Skip to comments.How can anyone be a bystander while someone is stabbed? 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.
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
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...
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.
"Back in the days of the British Empire, the Brits had a rude word for the natives of the countries they ruled: wogs. It was said to be a derisive abbreviation of the phrase worthy Oriental gentlemen. Later an anonymous wag observed, 'Wogs start at Calais' that is, right across the English Channel. Even the French were wogs!"
I think you're onto something, but it also is a very telling notion about the 2000 presidential results map, the real reason the behind red and blue.