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1/25/2018 7:38:29 AM
Posted: 5/11/2002 3:47:37 PM EST
[url]http://www.nytimes.com/2002/05/11/international/europe/11SHOO.html[/url] Not Only in America: Gun Killings Shake the Europeans May 11, 2002 Not Only in America: Gun Killings Shake the Europeans By DONALD G. McNEIL Jr. PARIS, May 10 - The assassination of the right-wing Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn and a series of mass shootings - at a German school and at normally tranquil local legislatures in Switzerland and France - have shaken the European notion that such incidents happen only in America, and hint at a gnawing sense that Europe's established institutions are unable to address grievances as they once did. Europe has strong gun laws and a long-held conceit that its citizens, if not as law-abiding as those of Singapore, are at least not like gun-toting Americans. Mr. Fortuyn, whose rise in Dutch politics was symptomatic of the resurgent appeal of politicians talking about law and order, was gunned down in a killing that was, as the British foreign secretary, Jack Straw, put it, "completely out of character with what we believe the Netherlands is about." Yet it followed by just a few weeks the assassination in Italy of a senior Labor Ministry official who had been assailed by unions for trying to reform labor laws, indicating that political killing in Europe is scarcely unknown. More shocking for Europeans has been the recent spate of mass killings. In Erfurt, Germany, last month, an expelled student killed 13 teachers, 2 students, a policeman and himself. In Nanterre, France, in March, a psychiatric patient shot dead eight city councilors with no warning or explanation. In September, a 57-year-old man angry over a dispute with a bus driver threw a grenade and fired an assault rifle at the regional legislature in Zug, Switzerland, killing 14. This week in Hungary, two gunmen killed seven people in a bank robbery. Stunned and grieving, some Europeans have taken to re-examining their societies, fretting that they have lost the communal warmth that once prevailed outside their largest cities. Instead, they fear they are leaving their frailest citizens feeling isolated in an indifferent, money-driven marketplace, which is widely described as an American pathology spreading with globalization. Some blame the United States outright, saying it exports gun-driven violence as blithely as it does software and Boeings. Calls for banning blood-soaked video games, Hollywood movies and hip-hop music videos are just as loud as calls for gun control; this week the German government proposed restrictions on violent computer games. "These killings are read as signs of a diseased society," said Heather Grabbe, research director for the Center for European Reform, a British research institute. "There's a sense of losing the close-knit communities that keep people from doing this kind of thing." Although overall crime has risen only slightly in the last decade in Western Europe, criminals have become more aggressive. Unable to hot-wire well-secured cars, they hijack them at gunpoint. House burglaries are down, but muggings are up. -- continued --
Link Posted: 5/11/2002 3:49:05 PM EST
Last year, in two surveys using different criteria, France surpassed the United States in crimes per capita. That shocked the French, who tend to refer to high-crime areas with such phrases as "a real Bronx," or "a Chicago" - a crime-as-Americana vocabulary common across Europe. "In Holland, when things get violent, we have an expression: `This is an American situation,' " Lousewies van der Laan, leader of the Dutch Liberal Democratic Party in the European Parliament, said after Mr. Fortuyn's killing, adding: "That was the reaction. People were saying: `What is this, the Wild West? What is this, America?' " White Europeans are also feeling a threat from angry out-of-work teenagers among their darker-skinned immigrant populations - whether from Pakistan, Suriname, Algeria, Turkey or Senegal - who often identify with the tough-talking young black Americans they see on MTV. Every European country has a hard-core hip-hop scene. One of the top songs in Sweden right now is a rap number about guns and power, delivered in Swedish except for recognizably American swear words and gangsta accents. Menacing graffiti, muggers prowling subways, gang brawls in shopping malls and other signs of urban hostility are coming to European cities as they did to American ones decades ago. Residents are jumpy enough to have made crime an issue in virtually every election. By American standards, Europe still has very few murders. France's per-capita rate, for instance, is one-eighth that of the United States, said Alain Bauer, who teaches criminology at the University of Paris. Even in historical terms, France, like much of Europe, is very safe. "Four centuries ago, we had 100 to 150 homicides per 100,000 citizens," Mr. Bauer said, citing estimates made from church death certificates. "Now it's around two. "We're still very, very low," he said. "But these big shootings reveal a general level of violence that is rising." The Nanterre, Zug and Erfurt killings publicly punctured the myth that Europe is gun-free. Other than Switzerland, where former soldiers keep their assault rifles at home, France is Europe's most heavily armed country. By one measure, 23 percent of households have firearms - compared with 8 percent in Germany - but those include shotguns used by bird and boar hunters and family relics. Stricter French gun laws have slashed legal sales - to 100,000 now from 300,000 a decade ago, according to the national armorers' association, which represents owners of small shops and custom gunmakers and has shrunk to 600 members, from 1,200. European countries do have strict laws. Even Switzerland, with the loosest, requires a permit to buy a gun from a shop, while a mere written contract covers a private sale. Britain outlawed pistols in 1997, a year after a man with four licensed ones shot 16 children to death in a school playground in Dunblane, Scotland. French licenses require a police and medical check and membership in a gun club, and they expire after three years. -- continued --
Link Posted: 5/11/2002 3:50:05 PM EST
But enforcement is a problem. The permits for the two 9-millimeter pistols and a .357 Magnum owned by Richard Durn, the Nanterre killer, had expired, but he still had them, even though he had once threatened a psychiatric social worker with one. Police checks do not catch killers with no records. Robert Steinhäuser, the 19-year-old Erfurt killer, obtained his pistol and pump-action shotgun legally by joining a gun club. He stockpiled ammunition and even warned a friend not to go to school on April 26, the day he arrived in a black hood and roamed from classroom to classroom, shooting teachers in the head. Although such crimes are becoming more common in Europe, the willingness to commit them is still often seen as a Satanic influence seeping over from the United States. Mr. Steinhäuser's taste for death-metal music and bloody video games disturbed Germans, and the chief of the national police union said after the killings that "so-called American conditions have reached us." Edward Luttwack, a fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington who has written about crime in Europe, even drew a specifically American connection to the weapons used in the Nanterre and Erfurt killings. Pump-action shotguns, .357-caliber Smith & Wessons, even Glock pistols are the kinds of weapons glorified in movies from "Dirty Harry" to "The Matrix." Glocks, he said, are Austrian, but the notion of firing two at once is a movie fantasy. "These aren't hunting weapons or grandpa's military pistol lying around," Mr. Luttwack said. "These are cult weapons that don't have a natural place in Europe. For a German kid to own a pump-action shotgun is the equivalent of an American kid having a belt-fed machine gun. This is American media imagery that has an impact in Europe." Copyright 2002 The New York Times Company
Link Posted: 5/11/2002 5:48:23 PM EST
Some blame the United States outright, saying it exports gun-driven violence as blithely as it does software and Boeings. Calls for banning blood-soaked video games, Hollywood movies and hip-hop music videos are just as loud as calls for gun control; this week the German government proposed restrictions on violent computer games.
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They should ban that crap here too.
"These killings are read as signs of a diseased society," said Heather Grabbe, research director for the Center for European Reform, a British research institute. "There's a sense of losing the close-knit communities that keep people from doing this kind of thing."
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I totally agree, but this has always been the case, has it not?
White Europeans are also feeling a threat from angry out-of-work teenagers among their darker-skinned immigrant populations - whether from Pakistan, Suriname, Algeria, Turkey or Senegal - who often identify with the tough-talking young black Americans they see on MTV. Every European country has a hard-core hip-hop scene. One of the top songs in Sweden right now is a rap number about guns and power, delivered in Swedish except for recognizably American swear words and gangsta accents. Menacing graffiti, muggers prowling subways, gang brawls in shopping malls and other signs of urban hostility are coming to European cities as they did to American ones decades ago. Residents are jumpy enough to have made crime an issue in virtually every election.
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They obviously don't respect an artist's right to artistic expression or appreciate the good things brought to society through MTV. They are so misguided.
Link Posted: 5/11/2002 6:05:27 PM EST
[Last Edit: 5/12/2002 5:05:00 AM EST by Maynard]
Link Posted: 5/11/2002 7:34:18 PM EST
[Last Edit: 5/11/2002 7:35:12 PM EST by mattja]
It's truly amazing how much crap the "enlightened" Europeans will put up with, especially the English. There was this guy on English TV complaining how his house was burglarized something like 17 times in the past two years. After the 15th time, he got the idea he should install a camera in the house. So he installs this expensive system and all that. One afternoon while he's at work, the camera caught his next door neighbor's 19 year-old son breaking in and stealing what was left of the family valuables. The thing that got me is the guy was so calm about it, like it was a common occurrence. Seventeen times in two years, no biggie, happens all the time. To some of us, after the 3rd time there would be blood in the streets. Anyway, I get the feeling they feel they have no right to thwart criminal bahavior. "Let the Bobbies sort it out" seems to be their motto. In the mean time, no one is secure in their home. To think they once ruled most of the world.
Link Posted: 5/12/2002 12:51:11 AM EST
Most people had their heads buried up their asses for so long they failed to read the writing on the wall. Our society as a whole has become much more violent, intolerant to eachother, over the years. But instead of taking on issues, we(European polichickens) choose to point the fingers towards the US. "as long as we're not having USA situations we're fine". And by doing so conveniently forgetting that violence is violence on whatever continent you live. They are suprised that with the strict laws there are there are still killings with firearms. As if ....... For now, over here, the polichickens left us(firearmsowners) alone. But sometimes I fear it's a matter of time before some socialist Ahole starts scoring cheaply on us. Kuiper
Link Posted: 5/12/2002 1:15:20 AM EST
Maybe another Jack the Ripper would open their eyes...hmm... ***another woman was slashed to death today, and the police are asking for any information leading to his capture...*** Maybe then they would realize that the ability to defend one's self is a nice thing to have.
Link Posted: 5/12/2002 1:52:31 AM EST
Link Posted: 5/12/2002 1:55:19 AM EST
Never been a victim of crime until I went to Europe. Some immigrant guy who could barely speak English whipped a razor out at me in Amsterdam, demanding my money or he'd kill me. He was really small, didn't touch me, or block my path so I just said "Oh yeah? That's nice. Uh, could you speak clearer? I can't understand you." Until a patrol of police appeared and he ran. The cops seemed indifferent to the situation and walked on.
Link Posted: 5/12/2002 3:04:58 AM EST
Originally Posted By warlord: "These are cult weapons that don't have a natural place in Europe. For a German kid to own a pump-action shotgun is the equivalent of an American kid having a belt-fed machine gun. This is American media imagery that has an impact in Europe."
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Jeez, I don't know. My uncle swears by his Mossburg 12 gauge pump action for Turkey and Geese. [url]www.usord.com[/url] Hmm, a bit pricy, and technically not a machine gun, and at 20 I'm not really a kid. God the Europeans annoy me. We should've just kept them after WW2. Who would've stopped us?
Link Posted: 5/12/2002 3:31:06 AM EST
That is interesting that the Europeans blame "American culture" for their problems. Does Europe have the same problem with the disintegrating family that The US has?
Link Posted: 5/12/2002 3:38:33 AM EST
Originally Posted By mattja: It's truly amazing how much crap the "enlightened" Europeans will put up with, especially the English. There was this guy on English TV complaining how his house was burglarized something like 17 times in the past two years. After the 15th time, he got the idea he should install a camera in the house. So he installs this expensive system and all that. One afternoon while he's at work, the camera caught his next door neighbor's 19 year-old son breaking in and stealing what was left of the family valuables. The thing that got me is the guy was so calm about it, like it was a common occurrence. Seventeen times in two years, no biggie, happens all the time. To some of us, after the 3rd time there would be blood in the streets. Anyway, I get the feeling they feel they have no right to thwart criminal bahavior. "Let the Bobbies sort it out" seems to be their motto. In the mean time, no one is secure in their home. To think they once ruled most of the world.
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Mattja, You hit the nail on the head! MY wife is from Manchester England. I have relatives in England as well. Her family and friends have all been "burgled" (as they say) countless times. It is so damn common that it is infuriating. But it is an accepted way of life for them. The laws are so perverted that people ARE NOT ALLOWED to lay a hand on an intruder in their own home! IOW they have to call the police and let them sort it out. If they harm an intruder the homeowner will be prosecuted, or as they say in England "They'll get done!" The criminals know this and it only emboldens them to commit more home burglary. The country is basically a Socialist s*ithole! The politics of the cities is basically far left wing. The entitlement to more and more Government services is epidemic. The gun crime in Manchester has been climbing ever since they banned handguns. Shootings are almost weekly, home burglaries are rampant, auto theft is very high, assault and violent crimes are much higher on a per capita basis then over here. It it isn't nailed down then it will be stolen! The lesson from this: WHen you tolerate sh*t you will live in sh*t! It is that simple. But we're on the same slow path to destruction here in the USA. John
Link Posted: 5/12/2002 4:11:44 AM EST
I see a lot of raving about socialism here. Anybody ever heard of the US "Marshall Plan" after WW2? The Europeans had good teachers....
Link Posted: 5/12/2002 4:15:17 AM EST
The country is basically a Socialist s*ithole! The politics of the cities is basically far left wing. The entitlement to more and more Government services is epidemic. It it isn't nailed down then it will be stolen! John
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I see you live in NYC.......
Link Posted: 5/12/2002 7:13:35 AM EST
RAF, I still believe the only things that kept polichickens(I never use the word politicians because it implicates a profession which I don't think covers the load in this case) from taking our weapons is that we, as gunowners, keep a low profile. The incidents with mr Pim Fortuyn(who wasn't as right wing as the media would like you to think) and the recent shooting in Germany(which doesn't affect the Dutch legislation wise) are usually seen as acts of individual fuckheads and their personal disturbances are usually seen as the culprits and not so much the instruments they used to get it done. Needless to say, without a consitutional amendment guaranteeing the right to bear arms(which is oh so relative in the US with current legislation) we are vulnerable during election time. Glad guns aren't an election issue, safety is though. But gunownership just isn't on anybody's agenda in either positive or negative perspective. Kuiper
Link Posted: 5/12/2002 12:38:33 PM EST
Originally Posted By liberty86:
The country is basically a Socialist s*ithole! The politics of the cities is basically far left wing. The entitlement to more and more Government services is epidemic. It it isn't nailed down then it will be stolen! John
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I see you live in NYC.......
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Who said I live in NY City? I do not. I live in Long Island. What I said about the cultural and political climate in England is indeed very accurate. Basically whatever the liberal/socialists get their hands on turns to s*it. It really is that simple. It's not ranting but based upon what happends when they have their way over a period of time. NY City is just another example: lousy schools, high taxes, lousy roads, crumbling infrastructure, a large welafe state, and a demograhpic which consists of large numbers of third world immigrants (legal & illegal) and other minority groups, which BTW are having thier illegitmate progency faster at increasing rates. IOW a s*ithole! When liberal/socialists/democraps have their way it always winds up the same: S*IT! Much of England is sh*t and that is the fact! John
Link Posted: 5/12/2002 7:19:50 PM EST
The people of Europe have become weak and corrupt. You'll note that in the present day they have almost zero influence in global affairs. The Soviet Union may have collapsed in on itself but before it did so, it achieved victory in Europe. We have far bigger concerns that we need to spend effort on. Let stupid socialist European politicians blame America for their problems - we could care less what they think and maybe their people might actually wake up to the fact that they are only blaming America to hide their own incompetence. The US needs to write off Europe as a casualty of the Cold War. Besides, they can offer us nothing of value - the gold has moved to Asia.
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