You may recall that we ran a story about Egyptians’ need to tool-up in the face of armed aggression in our This Is What Happens to a Disarmed Populace: Egypt Edition. More than a few members of our Armed Intelligentsia had little sympathy for the protestors gunned down by the government, or my argument that all people have the right to armed self-defense, no matter how odious their politics. [NB: defense not offense.] Regardless of how readers feel about the advisability of adding guns to the volatile mix in Egypt, added they are. “The violence that has engulfed Egypt in the past week has brought weapons on to the streets of the capital – in the hands of civilians – in a way that people say they have never seen before, and that shows signs of escalating,” the national.ae reports. Strangely (or not), civilians getting guns are bypassing the country’s restrictive legal purchasing process . . .
“They were attacking people with automatic machine guns,” said Shezli Nour, 41, a doorman for an apartment building. He estimated he saw 25 people carrying weapons. “It was like a massacre. I’ve been living here for 12 years and I’ve never seen anything like this – we didn’t know who was shooting whom.”
He said that he and thousands of other local residents, mustering sticks and knives, drove the throng back. But, if he had had a gun, he said he would have fired it. “If the situation continues, the people will try to protect themselves,” he said. “What will a stick do in front of a machine gun?”
He added that the authorities were not currently issuing gun licences, but that he planned to buy one on the black market, estimating the cost at about 700 Egyptian pounds (Dh368).
It’s worth repeating: an armed society is a polite society. OK, maybe not polite. But at least one where mutual [reasonably] assured destruction keeps the dogs of genocide at bay.
A fact that even the writer from the not-entirely-free-press-friendly United Arab Emirates acknowledges. As for the closing anti-gun quote, I’d bet dollars to Mishwy that it’s fictional. Or, at the very least, sourced with prior intent. Even if it’s not, point taken?
“It’s very terrible, it’s very new and we never had weapons before like this,” Mr Farag said. He blamed the Muslim Brotherhood for the majority of the violence. But in the chaos, the two said that there were also armed groups, not from the neighbourhood, who were setting up fake checkpoints, and robbing people and threatening them.
As police were nowhere to be seen in the melee, they were grateful for friends and neighbours on the streets – a few of them armed – to keep them safe.
“They were dealing with people respectfully and cheerfully,” Mr Farag said.
However, not everyone thought carrying a gun would help their situation. Mr Farouq, the exchange-shop employee in Zamalek, said that he would never contemplate buying a weapon.
“Carrying a gun is dangerous!” he said. “Maybe I would get angry with someone, and just pull out my gun and shoot them.”