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How can anyone be a bystander while someone is stabbed? Mark Steyn
Steyn Online ^ | 12 Sep 2003 | Mark Steyn

Posted on 09/12/2003 7:26:42 PM PDT by Rummyfan

How can anyone be a bystander while someone is stabbed? By Mark Steyn (Filed: 13/09/2003)

On September 11, 2001, the first individual to be named among the dead was the wife of the US Solicitor-General, Barbara Olson, whom I'd sat next to at dinner a couple of months earlier. On September 11, 2003, I woke to the news of the death of the Swedish foreign minister, Anna Lindh, whom I also sat next to a couple of months ago, at a conference. I can't claim anything other than the most casual acquaintance with either lady, but even an accidental proximity to the victims of terrible murder is sobering.

Miss Lindh was a charmer, even if you didn't agree with a word she said. It wasn't until afterwards that I found out she liked to refer to Bush as "the Lone Ranger" and that she'd complained about America dropping bombs on six al-Qa'eda terrorists in Yemen. She believed in the "Swedish model", a phrase that to Don Rumsfeld probably means Anita Ekberg, but that Swedes understand as the most advanced form of European cradle-to-grave welfare democracy.

But, for the second time in as many weeks, I find myself wondering where European statism is heading. In France, where the death toll in the brutal Gallic summer is now up to 15,000, the attitude of Junior to the funny smell coming from grandma's apartment was the proverbial Gallic shrug and a demand that the government do something about it. On Thursday, Swedes, though more upset, took much the same line:

"This can happen to anyone, anywhere," said Annika, described as "a 24-year-old bystander", at the scene of the attack. "She should have had bodyguards."

There seem to have been an awful lot of bystanders to Miss Lindh's stabbing - in broad daylight, in a crowded department store, after being pursued by her assailant up an escalator. Granted that many of the people bystanding around were women, it still seems odd - at least from my side of the Atlantic - that no one attempted to intervene or halt the blood-drenched killer as he calmly left the store. I'm inclined to agree with Jimmy Hoffa that I'd rather jump a gun than a knife - and even Jimmy's luck ran out eventually - but, if just a handful of the dozens present had acted rather than bystanding, Miss Lindh might still be dead, but her killer would be in jail and not en route, like Olof Palme's, to becoming yet another man that got away.

"It's terrible wherever it happens," said Fredrik Sanabria. "But you think you would be safe from this kind of violence in a country like Sweden."

Really? Why would you think that? Sweden's violent crime and murder rates have been going up, up, up over the past quarter-century. But just about every Swede quoted in every news story seems mired in what National Review's Dave Kopel described, after 9/11, as "the culture of passivity". The lone exception was Lanja Rashid, a Kurdish immigrant. "If I had been there at the stabbing, I would have ripped his face off," she said. "How could people just stand back and watch?"

You can blame it on a lack of police, as everyone's doing. But Miss Lindh's killer didn't get away with it because of the people who weren't there, but because of the people who were: the bystanders. When I bought my home in New Hampshire, I heard a strange rustling one night and, being new to rural life, asked my police chief the following morning, if it had turned out to be an intruder, whether I should have called him at home. "Well, you could," said Al. "But it would be better if you dealt with him. You're there and I'm not." That's the best advice I've ever been given.

This isn't an argument for guns, it's more basic than that: it's the difference between a citizen and a nanny-state baby. In Lee Harris's forthcoming book Civilization And Its Enemies, he talks about the threat of societal forgetfulness: "Forgetfulness occurs when those who have been long inured to civilized order can no longer remember a time in which they had to wonder whether their crops would grow to maturity without being stolen or their children sold into slavery by a victorious foe."

But Anna Lindh would have thought that was just American cowboy talk, too raw, too primal to be of relevance in Europe. After 9/11, my wife bought me a cellphone, so that, in the event I found myself in a similar situation, I could at least call my family one last time. It's not much use up here in the mountains, so I never bothered getting it out of the box. If I ever am on a hijacked plane, while everyone else is dialling home, I'll be calling AT&T or Verizon trying to set up an account.

But, of course, no one will ever hijack an American plane ever again - not because of idiotic confiscations of tweezers, but because of the brave passengers on the fourth flight. That's why the great British shoebomber had barely got the match to his sock before half the cabin pounded the crap out of him. Even the French. To expect the government to save you is to be a bystander in your own fate.


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: annalindh; apathy; assassination; assassinationplots; barbaraolson; civilization; leeharris; lindh; loneranger; marksteyn; marksteynlist; murder; olson; passivity; stabbing; steyn; theloneranger; welfare; yemen
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Steyn Alert!
1 posted on 09/12/2003 7:26:43 PM PDT by Rummyfan
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To: Pokey78; quidnunc
Ping!
2 posted on 09/12/2003 7:27:18 PM PDT by Rummyfan
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To: Rummyfan
...whom I'd sat next to at dinner a couple of months earlier. ... whom I also sat next to a couple of months ago...

Remind me never to dine with this fellow.
3 posted on 09/12/2003 7:32:01 PM PDT by Russian Sage
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To: Rummyfan
I truly love this man of words.
4 posted on 09/12/2003 7:32:54 PM PDT by Conservababe
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To: Rummyfan
Now, now, Mark... the Swedes were simply acting as they have been taught to act. Like sheep.
5 posted on 09/12/2003 7:34:25 PM PDT by wizardoz (Bomb Hollywood!)
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To: Rummyfan
Steyn at his best. The rest of the media, if they even noticed that there were bystanders, evidently didn't think anything about it.
6 posted on 09/12/2003 7:36:00 PM PDT by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: Rummyfan; Pokey78; knighthawk; JohnHuang2
To expect the government to save you is to be a bystander in your own fate.

Steyn, the one and only.

7 posted on 09/12/2003 7:37:28 PM PDT by TopQuark
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To: Rummyfan
"To expect the government to save you is to be a bystander in your own fate. "
8 posted on 09/12/2003 7:38:05 PM PDT by gcruse (http://gcruse.typepad.com/)
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To: Rummyfan
This isn't an argument for guns, it's more basic than that: it's the difference between a citizen and a nanny-state baby.

Take care of yourself first and let the state take care of you second or even third.
Good advice at any time.

9 posted on 09/12/2003 7:38:19 PM PDT by Just another Joe (FReeping can be addictive and helpful to your mental health)
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To: Rummyfan
The lone exception was Lanja Rashid, a Kurdish immigrant. "If I had been there at the stabbing, I would have ripped his face off," she said. "How could people just stand back and watch?"

Unilaterist cowboy.

10 posted on 09/12/2003 7:43:40 PM PDT by Roscoe Karns
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To: Rummyfan
This man is one of the best minds in journalism today. He is wonderful.
11 posted on 09/12/2003 7:49:04 PM PDT by ItisaReligionofPeace ((the original))
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To: Roscoe Karns
The Kurds appear to be good folks.
12 posted on 09/12/2003 7:50:10 PM PDT by ItisaReligionofPeace ((the original))
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To: Rummyfan
Oh, someone will notify the authorities!
13 posted on 09/12/2003 7:52:59 PM PDT by UnklGene
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To: Rummyfan
"When I bought my home in New Hampshire, I heard a strange rustling one night and, being new to rural life, asked my police chief the following morning, if it had turned out to be an intruder, whether I should have called him at home. "Well, you could," said Al. "But it would be better if you dealt with him. You're there and I'm not." That's the best advice I've ever been given."

With the exodus of so many liberal tax emigres from Massachusetts, New Hampshire is home to fewer of these 'understanding' police chiefs.
14 posted on 09/12/2003 8:00:15 PM PDT by thegreatbeast (Quid lucrum istic mihi est?)
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To: Rummyfan; BartMan1
The idea that this Swedish statist was a random victim, as was reported elsewhere, does not ring true to me.

Islamism is loose in Europe.

Once the politicians who don't fear it are gone, those that do fear it will show the world a new definition for tyranny.

15 posted on 09/12/2003 8:01:12 PM PDT by IncPen
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To: Rummyfan
in broad daylight, in a crowded department store, after being pursued by her assailant up an escalator.

I hadnot heard that.

I thought she was either stabbed by someone when she resisted them grabbing her purse or money, or else a stealth assasin, who got away because it wasn't noticed she was stabbed.

On the other hand, the medical reports said she had arm wounds, which are common in defensive i.e.fighting off an assailant.

Sounds like an assassination, and not by a professional. SO yes, it does sound like it could be AlQuada or another nutso assassin who was poorly trained, not a random act of violence.

16 posted on 09/12/2003 8:06:56 PM PDT by LadyDoc
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To: Rummyfan
It wasn't until afterwards that I found out she liked to refer to Bush as "the Lone Ranger" and that she'd complained about America dropping bombs on six al-Qa'eda terrorists in Yemen.

Many of us knew all about that. I used to ask if she was related to Johnny Walker Lindh? No tears shed here.

17 posted on 09/12/2003 8:11:01 PM PDT by montag813
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To: Rummyfan
Sweden's violent crime and murder rates have been going up, up, up over the past quarter-century.

Sveedun a target country for a million middle eastern wogs?...wherver they go they leave a trail of dead in their wake... They love taking advantage of "enlightend people"..those whose rabid devotion to inclusiveness tolerance and diversity and whose dedication to an open society means letting everyone do what evey their evil little hearts desire... They simply "have" to give terrorists complete access to their society and their children... other wise they could be called "intolerant" "bigoted" "racist" something they seem to prefer death to vs being called those kinds of names...

18 posted on 09/12/2003 8:11:09 PM PDT by joesnuffy (Moderate Islam Is For Dilettantes)
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To: Rummyfan
it still seems odd - at least from my side of the Atlantic - that no one attempted to intervene or halt the blood-drenched killer as he calmly left the store

They were waiting for the Telescreens to annouce Big Brother's next commands.

19 posted on 09/12/2003 8:13:49 PM PDT by montag813
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To: Rummyfan
I will never understand the Swedes. They are such strange folk. It must be the climate.
20 posted on 09/12/2003 8:15:01 PM PDT by Palladin (Proud to be a FReeper!)
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To: Rummyfan
"But, of course, no one will ever hijack an American plane ever again - not because of idiotic confiscations of tweezers, but because of the brave passengers on the fourth flight. That's why the great British shoebomber had barely got the match to his sock before half the cabin pounded the crap out of him. Even the French. "

Great insight.

21 posted on 09/12/2003 8:20:11 PM PDT by Think free or die
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To: Rummyfan
"But it would be better if you dealt with him. You're there and I'm not." That's the best advice I've ever been given.

Yup!

22 posted on 09/12/2003 8:20:11 PM PDT by The Mayor (I have to change my tagline, I've been Taglinus FreeRepublicused again : ))
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To: Rummyfan
Steyn's great, as usual.
23 posted on 09/12/2003 8:24:49 PM PDT by GOPJ
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To: ItisaReligionofPeace
I agree with you. The late, great Michael Kelly has an heir. His name is Mark Stein. And I do not say that lightly.

Congressman Billybob

Latest column, "Paying the Wrong Piper," discussion thread on FR. Article is also on ChronWatch.

24 posted on 09/12/2003 8:37:18 PM PDT by Congressman Billybob (Everyone talks about Congress; I am doing something about it.)
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To: Rummyfan
"This can happen to anyone, anywhere," said Annika, described as "a 24-year-old bystander", at the scene of the attack. "She should have had bodyguards."

Some breathing human being actually said this?

Ms. Annika, would the bodyguards even have a right to inflict any harm on would-be attackers? In England, individuals don't, and their bodyguards probably don't either.

25 posted on 09/12/2003 8:39:24 PM PDT by litany_of_lies
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To: Rummyfan
The tragedy of socialism is the abandonment of the individual. Imagine that! -- the cure-all state trades your life for the sake of the rest. That's like you're up against Utah Beach, and you turn around and your buddies are all hollering for your success from their boats offshore, as you walk the Nazi firing line. Americans who threw themselves at Normandy didn't do it for God and country, they did it for Mom and Dad, and then for God and country. If they had to do it for someone else, say, FDR, they'd have never gotten on the boats.

Imagine if Dubya tried to sell the Iraq war by saying that Saddam was a danger to the USofA. He'd have gotten as far as an Al Franken punch line. No, our soldiers did and do it for themselves first, then God and country. If it were the other way around, we'd be glorifying our soldiers' entrance to heaven, rather than crying over their each and every exit. There's no such thing as a suicide bomber in America.

Ferners will never understand it. I tried to explain it back in March to a Mexican friend by telling her that we were going to war in Iraq not because of WMD or the UN resolutions or anything else, but because I was afraid, and 250 million other Americans felt personally, themselves, afraid and under attack. She'll never understand.

Give yourself to the State, and nobody gives a damn for you, not even yourself. The lesson of the "no vacancy" signs at French morgues this summer has been lost to global warming. The crisis came not in death tolls, but in the treatment of the dead. A people that are fed by their government will expect the government to bury them, too. Oops, nobody showed up for the funeral.

Thank God for American individualism.
26 posted on 09/12/2003 8:43:19 PM PDT by nicollo
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To: Rummyfan
picture
POLICE OFFICER: All right. Hold it right there.
KRAMER: What?
POLICE OFFICER: You're under arrest.
JERRY: Under arrest? What for?
POLICE OFFICER: Article 223-7 of the Latham county penal code.
ELAINE: What? No, no. We didn't do anything.
POLICE OFFICER: That's exactly right. The law requires you to help or assist anyone in danger as long as it's reasonable to do so.
GEORGE: I never heard of that.
POLICE OFFICER: It's new. It's called The Good Samaritan Law. Let's go.

Anyone from NY who thinks about this episode now, has moved to the polar opposite of opinion since 9/11. American culture has shifted from this laissez faire "right of every metropolitan to do nothing", Europe's popular culture, hasn't.

This murder is rife for conspiracy theorists. List the groups who opposed her or could gain advantage by her murder. Evil pro-Euro Yes camp, rabid muslims, far-right NO camp, neo-nazis, rabid enviromentalist lone nutso, Jorge Soros, ECB, Swede nationalists, trade unions, etc. "Warren commission Swede style" might wake up some of the Swedish population from their cradle to grave slumber. I hope there isn't a Sweidsh Oliver Stone "made" out of this tragedy.

27 posted on 09/12/2003 8:46:24 PM PDT by JerseyHighlander
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To: IncPen
I would like to see some enterprising media type interview each of the bystanders at this slaughter, and probe them one by one as to their thoughts as they watched this go down.

Steyn is right. I will bet that a large number of them thought that the police would be there any minute to get this guy -- and they never came.

The thing that plays into this, I think is something that the military has always been aware of , but you rarely here it spoken of amongst civilians. A soldier (and similarly, a citizen), when faced with overwhelming violence, has to be taught to defend himself. It is rare to find an individual who instinctively strikes back. Especially if he is in a crowd, the individual watching violence approach instinctively freezes , and assumes a posture least likely to call attention to itself. It is the instinct of prey, and it happens so often on the battlefield amongst undertrained and underled troops that it is a truism.

Sentient reporters would recognize this as the behavior of the bystanders at that mall, and in seeking to understand it and explain it, would go a long way toward teaching us something about human nature.

28 posted on 09/12/2003 8:50:03 PM PDT by BartMan1
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To: Rummyfan
Steyn nails it again :-)

Thanks for the great post!
29 posted on 09/12/2003 8:56:26 PM PDT by Tamzee ("Big government sounds too much like sluggish socialism."......Arnold Schwarzenegger)
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To: Rummyfan
This isn't an argument for guns

MMM, well, ok, then I'll do it. Buy a gun. Learn to use it.

30 posted on 09/12/2003 8:59:23 PM PDT by Shooter 2.5 (Don't punch holes in the lifeboat.)
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To: Rummyfan
BTTT
31 posted on 09/12/2003 9:00:31 PM PDT by knews_hound (Out of the NIC ,into the Router, out to the Cloud....Nothing but 'Net)
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To: joesnuffy
What, exactly does Wog mean? I know here in the UK it is considered an unacceptable thing to call people. Is it not so in the US or does it mean something positive?
32 posted on 09/12/2003 9:01:10 PM PDT by Prodigal Son
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To: BartMan1
It seems to me that people are generally less willing to get involved, even if the situation doesn't involve violence. As an example, this summer I was at the beach with my kids and mother. We were chatting with some other folks when we noticed that a swimmer was removing a buoy that marked the safe swimming area. The swimmer carried the buoy off to his nearby car. Two of us followed the fellow, made note of his car tag number, and asked him what he was doing. As it turns out, he had a marked municipal car and was removing the buoy for repairs. He appreciated being stopped by concerned citizens. He told us that he'd removed at least a dozen buoys over the summer from nearby beaches and that this was the only time he'd been questioned. Had he been a common thief, his action would have cost taxpayers hundreds of dollars, and perhaps compromised swimmer safety.

I don't understand why people are so reluctant to get involved, but we see it on a lot of levels. Not a healthy phenomenon.

33 posted on 09/12/2003 9:05:11 PM PDT by Think free or die
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To: BartMan1
Aye, insightful comments. This is the exact same phenomenom that took place on the first three planes on 9/11. There have been classic studies done on this in the past. If I recall, one interesting note from the studies was that someone from a rural background was more likely to intervene than someone from a city background. Perhaps this correlates to the Kurdish woman's sentiments?
34 posted on 09/12/2003 9:05:31 PM PDT by Prodigal Son
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To: Prodigal Son
What, exactly does Wog mean?

Short for Worthy Oriental Gentleman. The Brits tried to stop more disparaging names and ended up with Wog.

35 posted on 09/12/2003 9:15:32 PM PDT by MARTIAL MONK
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To: Prodigal Son
What, exactly does Wog mean?

Short for Worthy Oriental Gentleman. The Brits tried to stop more disparaging names and ended up with Wog.

36 posted on 09/12/2003 9:16:06 PM PDT by MARTIAL MONK
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To: Rummyfan
bump
37 posted on 09/12/2003 9:17:05 PM PDT by mcenedo (lying liberal media - our most dangerous and powerful enemy)
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To: Rummyfan
From what I rember that the "Lone Ranger" was a good guy! Let's hope that the President keeps it up!
38 posted on 09/12/2003 9:18:47 PM PDT by Knightsofswing (sic semper tranyis [death to tryants!!])
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To: Rummyfan
In Lee Harris's forthcoming book Civilization And Its Enemies, he talks about the threat of societal forgetfulness: "Forgetfulness occurs when those who have been long inured to civilized order can no longer remember a time in which they had to wonder whether their crops would grow to maturity without being stolen or their children sold into slavery by a victorious foe."

I am adding this book to my "Must Have" list.

I have been preaching this for the last ten years at least although I just call them "over civilized." It is not that they are cowards, violence has just been so far removed from them that they have no idea what to do when it breaks down the door.

And so they dither and delay trying to find a "civilized way" to deal with an uncivilized enemy. And in the mean time people just keep on dying. And they try warnings and people just keep on dying. And they want to try this or that because it is a “softer” approach and people keep on dying.

By the time that they can actually be moved to do something the body count is through the roof and then they cluck and shake their heads at the people who actually saved them because one of the bad guys got a boo boo.

They make me want to pound the walls and scream.

Sorry for the rant.

39 posted on 09/12/2003 9:21:30 PM PDT by Harmless Teddy Bear (Retribution is inevitable. Sometimes, it's just not a good time to sing Kum-by-yah.)
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To: Rummyfan
There seem to have been an awful lot of bystanders to Miss Lindh's stabbing - in broad daylight, in a crowded department store, after being pursued by her assailant up an escalator.

Bet she wouldn't have complained if the Lone Ranger showed up about then.

Becki

40 posted on 09/12/2003 9:39:16 PM PDT by Becki (Pray continually for our leaders and our troops!)
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To: nicollo
15,000 dead in a minor "Heat Wave" is a Total Cultural Failure--& speaks Volumes about the Nature of the "Civilization" espoused by such a "Culture."

Doc

41 posted on 09/12/2003 9:40:54 PM PDT by Doc On The Bay
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To: Think free or die
I don't understand why people are so reluctant to get involved,

Well, if that young man was stealing the buoy and happened to be a minority, you may have been charged with a hate crime. I know it's a bit of an exageration, but lots of kooky things we would have scoffed at five or ten years ago are now true

42 posted on 09/12/2003 9:50:41 PM PDT by StriperSniper (The slippery slope is getting steeper.)
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To: Rummyfan
These people have had self reliance bred out of them as they suckle on the breast of the state.
43 posted on 09/12/2003 9:50:45 PM PDT by vpintheak (Our Liberties we prize, and our rights we will maintain!)
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To: Prodigal Son
I know here in the UK it is considered an unacceptable thing to call people...

Odd, that, considering the term has its origins in Britain. The term is acually an acronym standing for "Westernized Oriental Gentleman", and dates from Victorian times...

the infowarrior

44 posted on 09/12/2003 11:22:04 PM PDT by infowarrior
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To: Palladin
I will never understand the Swedes. They are such strange folk. It must be the climate.

Yep, hard to believe that these are the descendants of the mighty Vikings. Olaf Trygvesson must be spinning in his grave.
45 posted on 09/12/2003 11:48:16 PM PDT by Arthalion
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To: Rummyfan
it's more basic than that: it's the difference between a citizen and a nanny-state baby.

Brilliant!! LOL!!! and I loved this as well:

But, of course, no one will ever hijack an American plane ever again - not because of idiotic confiscations of tweezers, but because of the brave passengers on the fourth flight. That's why the great British shoebomber had barely got the match to his sock before half the cabin pounded the crap out of him. Even the French.

46 posted on 09/12/2003 11:59:58 PM PDT by lawgirl (Running from the Grand Ennui - Papa Nez)
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To: Rummyfan
Most excellent!
47 posted on 09/13/2003 12:23:47 AM PDT by ValerieUSA
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To: Arthalion
Probably most of the fierce Vikings left Sweden and settled somewhere else after their long voyages (or else died in the process).
48 posted on 09/13/2003 12:27:53 AM PDT by LPStar
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To: infowarrior
I will have to ask about some more to see if my perceptions on this are correct. I know for certain that the term 'gollywog' is definitely a unPC. The gollywog was apparantly a doll of some sort that used to come with marmalade jars. Apparantly it was black.
49 posted on 09/13/2003 1:14:41 AM PDT by Prodigal Son
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To: Rummyfan
One name comes to mind... Kitty Genovese.

Mark
50 posted on 09/13/2003 1:18:01 AM PDT by MarkL (Get something every day from the four basic food groups: canned, frozen, fast and takeout)
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