armed burglar, he will use his weapon more effectively than you anyway, so you are risking your life."
"Nonsensical talk like that literally makes my gut clench."
Not me, I busted a gut laughing. Silly Frenchmen!
Posted by: winston at December 9, 2007 10:17 AM
I think Mr. Sarkozy's comment refers to the unionized, European Professional Thief (not to be confused with the Eurocrat Officialdom) who has made a career of Thiefdom and probably holds graduate-degrees in Weapons & Knifery, Counterfeiting, and other various certificated Professional-level courses (like Safecracking and Pimping).
These guys are pros and only other pro-Cops can handle them - not the Leetle Peeples!! To Eropeens, Americans with Le Guns are just a bunch of illiterate, guitar-playing Cowboys at home on the Range but not in Le Tres Sophisticated Citie.
Posted by: DirtCrashr at December 10, 2007 12:33 PM