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European Notions of Self-Defense

Miguel has a rather graphic story from Spain, where a bystander was hit by a ricochet and lost an eye when a police officer had to fire at a knife wielding suspect. The reaction is one I have experience with:

The prosecution is also demanding monetary compensation to Mr. Castro for the loss of the eye and to Manjon for being shot by Officer Sanchez. According to the prosecuting attorney, Officer Sanchez did not need to use his firearm to stop the attack because he could have used his night stick or talk the subject down or him and his fellow officers rush Manjon and subdue him.

I have had European people I know express this exact same sentiment in a similar circumstance. For me it’s very difficult to understand why you’d expect a police officer to risk life and limb to save the life of someone who’s decided his life isn’t worth spit. I’ve pondered whether police officers are just not very highly respected in European culture, or whether Europeans put a higher value on the lives of violent criminals. Either way, it’s difficult for an American to understand.

13 Responses to “European Notions of Self-Defense”

  1. Andy says:

    I’m hoping it is just a matter of the Europeans having not thought it through.

  2. Stew says:

    If this is “civilization,” then I want none of it. Clinging to my guns and religion seems like a much better idea.

  3. mobo says:

    I pretty much despise cops. That said, WTF else was this cop supposed to do? Threaten his attacker with a whistle?

    I don’t call them EuroPEONs for nothing.

  4. terraformer says:

    Either way, it’s difficult for an American to understand.

    Well, difficult for some Americans to understand. Others see this as utopia.

  5. Weer'd Beard says:

    I was having a discussion with a left-wing friend who happens to get the whole RTKBA thing. He asked me about why it seems that gun control seems to be a left-wing ideal.

    I mentioned that in the ideals of socialism every individual is considered equal in the system. (ideals, not practice)

    Its mutually exclusive to both say we’re all equals and not to pass judgement on others…but be able to judge when its OK to use lethal force.

    Either way, screw them, and let them stew in their own juices.

  6. TS says:

    …or him and his fellow officers rush Manjon and subdue him.

    Who volunteers to be the meatshield to get stabbed while the other officers jump him?

  7. Maria says:

    A bit devil’s advocate here but in some areas of Europe (not all, and in fact I wouldn’t think Spain to be one of them. Portugal sure.) there’s an expectation of police officers to act and be trained to act according to higher standards then the criminal thugs who’ve decided their lives aren’t worth spit. So gunfire, and even pulling your gun out if you have one, is not the go to procedure when not confronted by an immediate threat. It is generally frowned upon and seen as something hot heads, and rookies do.

    Also from talking to my own family, European sensibilities to people in uniform tend to be culturally strained by past experiences. The respect for police is not part of culture simply because too much shit has been started on the backs of men in authoritarian uniforms. It was an interesting, eye opening discussion when my uncle tried explaining it to me. Lots of emotional baggage, some of it quite contradictory, floating around when it comes to the police and uniformed men with guns.

    That said, fuck Manjon and his defense.

    • Jack says:

      It’s a bit telling that for cultures with such, justifiable, emotional baggage about “uniformed men with guns”, they all live with gun laws that range between total bans on civilian firearm ownership (UK) to merely banning carry of firearms (Italy and Germany have CCW but good luck getting if you’re not connected).

      Thus, they’re all governed by people who are only happy with uniformed men having guns.

      Says a bit about European sensibilities and what the governed learned from history versus what the goveners learned.

    • Pyrotek85 says:

      “So gunfire, and even pulling your gun out if you have one, is not the go to procedure when not confronted by an immediate threat. It is generally frowned upon and seen as something hot heads, and rookies do.”

      I would agree, but I would also think that a knife is an immediate and deadly threat.

      “Also from talking to my own family, European sensibilities to people in uniform tend to be culturally strained by past experiences. The respect for police is not part of culture simply because too much shit has been started on the backs of men in authoritarian uniforms. It was an interesting, eye opening discussion when my uncle tried explaining it to me. Lots of emotional baggage, some of it quite contradictory, floating around when it comes to the police and uniformed men with guns.”

      This part really baffles me. I had always heard that they generally have a low opinion of police and military, and think it weird that America generally honors them. At the same time, it seems so many of them are perfectly content to let the people in uniform, the ones they have a mistrust of, have a monopoly on force. I’d love to hear a rationalization of it, it’s always confused me.

  8. David says:

    I battle on this issue with my Brit relatives on every visit. For some reason, being a victim and getting rapped or kill is acceptable while fighting back is seen as being violent.

    I just don’t get it.

  9. SDN says:

    Actually, that attitude is pretty common over here in cities with a large leftard population. I still remember an incident from Montgomery AL where our local Jesse Jackson wannabe wondered why an officer needed to shoot a perp who tried to run him down with a car.

  10. Firehand says:

    Jeff Cooper wrote of an associate who’d gone to a European nation(he didn’t say, I think it was Germany) on a training job, and went through one of their ‘shoot/don’t shoot’ scenarios. Terrorist comes out a door- masked, subgun, the works- and aims at you, Cooper associate put two COM. They stopped the video and chewed him out for lethal hits, “We shoot for arms or legs.”

    From things heard since, I’d say it’s both “You have a uniform, you’re supposed to be superior and able to deal with things!” from some, and- especially in the years since- very little respect for their versions of Officer Friendly from others. Added to the trained-in “You used a gun? You barbarian!” bullshit from both.

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