We have been in Germany for 30+ years, and there isn’t a country in the western hemisphere with stricter gun control than here. Regulations cover from how to store a gun to when to use it. Licenses separate the hunter from the home owner. Which brings us to yesterday’s shooting in Hanau, Germany.
Hanau is situated approximately 45 kilometers from Frankfurt. I am very familiar with Hanau because until 2008, it was home to one of the biggest US Army installations and depots in Europe. It is also home to a few thousand Turks, Kurds, and immigrants from the Middle East. Yesterday’s massacre was premeditated and calculated. The perpetrator targeted two hookah lounges frequented mostly by Kurds. The polizei eventually caught up to the nutcase and they assumed he killed himself and two more people in his house. He left a note. He didn’t like immigrants. No surprises there.
The polizei found a cache of arsenal in his vehicle and other weapons at home. Which brings me to the opening of this rant: how could this guy buy weapons and openly transport them in the trunk of his car when Germany has the toughest gun control? This brings us to the conclusion that most anti gun activist seem to conveniently miss; if one wants to kill, one will find a way and means of doing it. In recent years, the weapon of choice in London has been the knife, machete, or a vehicle. So far no one has come out against any of these three weapons. But the band goes on playing the gun control swan song.
Murderers do not normally pick protected targets. Schools, churches, restaurants, and unprotected public places are fodder for these nut cases. The constant harping on more regulation and gun control is no deterrent to one bent on killing someone. There are over a 100 gun regulations in the US. The majority of gun owners are law abiding citizens. You would not know it if you listened to the shrills of some of the current candidates running for office. They want to be more like Europe, they claim. How has that worked for Hanau? Hanau is in the news because the number of victims is in double digits. As of today, 10 have died. But Germany has had its share of gun related violence which we also conveniently choose to forget.
In the early 70’s and way into the late 80’s, the Red Army Faction or Baader Meinhof Gang, managed to kill several airmen on Rhein Main AFB, and several high ranking US officers in Berlin. They targeted anyone they remotely suspected of being “capitalist”. They went after bankers, politicians, and the US Military. For years, we never left our house and got into our vehicles without checking behind our tires and under the cars for anything suspicious. That was normal for the US military families living in Germany. But I digress. The Red Army Faction were a far-left terrorist group who went on a rampage for over three decades. They carried bombs, guns, explosives, and any other weapon of choice that killed the most human life. They mostly used Russian arsenal which some alleged that the KGB was providing through Eastern Europe. Although never proven, they were probably funded by most socialist regimes in the Eastern bloc. How they managed to run amok carrying enough ammunition to blow up buildings is beyond belief, especially since Germany enacted its strict laws soon after WWII. But carry they did.
All the regulations and political rhetoric in the world will not stop anyone’s intent to kill. After a major shooting we get the rest of the story. The killer was generally never “normal”. Often pissed off at the world, unaccomplished, and seemingly attracted to the bizarre. The weapon is not the issue. The individual is. In the US, it is difficult to get seemingly normal individuals to turn anyone in for fear of law suits or worse. The 2009 Fort Hood shooting by an Islamic Major Nidal Hasan could have been prevented. After the shooting, colleagues came forward to admit that he had become weird. He started making anti-US remarks. They were apprehensive in turning him in. Why? Because they would have been labeled racist Islam phobic. That is the trend. The bad guys get a pass and the good guys die. But that’s a story for another day.
Whether people knew the Hanau murderer or not, I am certain that he did not become a far right wing bigot over night. It has also come to light that he imagined “voices”. Where have we heard that before? I am certain that if he had not used guns he would have found some other method to kill. He went out that night wanting to kill. So what is the answer? There is none.
Which brings me to the pinhead politicians on both sides of the proverbial pond thumping the pulpit on gun control. There aren’t enough back ground checks and bans to be had or made that would have prevented this or any other shooting. The bad guys will find a way to get arsenal. They will literally beg, borrow, steal, and kill to get it. There aren’t enough laws in the western world that would have stopped Hanau or any other shooting. The hypocrisy of the anti-gun lobby stands alone. Those on the campaign trail have armed guards. Hollywood elite live behind thick high walls guarded by armed goons. They have no problem with their protection, its yours they don’t want. Typical socialist mantra; doing without is only for others not for us.
All terrorist attacks carried in France, the UK, Germany, Netherlands, and the climate friendly Northern Scandinavian countries used guns. A lot of guns. Those gunned down could not defend themselves or had anyone within a reasonable distance to defend them. Everyone here in Germany is aghast and wondering how in a country where one needs a permit to take a leak, a crazy man could amass a car load full of armor and without anyone getting wind of it. My answer: because he could. The old adage; where there is a will there is a way, is not just whimsical, it is true.
Bavarians are the biggest gun owners in Germany because they hunt. Hunting season is highly regulated in typical German beauracratic fashion. Special gun locked cabinets must be purchased or insurers will not insure either the person or the house. Licenses and permits are difficult to get and authorities can demand personally owned guns at any moment. It is very difficult to bring a gun into Germany. Foreigners who want to bring guns into Germany must first apply for a permit which takes months. If allowed, the gun has to be transported in an approved container. The zoll polizei will meet the individual at the airport, and paperwork is drawn up on the spot. Accountability for the weapon lies strictly with the owner. One would think that such an air tight system is impenetrable. Obviously not, and without hesitation, I would add that although in my opinion, Germany has the best gun control in the world, it still has gaps that can never be plugged. In a country of approximately 82 million with open borders to several other countries, shit happens. In recent years, shootings in Germany have increased albeit the fact that regulations remain the strictest. A testimony to the fact that if one wants to kill he or she will find a way.
The US population is approximately 334 million. That is without counting the several million illegal immigrants. Attempting to stop gun violence in the US is like chewing on water; equally senseless. Even if the country bans every gun in the country, shootings will still occur. Bad guys don’t normally ask permission to carry. Thinking that more regulation will deter drug dealers, nut cases, and other genre from shooting people up is not only naïve, it is downright stupid. So what is the solution? How can we stop the shootings? We can’t.
As long as movies and television shows remain open season to violence, and video game moguls keep on cashing in on violent games as amusement, and children are raised by technology instead of parents and God; we remain kicking dust like a horse in dry pasture. Guns have always been part of life and in the US, our rights. What changed is the world’s attitude toward parenting, personal responsibility, and beliefs. Our parents and grandparents drew a line between good and evil and discipline built a sense of expectations in us. Many children have been raised with guns. But they were also raised with principals and respect. Something this new world generation is sorely lacking.
As I wind down my rant, I say a prayer for those who were victims of a horrific act of hatred in Hanau. Will it happen again? Probably. Can we prevent it? I doubt it. If it isn’t a gun it will be something else. Unfortunately it’s the world we live in.