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Reader Paul S. writes:

I’m an American currently on vacation in Europe watching news of yet another Islamist radical trying to kill as many as he can – this time on a train where reports abound of the staff hiding behind locked doors. Okay, other than fact that they forgot the passengers (insert French joke here). How is this different than the advice we receive for active shooter situations in the US? Take cover and wait for someone to come and protect you. We know how that story ends, but yet in too many places in the US – New York for example – that’s the only choice you have with CCW effectively unavailable to those not in law enforcement. While we still have a lot of work to do to ensure our most basic civil right, our right to self defense (that is what the 2A is about) is not infringed, at least we have the Second Amendment in the US . . .

As Americans, we generally realize that hoping for an Airman and an Oregon National Guardsmen to put the greater good above all else isn’t much of a plan. Here in Europe, where the definition of civil rights is more likely to be twisted to meet the needs of the accused than those needing protection, hope and a locked door at your back is pretty much all you’ve got.

Unfortunately, based on my conversations here about America and our right to bear arms, it’s going to stay that way for quite some time so the killing of soft (easy) targets will continue.

Speaking with friends and family in the land of the Magna Carta, I’ve come to the conclusion that the great charter of liberty is dead and the EU constitution that ostensibly idealizes life and liberty does a better job of guaranteeing the right to temper tantrums to strike, more than it truly does of providing for liberty and life.

So how did those 2A conversations go? Polite, but followed with hushed tone questions. This was typical; you haven’t actually used a gun, have you? You mean for pigeon shooting, right? Really, a handgun? You’ve had training? Why? You own one? REALLY! Why? And your wife, too? But she’s not even American!

As with the antis, we have some work to do, but with engagement and education we may be able to influence some.

Yes, we’re still viewed with disdain, seen as cowboys obsessed with guns. Although, when events unfold and Americans run into the fire, I think they’re secretly happy to see us and our Second Amendment-driven culture of self defense, whether we’re actually armed or not. To hell with a stiff upper lip, give me a yank in times of trouble.

Our friends in the UK and the rest of Europe could use a Second Amendment of their own to provide the fortitude, and a little firepower, to allow people to fight back and protect themselves. In this long fight against Islamic extremism, I fear they’re going to need it.

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  1. Europe is a lost cause – their governments have successfully turned firearms into objects of horror and have outlawed the very concept of self-defense.

    • Not all of Europe kneels (before Zod?), you have a few spots like the Czech republic and Switzerland which have few restrictions on their population for gun ownership.

      • And Estonia, probably also the other two Baltic states, but I am not that sure about that.

        Estonia makes a bad example though, with their high murder rate. Meanwhile both Czech Republic and Switzerland have lower murder rate than UK (and significantly lower other violent crime rates).

    • …until the next big conflict on their continent, and then they will want the US to send guns again…

    • But why would they when we’ve so often done it For them?

      “Yes, we’re still viewed with disdain, seen as cowboys obsessed with guns”

      I’m sorry, but America’s literature, rights movements, rights Culture as a beacon to the entire world, social cultures, music cultures, inventions of essentially everything since the steam engine, including Powered Flight, and Space Flight, transportation, refrigeration, communications, computing, microcomputing, (could do this all day long), our pulling the disdaining nations’ snotty fat out of the fire every few years, and meanwhile monetarily propping up their self-imploding socialist economies, while raising yet again our wing over their bleating heads to shield them from the school bully, while they’re only just now catching up to, and imitating, our cast-away detritus such as crooning, or Friends, or Miami Vice, …

      Sure, id-iots, we’re all just hayseed cowboys over here.

      Now, return to your gagging nostalgia from HUNDREDS of years ago .. back when anyone cared about who your nothing little nations are supposed to be.

      If anything comes up, we’ll handle it for you like we usually do.

      • Communications? Italian Guglielmo Marconi invented radio.

        Space Flight? Soviet Union made it into orbit first with satellite and shortly after manned. If you’re going to claim Goddard invented rocketry the Chinese beat him about 2,000 years earlier and their method of solid fuels is still used today.

        Aviation? The very French Montgolfier brothers are credited with first piloted ascent with their hot air balloon.

        I *could* go on…

        We’re Americans (at least I am), we’ve invented some really cool sh!t.

        But there are plenty of other brilliant minds on this planet.


        • Hot air balloons do not count as aviation. That’s like holding onto a barrel going down rapids, you barely hanging on for dear life, and claiming it as seamanship. Powered flight, the only kind that matters, was invented right here in the good ol’ U S of A.

        • Strap your ass into a sailplane and go soaring in the Rocky mountains and tell me ‘powered’ is the only flight that matters.

          An activity loved by retired astronaut Neil Armstrong.

          And gliders weren’t invented in the USA.

      • It would be nice if some President, someday, would promise Europe that the next time we have to expend blood and treasure to rescue them from their stupidity, we will thereafter control their governments and their future, ourselves. IOW, we won’t be rescuers, we will be conquerors.

  2. The UK in particular abhors the very idea of self defense, especially defense of home. Defending yourself against intruders in your own home, even though they have laundry lists of former crimes and arrests, will land you in prison and them back out on the street to continue plying their trade. I can’t recall exactly the latest advice to victims of rape, but I think if you look in Webster’s under “Lunacy” it’s the very definition of same.

    Winston Churchill is no doubt spinning like a lathe poor sod.

    • The US should open immigration specifically to the UK to allow those that identify as secret Americans to become actual Americans. The UK can have some Bostonians or NYCers in trade. Everybody wins.

      • Nope. Nope, nope, nope. Because the one thing that the English like more than controlling each other is controlling us. So you’d have a bunch of piers morgans over here to force us to be more limey.. er… I mean civilized.

        • But that’s the genius of the plan, we trade whiny leftists for those that supposedly want to own guns. We make it a condition to even be considered. If we get plants we still break even.

      • Same with South Africans and Zimbabweans fleeing because the new governments have stolen their lands and bank accounts. And Aussies.

    • The irony is that the English invented the modern concept of the common man taking up arms against tyranny during the English Civil War. Middle class and lower class men fought against a ruling class who imposed arbitrary taxation and imposed restrictions on speech and religion.

      • Back in the 1600’s, England had many Christians with very firm Biblical convictions. Cromwell and the other Puritans did a lot of wrong things, but it must be said that convictional Reformation Christianity was central to the liberty movements in both England and America. It is also notable that our form of representative government is very closely related to Presbyterian church polity. Englishmen lost their spines, and their liberties when as a society, they completely abandoned Biblical Christianity. America is doing the same thing at present.

  3. There were three Americans involved, but every time I read something from the PRO column on this topic, they only ever mention the two that were “servicemen”. Why is that?

    • Two were servicemen, the third a college student. There was also a British national and a Frenchman involved in subduing the shooter apparently.

    • Good point. It sounds like the college kid got in some good licks of his own. Still the first two on the guy were fellas that had some training and courage. I think part of the problem in Europe is that for the last 70 years someone else (USA) has paid for their defense, insulating them from the facts of life. I fear that someday when their people wake up to reality it will be to late to save their countries from the marxist statists. They will probably need us to pull their fat out of the fire for a third time…

      • “marxist statists”.

        You mean the Russians, or their half trained puppet insurgents, with their muzzles pointed at the helpless euros’ heads!

  4. Europe does not need a Second Amendment because it would do most Europeans no good at all. Having a gun doesn’t make a person a fighter. To fight, a person needs the will, and most Euros don’t seem to have it. Being ruled by kings, emperors and princes for a thousand years hasn’t done them any good either.

    No, we have a 2A and deserve the 2A because, for most of our history, we have been better than them. Let’s see how long that lasts.

    • LOL, most of the rebellious ones ended up here long ago! Some in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, etc. but we’re the place that overthrew European rule by force of arms and built a successful nation out of the ashes.

    • Having what amounts to 3 World Wars in your back yard, in the span of 150 years, might also explain some of the lack of stomach for it. Case in point, all the French surrender jokes you might have occasion to hear near’bouts – Even I used to indulge the tendency…until I actually read some European history, that is. Nowadays I have a little more appreciation for the culture’s apprehensions when it comes to war and violence – misguided those some of those might be.

      • Yeah, I think those French surrender jokes are silly. The US took about 139,000 casualties in the Korean War, which was a big war. The French took more casualties that that at the Battle of the Somme — one single battle. They lost 600,000 people in WW2. The US lost about 420,000.

        But we’re not talking about war here, we’re talking about self-defense. And most Western Euros can’t do it.

        • They’ve been conditioned by their cultural history, wars, and now their governments, educators and media to rely on government for self defense.

          Taking the initiative, taking action, has been repressed in favor of…hopeful mercy.


          Sounds like the crap were being spoon-fed by the progressive, collectivist statiists and their ignorant co-conspirators on this continent!

        • Ralph

          You need to check your numbers. on French casualties during World War II. At most, according to French figures, 157,000 French soldiers and sailors died in WW2, Another 15,733 died while fighting as members of Vichy French forces (where they were killing Americans in Operation Torch in North Africa) or as members of the German Wehrmacht (33rd WaffenGrenadiers Division) and the French SchutzStaffel (German SS Charlemange Regiment)

          And the French during World War I practiced decimation (the historical definition) pour encourage les autres which means that they executed one out of every ten French soldiers (their own people) assigned to units who had failed their missions. For instance, in the Spring of 1917, the French Army attacked the German Army in the Chemin des Dames offensive and were repulsed with heavy losses. The French Army tried 3400 French soldiers and ordered the execution of almost 550 of them.

          Your 600,000 number is way off unless you are including all French civilians also. If you are, the French government helped turn over 70,000+ French Jews who were murdered by the Germans in concentration camps. How are you counting those?

          I will very happily make jokes at the expense of the French although their true history in warfare is hardly a laughing matter.

        • Your 600,000 number is way off unless you are including all French civilians also.

          @Bud harton, yes, I did. Of course. I guess you didn’t because civilians don’t count.

  5. The euros are really wanting to insult Americans and their ways but hoping that those same Americans will bail them out again.

    I say let the lights go out in europe. Not one more dead American GI for a people that would insult him if they met him on the street.

    • Can’t.

      Europe is our buffer zone, kinda like the Eastern Block was for the Soviets, until the weakened, cowed Soviets gave in to the Reagan supported rebellions that loosened the stranglehold the Soviets had on them. Infighting and disarray within the Soviet Union itself helped promote the Eastern Block countries’ freedom, too.

      The Russians want that ‘buffer zone’ back.

      • So, what Obama-supported rebellions do we have in this buffer zone today that makes it worth our time? I know isolationism gets a bad rap, but I think it has some very valid points.

    • Were not all tarred with the same brush and nothing like the wally Morgan, I lost my pistols in 97 and were going to need something soon, and I regret when I was a younger man not moving to the USA, have family in Oregon, and you have it right and the UK so wrong. The Government here is weak and ass lickers of the EU and the first signs of trouble will pull the ladder up were alright jack your on your own.

  6. “Auf Streife” is a series of police videos you can watch on YouTube. Even if you do not speak a word of german, watch a few of them. The europeans have regressed into adolescence. They have become almost infantile in their helplessness in dealing with any conflict.

    When the current occupant of the White House calls for modeling our gun laws on the approach taken in France, Germany or England you can believe he wants obedient serfs not citizens.

    • “Auf Streife” is “reality” Tv so it is not real. I guess that’s likely to be the same in the US

  7. Well, the Aloha Snackbar incident on the choo-choo train just proves that people can defend heavily armed work place violence types without the need of a dangerous gun. The Europeans are truly a special people and there is not doubt that the vibrant future Ayn Rand foretold for them will be fulfilled in the future.

  8. Europeans have decided on security (or the illusion of security) over liberty. If they want any change, they will need to make it themselves. It will take a new Enlightenment or continental war for them to change their tune, and even that is not a guaranteed result. Either way, we have problems of our own to deal with before we start worrying about someone else.

    • Maybe being overwhelmed by a raising crescendo of aggressive, Muslim jihadists intent on murder will move them in that direction, but my bet is the common euros will be more inclined to just stay home and bury their heads in flowerpots and hope their government can control the mayhem.


      • My suspicion is that there will be massive conversions to Islam within Europe within a few years. They refuse to defend themselves against their muslim population, and it won’t be long until they face “convert or die”. Spoken by some kid with a select-fire AK.

  9. Most of the real men in France and the U.K. either emigrated or died at Verdun, the Somme, and Arnhem.

  10. You’ve put the cart before the horse. The 2ndA exists because there were people willing to fight for it. The will to fight comes first, and Europe sent as many willfull people as possible to the colonies. the largest concentration of people that thought that the old world was run backward ended up here, then they had kids. That’s why Europe has steadily embraced government rule while the US population has resisted it, to the point where being called a socialist has always been an insult. and that’s why the US has the world’s largest gun ownership rates. And why the Vatican has no real authority here…. and I could keep listing things but the point is America was founded by people that thought that Europe was doing everything wrong. Nothing’s changed.

    Europe is a lost cause. Honestly the people of Western Europe that recognize this should move here. We can trade our lefties for their gun owners. I think everyone would be happier.

    • In a nutshell, yep, absolutely!

      It will take another total European ground war at the tip of an authoritarian, oppressive regime to bring out the will to resist, and fight back, from European peoples, except maybe some of those in the former Eastern Block countries who have had more recent experience with repressive regimes.

      Otherwise, the Euros are mostly complacent, reliant, statist believers who are at most moved to holding signs and protesting when they want more of something.

    • It’s going to have to be at least a three-for-one deal. We have way more lefties than Western Europe has gun owners…

  11. I think Europe is going to get to experience a reverse Crusade. Only problem is Europe is too full of sheeple right now to take notice until it’s too late.

  12. The 2A is also a symbol of individual liberty and the defiance of the people against government. To think that Euros could understand that is laughable. They are happy, willing slaves to their mediocre, controlled existences. They’d put their necks in the guillotine before even considering fighting for their lives against government. It’s like trying to instill democracy in the middle east…you can’t force an ideology upon a people who haven’t earned it.

    That said, I do know several Euros who are very envious of the 2A and are very anti government, but it’s certainly not the norm. Also, notice how European resentment of the US has risen the more the US becomes like Europe? My theory…Europeans have always admired our way of life and hate us for abandoning it for Euro styled socialism. There’s now nowhere for them to escape to for more freedom.

  13. The EUnuchs gave up their essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety. If they had instead, purchased guns, they would still have both. Two world wars in their back yard, yet they think good guys with guns is a bad thing?

  14. Yes, europe is so bad that I can wait for it…Walk safely outside at night without the fear of a gunstapo thugs running around terrorizing people in the name of “liberty”.

    Stop using rare tragedies for incidents in the civilized world that happen everyday in america because the the gun lobby and it’s sex slaves the rascist ammosexuals gun-whores refuse any reasonable laws that would have prevent the mass shootings that these same gun-whore thugs caused. And now more people are dead because of the recent tragedy the gun lobby has caused.

    Nobody is trying to confiscate your guns. It is more nonsense from the NRA and the gun lobby to get idiots to contribute to their wealth and you people eat this crap they feed you.

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2013 firearms (excluding BB and pellet guns) caused 84,258 nonfatal injuries (26.65 per 100,000 U.S. citizens) and 33,636 deaths (10.6 per 100,000).
    There are 319 million people in the U.S., which means about 1 out of every 2,705 people in the U.S. was shot by a firearm in 2013; about 1 out of every 9,484 people in the U.S. was killed by a firearm in 2013.
    Extrapolating over a typical lifetime of 74 years and assuming the above trends continue, 1 out of 37 people currently alive in the U.S. will be shot by a firearm during their lifetime; 1 out of every 128 people in the U.S. will be killed by a firearm during their lifetime, most well before they reach 74 years of age (about 1 out 192 will commit suicide with a gun, while 1 out of 384 will be shot to death by somebody else with a gun).

    • “Nobody is trying to confiscate your guns. It is more nonsense from the NRA and the gun lobby to get idiots to contribute to their wealth and you people eat this crap they feed you.”

      Care to explain this?

      • The “gun lobby” wouldn’t exist if there weren’t so many fascists like you trying to take our guns. Isn’t it curious that the gun-grabbing Left doesn’t call themselves the anti-gun lobby? Hmmm? Or the anti-Bill of Rights lobby? How about the anti-civil rights lobby?

    • AWR? Willy Lunchmeat, is that you?

      Anyway, as a heads up, dumping contempt on an audience just gets you contempt back.

      So to the main point. Mao said it very clearly, “political power comes from the barrel of a gun”.

      Those with power have guns, or they have armed guards(police, military, etc) with guns.

      Those that are the peasants, peons and slaves don’t.

      Those that are free keep and bear arms and are willing to use those arms to stay free.

      So you can use shame, and contempt and bogus “facts” all you want. But what you are doing is trying to convince a free people that it is preferable to be powerless, helpless and defenseless, vulnerable to being preyed upon by human predators, whether by the street predator or the predators in government, to being free and armed.

      We that are free are not buying it. And more American citizens are agreeing with us.

      So you can beat your head against the desire to be free all you want Willy, freedom will out.

    • reasonable laws that would have prevent the mass shootings

      I’ll bite. Which laws, exactly, would have prevent [sic] the mass shootings? Because the laws against murder didn’t work.

  15. “As Americans, we generally realize that hoping for an Airman and an Oregon National Guardsmen to put the greater good above all else isn’t much of a plan.”

    Just that the first person to engage the terrorist was a French civilian and second person was British civilian. Somehow the story got high-jacked by the third and fourth who came to their help with the fact of their being US and members of military being all over the media. But yeah, please, congratulate yourself on being a member of a special class of American warriors who always know what needs to be done when a terrorist is on train.

    2A? Please do tell me how 2A would have helped had the same situation played out in:
    – American Samoa
    – District of Columbia
    – Hawaii
    – Maryland
    – New Mexico
    – US Virgin Islands
    All of above essentially no issue CC.

    Then let’s talk about:
    – New York
    – New Jersey
    – Massachusetts
    – California
    All of which are may issue where you essentially need to blow the deciding official/officer to get the permit.

    Also, you fail to understand that EU is mostly economy oriented union. Hence the basic rights vested in EU documents deal mostly with economical-connected issues. Majority of EU countries have pretty anti-gun gun laws and expecting that their mostly economical union will end up with 2A somehow doesn’t make sense, does it?

    I CC regularly in the Czech Republic (where we had more per capita CC licenses than US until about 2006), but damn, I’d never come up with the thought line that would end up with me telling to Brits or French how to run their country or how to arrange their gun laws.

    • The places you list are all run by elected democrats. The voters put them into office. The voters voted to give up their freedom. The people have vote to become wards of the state. Other state voters have chosen to vote conservative democrat or conservative republican and stay free.

    • Bungameng, I agree that places like DC, American Samoa, New York, etc. have a lot of work to do and I acknowledged that in multiple ways. Yes the EU framework is an economic one but not solely, the Constitution is quite broad, I re-read it before my submission and the reality is far more nuanced as we both know.

      My point of the article was not driven by arrogance nor was it general provocation but was merely to provoke thought.

      The fact is that the people of Europe, so far mostly France and the UK, are under attack by Islamic extremists and there is a need to give people a mechanism, be it cultural and or legal, to better fight back.

      If the model to do that is American, Czech, Swiss or from somewhere else, fine; I bring this topic up to find solution for a group of countries, allies, that the US shares much in common with and on a personal basis, I considered home for a number of years.

  16. Europe has had a Second Amendment throughout the 20th century and still have one in the 21st; It’s called the U.S. military.

  17. Okay, another Czech here. And let me begin by saying that yes, even we would be happy to see an equivalent of the 2A added to our constitution. Sure, in practical terms, we’re better off than many places in the US.CCLs are shall issue and we’ve got nothing like a duty to retreat. However, rewriting a constitution is harder than rewriting lesser laws, so if we *had* a 2A-equivalent, our right would be safer.

    And we do have gun registration for all but category D firearms, which means confiscation remains a possibility. That’s another thing we could do without, I’d say, at least for some types of weapons.

    All that being said, many Czechs and many people in some neighboring countries are way more sensible than your typical US liberal or Britton or other western-Europe national. You can walk into a store wearing a full suit of medieval armor plus sword and hardly anyone bats an eye. Weapons other than firearms that might freak out many people west of our borders are freely sold here. Hunting and sporting weapons are something hardly worth being afraid of and while CCL holders are considered needlessly paranoid by many, they’re not demonized the way US anti-gunners portray them. Our anti-gunners are much less vocal and much less powerful than those in the US. The numbers of CCL holders remain steady and the number of guns per capita is going up.

    So this is not a problem of not having a 2A equivalent. A law, no matter how strongly worded, does little to prevent a culture change. The problem here, I think, is that too many people in Europe feel so safe that they see little need to obtain any means to defend themselves with. There’s no denying that guns have downsides too. If nothing else, negligent dicharges do happen. And we’re going to have a hard time convincing people who feel pretty damn safe that millions more of people carrying a gun will make them safer. Europe is full of people who think that a knife or a pepper spray are things decent folks shouldn’t carry and don’t *need* to carry. I’m not saying there’s next to no violence here. I’m saying that people *feel* safe because the violence is less vissible, less medialized, less admitted to.

    Maybe for us Czechs this is a legacy of our communist past. Maybe we’re less disconnected from the real world because we’ve had less time to let our illusions warp our perception of reality. And maybe our long-time traditions are playing a role too; we’re the country that gave the world the word “pistol”.

    But I’m not losing all hope for Europe. Per-capita numbers of guns are not that bad even in many countries where CCLs per-capita are much rarer than where I live. The immigrants the article mentions are but one of the impulses that might wake some people up. The situation is bad but it might improve yet. I’m just hoping it won’t take some kind of war to play the role of a wake-up call.

    • True that, greetings from Prague 😉

      ~50 years of leftist citizens’ weapons bans (6 years of nazis and 43 years of communists) definitely had the influence on quite good weapons laws here, especially when compared to the most of the western european countries.

      However it must be noted while a citizen can have a pretty straightforward shall-issue access to a CC weapon, using the weapon for self defence is way more dangerous, because judges have a way too broad space for interpretation of the self-defence description according to law, and they can also project their own antigun opinions into the verdict. 🙁

  18. If I recall correctly, even though Amtrak is practically a government owned company, you are forbidden to carry on their trains. This scenario could have easily happened here too despite our 2nd amendment rights.

    • What may be the repercussions if you carry anyway? Denial of access to train or does it amount to breach of law?

  19. “…watching news of yet another Islamist radical trying to kill as many as he can”

    Hey now. He just found that gun and decided to engage in a bit of opportunistic firearms-assisted heisterty (yep, new word and sticking to it). He’s not a terrorist, just a down on a his luck fella’ lookin’ for a little screed. His lawyer says so…


  20. “In this long fight against Islamic extremism, I fear they’re going to need it.”

    The first step will be for their politicians to be willing to admit that the fight exists. Kind of the same political correctness problem we have in the USA with our leftist pols.

  21. The governments of the Europeans might be anti-gun, but there still exists many pockets of a strong shooting sports and firearms tradition over there, especially in countries where firearms are produced. Those into shooting realize the laws are only a placebo at best, and that their issues of violence are addressed at a cultural level rather than just further restricting mere objects. The people who seek to enact further restrictions are often cowed and beguiled by the governments.

  22. “Yes, we’re still viewed with disdain, seen as cowboys obsessed with guns.”

    Obsessed? I do not think that word means what you think it means.

    You’re the one who can’t stop asking me questions about guns. If anybody’s obsessed here, it’s you. Can I have another chunk of cheese?

  23. America has had 249 mass shootings so far this year. This YEAR. Europe has had 2 in the last two years.

  24. America has had 249 mass shootings so far this year. This YEAR. Europe has had 2 in the last two years.

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