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Quote of the Day: Charlie Hebdo Edition

From Richard Fernandez. To be honest, I’m haunted by this conundrum:

One of the notable things about the Charlie Hebdo terror attack in Paris was how swiftly it was carried out. “It lasted five minutes,” said one witness. The cops were already there — guarding the newspaper offices. Two of the cops were killed.

The assailants gained admittance by forcing a cartoonist to enter the door security code at gunpoint. A large percentage of people — maybe nearly everyone — would have done the same thing, yielded to that threat, in a moment of fear. A certain smaller percentage, perhaps 2 to percent, would for some reason refuse; and refuse unreasonably without quite knowing why. Which of the two groups one belongs to nobody knows until the day.

Read the whole thing. I would think that an outfit as threatened as Charlie Hebdo would have anticipated a scenario where a code is entered, but where an enterer could indicate it was entered under duress. But that would probably require more depth of defense than 21st century French society is capable of providing. I still want o know whether the police assigned were armed police. I’ve heard multiple reports, I don’t know how credible, of police responding, but not having weapons to deal with it, could not confront the situation.

12 Responses to “Quote of the Day: Charlie Hebdo Edition”

  1. AnOregonian says:

    “I still want [t]o know whether the police assigned were armed police.”

    If you go to Google Street view for the address, (11 Rue Nicolas Appert, 75011 Paris, France) you’ll see two cops on the corner, both appear to have a holstered pistol. Of course that’s only one snapshot in time, but for that one snapshot they were armed.

  2. Ian Argent says:

    I had been under the impression that Continental police didn’t generally mess around with pistols (except possibly as symbols of rank) – that if they bothered to arm up, they went to SMGs.

    Now, perhaps standing post and not expecting anything, a pistol is a good deal lighter than even a small SMG.

    • Joe_in_Pitt says:

      I always found it interesting that while a lot of European police didn’t have issues slinging SMGs in public places like airports, they also were known for using the guns chambered for .32 ACP as a standard sidearm well into the 1970s.

  3. Spade says:

    My home alarm system has a code that disarms it but calls for police if I’m forced to disarm the system.

    Since I never use this code, I honestly don’t remember what it is. :-/

    Could be a similar thing.

    • Robert says:

      It should be programmed as your regular code entered backwards, to make it easy to remember.

  4. AndyN says:

    A report I read elsewhere said that the cartoonist who punched in the code had her child with her. I’d like to think that if armed men who seemed to be planning a mass murder threatened my life to get me to help them, I’d be strong enough to say no. I’ll obviously never know unless I’m put in that situation. On the other hand, I’m nearly positive that I’d sacrifice the lives of everyone I’ve ever worked with to save one of my children. I hope that poor woman can find peace.

    • Jake says:

      This. What someone will do while alone vs. with a child can be a vast difference.

      Heck, I have no kids, and I carry a gun on me everywhere. There’s a good chance I would have cooperated when threatened by two guys with AK’s, probably body armor, and (according to some reports) a frikken’ rocket launcher. If I was feeling very brave, and very lucky, and thought it might actually do some good, I might shoot them in the back as they went in the door. Maybe. But that’s a pretty massive level of “outmatched” to try and overcome before dying.

      But I’m not likely to sacrifice myself if I don’t think it will do any good.

  5. RAH says:

    This type of no win scenario is common. It is the problem of hope. Hijackers uses it a lot. It is the hope of everyone that if they just don’t do anything they will survive. This woman and child did survive. If you have already made up your mind that you will die then the threat has no effect.
    That is what happen on the jet on 9/11 which went down.

    Just the situation of a gunman holding a hostage at gunpoint to force you to put down your gun. Don’t. Just shoot the bastard and if the hostage dies, so be it.

    No one can ever force you if you just determine NO. Same for an arrest . Of course you probably will die. Sometimes with a conceal carry does mean survival but no guarantees.

    • Ian Argent says:

      If she and her child survived, then her letting them in … worked.

      • Aces says:

        You don’t bargain with terrorists. In this case she lived, but having to live with the knowledge that she contributed to the death of her co-workers. Not much of a life…

        • Matthew Carberry says:

          Her *child* lived. I won’t be the one to say which choice would be harder to live with for a parent.

          • Ian Argent says:

            There’s not a one of my coworkers I’d trade my child’s life for, singly or in groups. And it’s not like I dislike any of them – but they’re not my child.

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