Just seven — trained, armed with illegal fully-automatic Kalashnikov AK-47 rifles and explosives — managed, in less than 30 minutes, to kill or wound nearly 500 citizens on Friday night. That’s a ratio of nearly 70 victims for each shooter.
How is that possible? How could that have happened? Paris has been on high alert since the Charlie Hebdo and restaurant shootings in January. France and its capital city have strict gun control laws — so strict that even the police are unarmed. Islamist refugees have been flooding into France: poor, hungry, hardly threats to the community.
Julien Pearce, a French radio reporter, was inside the Bataclan concert hall Friday and watched, horrified, as the attack commenced and the bodies piled up:
I [saw] two terrorists … with AK-47s entering the concert hall and [start] firing randomly into the crowd.
It lasted for 10 minutes. 10 minutes. 10 horrific minutes where everyone was on the floor covering their heads. [I] heard so many gunshots.
The terrorists were very calm … they reloaded their weapons three or four times. They didn’t shout anything. They didn’t say anything…
They began shooting people [who were] on the floor … I [saw] 20 to 25 bodies lying on the flooring … [some] people were very badly injured with gunshot wounds …
It was a bloodbath.
It was only when armed police showed up that the terrorists either blew themselves up, or were killed by the police.
Much handwringing and declarations of vengeance emanated from French politicians who appeared to have been caught by surprise. After all, as recently as 2012 those very same politicians enacted even more draconian gun laws in order, they said, to keep this from happening again. That those laws don’t work was evidenced five days after the law became effective on March 6, 2012. Mohamed Merah — a French jihadist of Algerian descent — went on a shooting spree, killing seven people in three separate attacks in and around Toulouse, before a police sniper took him out.
The first thing French President Francois Hollande did, after the necessary public handwringing and obligatory statements of sorrow and grief for the press, was close the borders in order to keep jihadists from entering his country. The fact that jihadists were already there didn’t seem to impress him. And then he ordered the first curfew Paris has had since the end of the Second World War. That, of course, restricts the freedom of the innocents.
ISIS, otherwise known as the Islamic State, claimed responsibility for the attacks, officially announcing in Arabic, English and French, that:
France and those who follow its path must know that they remain the principle[sic] targets of the Islamic State....
Having dared insult our Prophet, having bragged about fighting Islam in France and striking Muslims ... with their planes (which have not helped them in any way)....
This attack is just the start of a storm, and a warning for those who wish to draw lessons.
Those lessons have been increasing in number over the past few years, but the politicians are determinedly either deaf, dumb, or evil:
There was the November 12 double suicide bombing in Beirut which killed 43 people, which bore the hallmarks of Sunni militants linked to al Qaeda;
There was the October 31 crash of a Russian-operated jet that killed 224 people, with the Islamic State claiming responsibility;
There were the October 10 twin suicide bombings in Ankara, Turkey, that claimed 95 lives that was attributed to the Islamic State;
There was the July 20 suicide bombing in a Kurdish border town in Turkey that killed 31 people, blamed on the Islamic State by the Turkish government;
There was the Jun 26 attack by an Islamic jihadist in a beach resort in Tunisia, who killed 37 people the very same day that another decapitated his boss in an industrial plant in France;
There was the April 2 attacked by heavily armed members of the Islamist State who killed 150 innocents in Kenya; and
There was the March 18 attack by several armed jihadists at the Bardo National Museum in Tunis, Tunisia’s capital, killing 21.
And, of course, there were the two attacks in January in Paris, one at the offices of the Charlie Hebdo magazine and the other at a Jewish grocery store, which resulted in the deaths of 17 more.
And that’s the record for 2015, so far.
Just what more is needed to teach French and other countries’ government officials that their feeble attempts to protect their citizens simply aren’t working?
Even the French police have been demanding that they be allowed to carry more and heavier weapons since the Hebdo/grocery store attacks.
Attempts to remove Kalashnikov rifles from France have failed miserably. In 2009 French police reported that they had seized 1,500 illegal weapons and another 2,700 in 2010. But this has scarcely made a dent in the more than six million of them floating around Europe, according to the Switzerland-based Small Arms Survey.
According to Europol, the European Union’s law-enforcement agency, “Many firearms are trafficked [illegally] in Europe come from the western Balkans after being held illegally after recent attacks in the area.” The black market in France is enormous where “a Kalashnikov or a rocket launcher can be acquired for as little as 300 to 700 Euros [$325 to $750].” Especially coveted is the upgraded version of the Russian-made Kalashnikov, which is being shipped from Russia into France through the Balkans, driving down even further the black market prices of the older models, according to Kathie Lynn Austin with the Conflict Awareness Project.
Of course, common sense should infrom us that it is not guns in the hands of the law-abiding, but civilian disarmament, that makes civilians more vulnerable to attack by armed terrorists — including the terrorists who were able to kill or wound nearly 70 people per terrorist on Friday night without interruption in Paris, where Frenchmen are denied the right to keep and bear arms. As GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump noted in Beaumont, Texas, on Saturday:
When you look at Paris — the toughest gun laws in the world — nobody had guns but the bad guys. Nobody. Nobody had guns.
[The terrorists] were just shooting them one by one..
I’ll tell you what ... if they had guns ... if they were allowed to carry ... it would have been a much, much different situation.
Trump also referred to cities in the United States populated by politicians eager to trample gun rights in order to fight gun violence:
I hear it all the time. You look at certain cities that have the highest violence, the highest problem with guns and shootings and killings, Chicago, as an example ... the toughest gun laws in the United States: nothing but problems.
In writing in The New American following the Hebdo/grocery store shootings in Paris last January, Alex Newman expressed his frustration that nothing was likely to change, despite the continuing lessons being taught by the Islamic State:
The bloody massacre [in January] illustrates once again that only a heartless tyrant or a fool would willingly deny potential victims of murder, rape, or terrorism the right to own and use effective tools such as firearms to protect their lives, their colleagues, and their families.
If those politicians truly had the best interests if their citizens at heart, they would permit them to own and use firearms. Then, when the next attack from the Islamic State happens, they will at least have a fighting chance to end it before it turns into a massacre. Until then, it is reasonable to expect that the Islamic State will keep its promise: to continue to teach those lessons with attacks upon unarmed innocents as part of their jihad.
Photo: AP Images