Members of the French élite and its political class may preen about how their country is in favor of gun control as well as poised against the death penalty — thus showing themselves far above the Wild West mentality of those clueless Yanks — but average French citizens apparently think differently when one of theirs comes face-to-face with crime in the streets — something you would have trouble seeing sometimes in Dan Bilefsky's New York Times article.
Early on the morning of Sept. 11, a 67-year-old jeweler in Nice, France, raised his unlicensed semiautomatic pistol and shot a teenager in the back as he and an accomplice sped away on a motor scooter with gems they had stolen at gunpoint … the jeweler, Stephan Turk, was arrested last week and charged with murder.So a vigilante shoots a "teenager" in the back, we learn. Why don't we hear that the jeweler was "punched and kicked" by both the "youth" and his accomplice, as they forced their way into his jewelry shop? Doesn't the NY feel the need to report that?! Sure it does! But only 11 paragraphs into the story…
The case has set off a national debate in France about how to define self-defense, and about the decision to charge Mr. Turk. Many have rallied behind the jeweler, lauding him as a hero who was protecting his life and property, while others have accused him of being a reckless and unfeeling vigilante.… a Facebook page created to support Mr. Turk by an anonymous author has attracted about 1.6 million “likes” — a figure so high that some social-network experts have challenged its veracity.
Well — but of course. High figures are always — and only — challenged when they seem to support the right…
At first Mr. Turk was held in police custody, but after a public outcry, he was moved to an undisclosed location under house arrest, wearing an ankle monitorAt this point the International Herald Tribune added a tongue-in-cheek comment (not on the website) — although it made sure to disguise it under unnamed "critics" of the jeweler's:
—a show of empathy that his critics say he did not show his victim.Notice who is, who it is who has become, a "victim". Notice who has become "the" (i.e., the only) victim.
Yes, it is Anthony Asli, a "onetime horticulture student" with — to be sure — "a string of previous convictions for assault, theft and driving offenses". The victim of "Mr. Turk, a prosperous business owner" in a city where, the New York Times has no choice but to note, "400 jewelry robberies occurred last year."
Now let's pick up on the evil and fearful far right forces, including the awful capitalists, the true enemy of the country:
After the left-wing newspaper Libération lamented on Monday that the support on Facebook for Mr. Turk was “worrying” and “unprecedented,” a reader using the name Rantamplan insisted that the wellspring of admiration for Mr. Turk showed that France was dominated by reactionary right-wingers. “Some people feel that property is worth more than a life,” the reader wrote online in the comments section.Only after all that do we get to the 11th paragraph:
Eric Bedos, a Nice prosecutor, told reporters that Mr. Turk was held up at gunpoint by two young men as he opened for business on Sept. 11, and that security-camera video showed him being punched and kicked, and then opening his safe.It's not even Stephan Turk being "punched and kicked", it's not even a "security-camera video [showing] him being punched and kicked", it's as follows; it's "a Nice prosecutor [reporting] that security-camera video showed him being punched and kicked"! How far away from simple factual reporting can you get, disguising it under emotion-lacking "he said, she said, it showed"?!
President François Hollande said in an interview on the French channel TF1 … that he recognized the “exasperation and anger” in the case, but that “it’s up to the justice system to do justice, and no one else.”
Well, that's just the problem, ain't it, Monsieur le Président? When police acting as tax inspectors, i.e., are busy raising money for the French state by ticketing car drivers right and left instead of patrolling (say) the streets of (say) Nice.
The International Herald Tribune decided to change paragraphs around, in order to end the story full of emotion, adding a claim that "a" girlfriend "told Le Monde that she was pregnant at the time of his death" ("a" girlfriend? How many did he have? How many are expecting?) and with a quote from Anthony's dad:
No quotes from Stephan Turk's wife, mistress(es) — if he has any — parents, children, or 3rd cousins…… the father of Mr. Asli said, he did not deserve what happened to him, the newspaper Nice-Matin reported. “He was a little delinquent, a scooter thief,” the newspaper quoted the father as saying. “But he had the face of a child, and no child should have to die like that.”
• For a Nation Used to Giving Americans Lessons on Firearms and Police Trust, France Has Been Amassing Quite a Collection of Bullet-Ridden Bodies
• For a Country Always Giving Yanks Lessons on Civility and Gun Control, There Has Been an Amazing Amount of Kalashnikov-Related Killings
• "Unlike the U.S., guns are tightly regulated in Europe, but the French gangs have armed themselves with weapons obtained on the black market"
• In a Country with Gun Controls Like France, the Kalashnikov Has Become the Thug's Rolex of Choice
• PLUS: this lengthy, dispassionate, in-depth discussion on the issue of gun control:
What Is to Blame for the Connecticut Shooting? Does the Blame Lie with the Right to Bear Arms Or Can It Be Found Elsewhere?