While Barack Obama is pushing gun control in the United States and it is the order of the day in Europe, Sweden is putting guns in the hands of Muslim migrants. It’s all part of a government-funded target-shooting program intended to facilitate “integration.”
The effort actually began two years ago, but is just now being reported by certain English-speaking news outlets. And not surprisingly given the recent jihadi attacks in San Bernardino, Paris, and elsewhere, it’s raising some eyebrows — which, in turn, are raising other eyebrows.
American Thinker’s Carol Brown, for instance, calls the program “certifiably insane” and characterizes it as “sniper training.” Responding to this kind of reportage, the liberal Huffington Post states that the word translated as “sniper,” prickskytte, really means “target shooting” in the given context. The Post then writes of the program’s purported purpose: “High school-age Third World immigrants are taking target-practice classes along with other courses to better integrate into Swedish society — which means working and studying side-by-side with Swedish peers and learning the language.”
The logic behind the effort, obviously, involves building bridges and camaraderie between native Swedes and newly arrived migrants. Perhaps the philosophy is that people who play together, stay together. But whether or not this is a fool’s errand, many can’t help but note the hypocrisy.
After obtaining feedback originating with a native Swedish speaker, I can say that prickskytte no doubt does translate into “target shooting” in the given context. And hunting is relatively popular in Sweden — with almost 300,000 hunters out of a population of approximately 10 million — as is the biathlon sport combining skiing and target shooting. So a shooting program wouldn’t come completely out of left field.
Nonetheless, Sweden is notoriously left-wing. On its “Government Offices of Sweden” website, it boasts — in the title area, no less — “Sweden will be one of the world’s first fossil-free welfare countries.” And its gun laws reflect this, being labeled “restrictive.” As an American with permanent-resident status in Sweden told me, he looked into getting a gun license, but the number of hoops one had to jump through was staggering. Among other things, you had to take a hunting course, submit to a psychological examination, and agree to allow authorities to inspect your home any time they wished. The process was so daunting and intrusive that he just gave up. Yet the very people who must play the trained dolphin to obtain a firearm must also fund a program teaching newly arrived Muslim migrants how to shoot.
And the hypocrisy extends across the Atlantic. The Huffington Post sloughs off concerns about the program, going so far as to call conservative reportage “bogus” for using the term “sniper training.” Yet leftists have always warned that teaching youth how to shoot amounts to training killers, and in 2010 the Post itself inveighed against having even the NRA’s “Eddie Eagle” gun-safety course in schools. The Left has also created, and tolerated, the “zero tolerance” school policies that have seen young boys punished for chewing a Pop-Tart into the shape of a gun, shaping their fingers like one, or drawing one on a piece of paper. Yet now they don’t bat an eye at teenage Muslim migrants — who fit our day’s most common terrorist profile — being taught marksmanship skills.
Conservatives, too, should tread carefully. Given that even liberal pundit Juan Williams admitted he got nervous when seeing people clad in traditional Muslim garb on an airplane, it’s understandable that many would find unsettling the idea of newly arrived Muslim youth being given firearms training. Yet conservatives have always emphasized that “guns don’t kill people; people kill people,” and that shouldn’t be forgotten here. Yes, it is impossible to properly vet the Muslim migrants, as I’ve previously reported, and there’s no question some jihadis are among them; moreover, probability dictates that others will develop a jihadist mentality in the future. Nonetheless, the problem is the beliefs they hold in their hearts and minds, not the rifles they may hold in their hands.
Apropos to this is a German study involving 45,000 youths, whose results were reported in 2010. It found that while increasing religiosity among Christian youths made them less violent, increasing religiosity among Muslim youths actually made them more violent. The study’s authors, true to politically correct form, took pains to mention that this is “not due to Islam itself, but to the way it is taught.” Yet this raises a question: Why should it be that, of all the major religions, only Islam would be consistently taught in an incorrect way breeding violence?
As for the current Muslim migrations into Europe, many would say that integration programs or not, shooting activities or not, the West is shooting itself in the foot. In fact, Czech president Milos Zeman just warned, writes the Independent, that “Islamic ‘culture’ should not be taken into Europe, or else ‘it will end up like Cologne’” and that “Muslim integration in Western Europe is ‘practically impossible.’”
And that’s the real issue. One could certainly worry that a Swedish marksmanship program would make for more accurate jihadis, but it won’t make jihadis. That’s accomplished through ideas, not through the barrel of a gun.