It’s an established routine: terrorists commit atrocities, and authorities are “taking action” – against civil rights, that is. It’s no different after the Paris attacks: the European Commission announced in a press release on November 18 that control of firearms would be strengthened. It’s not a new plan; it had emerged after the Paris Hebdo massacre, too, but was apparently shelved.
Yes, the terrorists, as Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said, launch attacks on Europe’s people and values. But Europe can take that. What European values will not survive – certainly not in the long run – are attacks on European values by its own, legal institutions. When fear rules, reason gets into hot water.
People who own arms are an easy target for misguided and misguiding policies. One good way to erode civil rights is to choose a topic where “surely, reasonable people will agree”.
You don’t need to like guns. You don’t need to like people who like guns. But this is what solidarity is about: it’s about joining different people in defending their rights. In this particular case, the point to set out from is to realize that the terrorists who killed innocent citizens in Paris didn’t register their guns before going on their rampage. This is not about terrorism or about protection from terrorism; it’s about rights. Tomorrow, it may be your rights that are called into question. As car drivers, as bungee jumpers, as smokers, or as pacifists.
Do your bit to make sure that terrorism won’t win: protect the rights of people you may not agree with, but who are your fellow European citizens.
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» Je suis Charlie, Jan 8, 2015