El Taco's Guide to Restoring Gun Rights in Europe


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DeseoUnTaco
August 5, 2005, 04:19 PM
Ok, we know two things about Europe: a) gun rights are in a sorry state over there and b) what happens over there will have some effect on what happens over here. These two combined lead me to think that it's important for us to improve the gun rights situation in Europe. The question is, how to get started. I have put together this Guide for our European readers.

How to restore or create gun rights in Europe... and beyond

You need an organization with at least one full-time professional staff member. If there aren't enough people to support the cause to get one full-time staffer, then there really isn't enough support for gun rights for any progress to be made.
The organization's presentation and message should be all positive. Lots about sports, responsibility, safety, tradition, freedom and trust. Little or nothing about crime, genocide. You don't see Coppertone running ads about skin cancer, do you? No scary messages. Here in the US, the NRA uses positive messages and HCI uses negative messages and the NRA has 4mil members and the HCI has 100k members (on a good day).
No connection to or sympathy for far-right parties. No code words, etc. Make the group as multi-cultural as possible.
Build connections to the full range of mainstream parties, and make it clear that gun rights are a thoroughly non-partisan issue.
Build connections to American groups. Hold conferences.
A lot of people in Europe have never experienced the fun of shooting a gun, spending a summer day at an outdoor range, etc. You need to have people with those positive associations. The way to do that is to have the organization sponsor shooting events for non-shooters where non-shooters learn and experience in a fun, positive, friendly environment. Get people at the local church... and the local mosque and synagogue and university and any other creative ideas.
Concetrate on small, local, incremental victories.
Build connections and support among law enforcement organizations.
Build connections with local shooting businesses. They could be donors, too. What would happen to their business if gun laws were loosened?
Invite hostile people to your meetings! "Hey, you Green party guys think all guns should be recycled? Why don't you come to our next meeting! Come to our shooting range day this month and first-hand how demonic these things are!" A little bit of humor and lightness can make this possible.

So those are my ideas for what could save European gun laws. It would take a few full-time paid staff members to do these things, and I think it's possible.

I think we should also not write off other countries with even worse gun rights than Europe. I'm talking about Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, etc. Those countries have a long way to go. Of course those are also places where even a very small but active organization could have the biggest impact.

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Jim March
August 5, 2005, 04:47 PM
This seems to be why CCRKBA opened a London field office.

Mk VII
August 5, 2005, 06:37 PM
being associated with the 'bigoted right-wing American gun lobby' is a real support-killer for gun organisations here and a gift for the antis and most are careful to put a lot of distance betwen themselves and the NRA.

R.H. Lee
August 5, 2005, 06:49 PM
Europe doesn't need gun rights. Either they start wars or become imperialistic. They still have royalty over there for crying out loud. They're not anywhere near ready for individual liberties.

M67
August 5, 2005, 07:55 PM
Let's see...

1. The largest single shooting organization in the country (rifle organization) has a membership in excess of four (4) per cent of the total population, in US numbers the equivalent would be 12 million or so. Different types of shooting are organized in other associations, as are hunters.

2. The national rifle matches are held this week, finals today (Saturday). More than 5700 shooters this year. TV coverage was an hour Thursday prime time, an hour Friday prime time and the finals will be broadcast live. All on the largest national station/network. My local newspaper - in what you would call soccer mom country - has run stories on local shooters, particularly the youngsters, every day of the matches, some days a full page or more.

3. Check.

4. Check.

5. There are some international fora/forums (how do you conjugate Latin in your language?), I don't know about specific contact with the US.

6. See numbers under points 1 and 2. There are "open days" at all the "NRA" rifle ranges. Some counties have range days for the schools (age 12 to 15 or so), voluntary for the students but some schools with 100% attendance.

7. Some places have more shooting than others, if that's what you mean.

8. It's quite common for shooting clubs to let the police shoot at our ranges. Rifle clubs often build and run ranges in cooperation with the military.

9. Check. For big events like national and regional matches, and for top competitors, "mainstream" business such as banks, insurance and media are involved as sponsors, as well as shooting related businesses. What is probably one of the country's most anti gun newspapers sponsors the prize for the best shooter under the age of 20 at the national rifle matches, for example.

10. Don't know about meetings, but some efforts are made to introduce new people to the sport, see above.


Other than that, all of us European snobbish aristocrat peasants are communists at heart and doomed anyway, so why care. :)

Seriously speaking, a lot of things could be better, regarding guns and most other things in life. But not all of Europe is quite the sulphur smelling mud pool in Hell's antechamber that so many Americans seem to think it is.

DeseoUnTaco
August 5, 2005, 08:10 PM
(how do you conjugate Latin in your language?)
Fora is correct, but forums is the common usage.
Other than that, all of us European snobbish aristocrat peasants are communists at heart and doomed anyway, so why care.

Seriously speaking, a lot of things could be better, regarding guns and most other things in life. But not all of Europe is quite the sulphur smelling mud pool in Hell's antechamber that so many Americans seem to think it is.
Hey Europe is a great place and I anticipate that I'm going to move there permenantly at some point. In Norway you have better gun laws than we have where I am right now in the US. Norway, Finland, Switzerland and perhaps some others have good gun laws. Switzerland in particular is much better off than the US in terms of gun laws and most other indicators of freedom. Some countries in Europe need some help, though, like the UK and France and Germany to some extent. It just annoys me greatly that a lot of Americans have written off Europe or think that what happens in Europe doesn't matter here.

Fletchette
August 5, 2005, 09:07 PM
being associated with the 'bigoted right-wing American gun lobby' is a real support-killer for gun organisations here and a gift for the antis and most are careful to put a lot of distance betwen themselves and the NRA.

I have seen and read many Europeans express this viewpoint. Why do they think so badly of Americans owning guns?

Standing Wolf
August 5, 2005, 09:29 PM
I have seen and read many Europeans express this viewpoint. Why do they think so badly of Americans owning guns?

Possibly because we keep sending so many heavily armed soldiers over there to stamp out European forms of political insanity?

beerslurpy
August 5, 2005, 09:31 PM
I think they secretly resent not getting to learn German as children.

GT
August 5, 2005, 11:38 PM
Taco: It just annoys me greatly that a lot of Americans have written off Europe or think that what happens in Europe doesn't matter here.
It really doesn't matter.
And I am an American who seriously doesn't care what any European thinks, says or does and who has written Europe off as irrelevant but vaguely annoying.
The US is the "anti-Europe".
The US is the place Europeans came, and still come, for a better life.
Individual countries in Europe have various different rules and some are better than others, but come on let's be real.

G

trooper
August 7, 2005, 11:41 AM
Oh well.

We have a gun-rights organisation here in Germany (the Forum Waffenrecht) whose activities include providing legal help for gunowners, lobbying for the cause, and cooperating with organisations in other countries.

Only 30,000 of Germany's 4 million gun owners care enough for their rights to cough up the annual membership dues of 12,- ... the equivalent of two boxes of 9mm.

Shooting and hunting are common pastimes in rural Germany and have always been. The problem is that a lot of older folks in the "gun culture" basically think, "Well, I've got a locker full of guns already, I'm fine... so I don't really care if the legal hurdles for prospective gun owners are raised higher and higher."

Back when I joined my second gun club I was working as a freelance journalist. One day when we were on our way to a state championship I offered to write an article about our club and the results of the competition and get it published in the paper I was usually working for. Our director declined. I told him that some positive media coverage (especially in local papers) would certainly give us more publicity and attract new folks who might be interested in shooting. What he said was: "No way... if we get more members, there'll be too much administrative work for me. We're going to keep this thing small and quiet."

The very same guy is of the opinion that it's a bad idea to go to court over gun rights issues because you might p**** off the powers that be. There are some gun owners who subscribe to the point of view that since the population in general is not really gun-friendly, the best thing to do is to keep a low profile and don't raise a stink.

Yes, they are wrong. And fortunately we have some fine people on our side who put a lot of time and effort in fighting for our rights. I try to get other folks to come to the range with me, I offer information about guns and gun laws, try to convince my friends that guns in the right hands are no danger at all etc. etc. It's just a lot of hard work in a society whose perception of guns is completely dominated by liberal media.

I do think that we can learn a lot from the NRA, especially when it comes to "mainstreaming " gun ownership and getting a positive image of gun owners across. The problem is, as my fellow European gunny M67 already pointed out, that publicly associating ourselves with the NRA could indeed backfire.

A lot of people over here have no clue what the NRA is about. They only see them as the left-leaning media portrays them... as a bunch of right-wing gun fetishists who are bent on threatening their neighbours with machine guns.


Trooper

M67
August 7, 2005, 02:43 PM
trooperThe problem is, as my fellow European gunny M67 already pointed out, that publicly associating ourselves with the NRA could indeed backfire. That was fellow European gunny Mk VII, not me. :)

FletchetteWhy do they [Europeans] think so badly of Americans owning guns? Have you ever considered the fact that probably more than a hundred million Europeans, not counting Brits and Irish, understand English? That we have access to US media, both directly and through domestic media passing on stories from the news agencies? When was the last time you saw a CNN special on how nice Americans gun owners really are?

Europeans are ignorant of the US. When you consider that a lot of what Europeans know about the US comes from CNN and Hollyweird, that isn't very surprising.

Americans are ignorant of Europe. When you consider that most of what Americans know about Europe comes from CNN and Hollyweird, that is perhaps even less surprising...

trooper
August 7, 2005, 03:12 PM
Europeans are ignorant of the US. When you consider that a lot of what Europeans know about the US comes from CNN and Hollyweird, that isn't very surprising.

Americans are ignorant of Europe. When you consider that most of what Americans know about Europe comes from CNN and Hollyweird, that is perhaps even less surprising...

We've got a winner here... I think you nailed it.


Trooper

The Viking
August 7, 2005, 03:40 PM
The problem here is that most firearms are longarms, and are used for hunting. Like in the US, many hunters don't give a rats a## about handguns, or selfdefence. Some gunnies, like this guy on a swedish forum, has a lot of handguns. Problem is, if you bring up the topic of carrying a handgun for selfdefence, he'll flip out completly, since he doesn't really trust anyone but himself with owning a weapon...this often seems to be the general attitude around here. "For me but not for thee..." Seems a little familiar huh?

However, we do have a few really enthusiastic supporters of the RTKBA. One of them is the (banned from here??) member euro_hacker. He is around on one of Swedens biggest forums too...unfortunatly, he has been banned from there too, and keeps coming back as a troll. He is on his fifth username now. However, it is a little hard to take him seriously when he constantly asks around for advice on illegal acts, like smuggling an AR-15 from the US to Sweden, or if they are approved for hunting, or the price on the black market, or how to boobytrap your house/property. I DO NOT want him to represent me in the RTKBA debate.

trooper
August 7, 2005, 04:20 PM
The problem here is that most firearms are longarms, and are used for hunting.

Well, over here in Germany a hunting license entitles you to own up to two handguns, so most hunters have them and carry them while hunting.

boofus
August 7, 2005, 06:16 PM
Nothing short of World War 4 fought between the west and islamic fundamentalist countries will make Europe pro-gun. And that's even iffy, more likely than not they will say guns in the hands of their military are good, but civilians should not have them because it would aid the terrorists.

Europe is steeped in long standing tradition that the common person is worthless and only knights and nobility are privileged to carry arms and dispense justice.

hifi
August 7, 2005, 07:05 PM
being associated with the 'bigoted right-wing American gun lobby' is a real support-killer for gun organisations here and a gift for the antis and most are careful to put a lot of distance betwen themselves and the NRA.

Europe doesn't need gun rights. Either they start wars or become imperialistic. They still have royalty over there for crying out loud. They're not anywhere near ready for individual liberties.

Thanks for proving his point.

ajax
August 7, 2005, 07:12 PM
Every country should have the NRA. Think on this for a moment. We still have a ex vice president crying that the NRA was the primary reason for not getting elected president. :neener: Without the NRA american gun rights would be in a sorry state. God Bless the NRA. :)

Mk VII
August 7, 2005, 07:42 PM
I know a lot a people around these boards regard them as a bunch of Elmer Fudds who have already sold the pass but what they do works very well within the context of US politics. Politics elsewhere is a very different ballgame and we have to try and operate within it, no good standing outside shouting "no change or bollocks!", no one will listen

Kurush
August 8, 2005, 11:17 AM
Politics elsewhere is a very different ballgame and we have to try and operate within it, no good standing outside shouting "no change or bollocks!", no one will listenI hate to be an arrogant American, but... Whatever you guys in the UK are doing or think you're doing for RKBA has been a huge failure. Not only have you lost semiautos and handguns, but you're about to lose your ability to buy and make deactivated guns. You keep losing ground because the Government knows you won't fight back so they automatically scapegoat you for whatever is wrong with society. If you just sit around trying to not look like Elmer Fudd you've already lost. If you don't fight people assume you're accepting guilt. You need to fight back and just suck it up when the media expresses disapproval or makes fun. The fact is the more aggressive the NRA is the more its favorability ratings go up in the polls.

Boats
August 8, 2005, 11:49 AM
Allow me to be contrarian for a minute. I think it is just fine that Euro-RKBA is so weak and probably dying. There is a benefit to the American firearm owner that the situation over there is so pathetic for the pro-rights side.

It makes their anti-gunners ineffectual too. They have become accustomed to genteel, layabout, roll-over opposition. Having such flabby and slow-witted sparring partners makes the international gun control movement sound so absolutely freakin' stupid in the US, even making the VPC sound somewhat coherent, that they don't make any inroads here. They're used to simply whining about collective safety and "privileges" that they are slow to comprehend that those arguments might as well be broadcasting, "Hey, look at me! I am an overweening Communist! Kick me!"

Let the globetrotting gun controllers keep on beating their indigenous version of the Washington Generals. We'll keep playing for keeps, even kicking their tails on the East side of Manhattan.

Mk VII
August 8, 2005, 01:01 PM
when the number of people who own/use firearms is as small as it is here (and most of them are shotgunners, who couldn't care less what happens to everyone else) you have very little leverage.

trooper
August 8, 2005, 01:16 PM
Not only have you lost semiautos and handguns, but you're about to lose your ability to buy and make deactivated guns. You keep losing ground because the Government knows you won't fight back so they automatically scapegoat you for whatever is wrong with society.

There's some truth in this. The tricky thing is choosing one's battles wisely though... and the weapons to fight them with (no pun intended).

Some things work in the US that would never work in other countries. For example, it is absolutely counterproductive to invoke the self-defense issue in the gun law debate in Germany as long as the general population is strictly opposed to the idea.

First thing we have to work on is the general acceptance of guns in society. I own a gun, and to most people I know that's quite extraordinary (no matter if they like it or hate it). Outside my gun club I personally know only other two people who also own guns (both hunters). We need to work towards a point where gun ownership is an accepted fact of life, where guns in private hands are a reality, not just a freak exception.

The best way to do this is by attracting people to the shooting sports. Hunting is too big of an effort over here, and not many people feel inclined to go out and shoot a critter. But recreational and competition shooting, no matter which discipline, is quite fun and entertaining for a lot of people. Most of them just never got around to try it or sinply didn't know how easy it actually is to get into. Contrary to what some folks on this board might believe is's not hard at all to legally acquire one or more handguns and long guns in Germany. Every law-abiding citizen who is willing to invest some time and money in a gun club membership and regular training is going to get a firearms permit, he/she just needs to jump through some bureaucratic hoops and loops.


Trooper

The Viking
August 8, 2005, 01:32 PM
Well, over here in Germany a hunting license entitles you to own up to two handguns, so most hunters have them and carry them while hunting.
:eek: :eek: :eek: I gotta move there. Here, it is technically legal to use a handgun to dispatch a wounded animal. However, carrying it with you is illegal.

trooper
August 8, 2005, 02:03 PM
Here, it is technically legal to use a handgun to dispatch a wounded animal. However, carrying it with you is illegal.

Yeah, does sound kinda weird...

The reasons why hunters can carry handguns in Germany include finishing off wounded game, but go further into some interesting historical facts. Actually it is a remnant of Germany's feudalist past.

Back in the old days hunting was a privilege of the nobility and their game wardens. Poachers were severely punished. A peasant who killed a deer to feed his family would do so at the risk of losing his life or freedom. Consequently he didn't have a lot of choices beside shooting the other guy when he got caught.

There are countless stories, anecdotes and works of art that revolve around poachers and legitimate hunters shooting it out deep in the woods, especially in the more rural southern parts of Germany.

Of course those days are gone... hunting is just a matter of taking a course and getting your hunting license, poaching isn't even a felony anymore and doesn't happen often. But German hunting law still follows the idea that a hunter might come across a poacher who'd be inclined to shoot him, and therefore has a legitimate need for a defensive handgun.

Well, some of today's hunters actually did have violent encounters while hunting; mostly attempted robberies where the perps tried to acquire firearms or assaults by radical animal rights activists such as PETA and their ilk.


Trooper

Cosmoline
August 8, 2005, 03:02 PM
The UK is actually far, far worse than Scandinavia and Central and East Europe when it comes to firearm ownership. There's a very long tradition of gun clubs in Central Europe, and I don't think any EU parliament will have the power to shut them down in the near future. Some of them go back to the first matchlock competitions. They even have their own little uniforms :D
The biggest limitations are not on what you can own, unlike the US. Once you have the state's approval and membership in a gun club, my information is that you can own a wide array of firearms including full autos. BUT, you're not allowed to strap them on and walk around town with them. There are strict laws regarding storage of the firearms, and IIRC some nations require they be kept at the gun club. Most of Europe has so far resisted the wave of anti-gun laws that swept over the UK and commonwealth nations in the 1990's. There are certainly groups trying to ban all the firearms, but so far they've met with resistance.

I agree that simply adopting US-style gun rights tactics would backfire in Europe. Gun owners there have a very different heritage and gun culture and their organizations have to reflect that fact.

Kurush
August 8, 2005, 03:28 PM
I agree that simply adopting US-style gun rights tactics would backfire in Europe. Gun owners there have a very different heritage and gun culture and their organizations have to reflect that fact.I still disagree. Look at PETA, Greenpeace and their ilk. Virtually everyone sees them as a bunch of loony college-age girls with eating disorders, yet they keep getting laws passed. They make progress because they're aggressive, persistent and uncompromising and it's human nature to try to make a deal with someone like that to get them off your back. I won't tell continental European countries what to do because I know less about their laws, but as for the UK you guys are getting beaten like a red headed stepchild and any strategy you adopt can't do worse than what you're doing now.

Again, I realize it's easier said than done and I preemptively admit to being an arrogant American cultural imperialist :neener:

Cosmoline
August 8, 2005, 03:49 PM
I don't want European gun culture to change that much, though. If they became like us, they'd stop sending us all their neat old rifles! :neener:

igor
August 8, 2005, 06:04 PM
1. You need an organization with at least one full-time professional staff member. If there aren't enough people to support the cause to get one full-time staffer, then there really isn't enough support for gun rights for any progress to be made.
2. The organization's presentation and message should be all positive. Lots about sports, responsibility, safety, tradition, freedom and trust. Little or nothing about crime, genocide. You don't see Coppertone running ads about skin cancer, do you? No scary messages. Here in the US, the NRA uses positive messages and HCI uses negative messages and the NRA has 4mil members and the HCI has 100k members (on a good day).
3. No connection to or sympathy for far-right parties. No code words, etc. Make the group as multi-cultural as possible.
4. Build connections to the full range of mainstream parties, and make it clear that gun rights are a thoroughly non-partisan issue.
5. Build connections to American groups. Hold conferences.
6. A lot of people in Europe have never experienced the fun of shooting a gun, spending a summer day at an outdoor range, etc. You need to have people with those positive associations. The way to do that is to have the organization sponsor shooting events for non-shooters where non-shooters learn and experience in a fun, positive, friendly environment. Get people at the local church... and the local mosque and synagogue and university and any other creative ideas.
7. Concetrate on small, local, incremental victories.
8. Build connections and support among law enforcement organizations.
9. Build connections with local shooting businesses. They could be donors, too. What would happen to their business if gun laws were loosened?
10. Invite hostile people to your meetings! "Hey, you Green party guys think all guns should be recycled? Why don't you come to our next meeting! Come to our shooting range day this month and first-hand how demonic these things are!" A little bit of humor and lightness can make this possible.

1. We don't really have a gun rights organization. The closest would be the military reserves' sports organization, but that's on a voluntary basis.
2. Check. The above does hint towards a national preparedness but here that is a positive message.
3. Check.
4. Check.
5. I have to agree with my fellow European board members from earlier in this thread. The message to the general public would go astray. I would welcome such discussion.
6. The number of such people here isn't that big compared: we still conscript more that 80% of all males at age 19... but yes, this is in the works. Women are the main target group with the mil. res. sports org. and personally I see to that I invite people to the range given a proper opportunity.
7. Check.
8. Check. To expand a bit from LE, the best facilities are the Defence Forces' ranges and they are under fire (pun intended) from the Greens. Combined forces are a Good Thing here as we provide the sports part (us Finns just love competitive sports) to the serious part the FDF takes care of.
9. Check.
10. Not the easiest thing... on a personal level I see to that everyone I call a friend, and their spouses too, gets a good idea of what I spend time with. They always get curious. On an organizational level, they do lobby hard and concentrate more on the public servants who hold key positions of power concerning firearms legislation and practice. We have this czar's officials' culture still alive and kicking here... as to politicians, there is a strong but silent pro-gun representation in our parliament. Since the latest revision of our Firearms Code a few years back there seems to be precious little issue to take to. But those guys are there, and they are quite approachable. The good thing about living in a small country is that I can literally pick up my phone and call my MP, personally. The MEPs seem to get a little tougher on that...

Back to point 1., the main problem still seems to be the well succeeded divide et impera that keeps different gun enthusiasts indifferent to each others' concerns. Attempts at a general gun lobbying organization have been made and inevitably they've failed at this. I guess we still have things way too well. Until much worse times, I guess we'll be working through the sports organizations. It seems sufficient for now.

Fletchette
August 9, 2005, 01:41 AM
Some things work in the US that would never work in other countries. For example, it is absolutely counterproductive to invoke the self-defense issue in the gun law debate in Germany as long as the general population is strictly opposed to the idea.

Having married a German I am familiar with this phenomenon, but it is still unbelievable. It seems to me that there are many Germans (and Europeans) that would rather die if they were assaulted in order to show the State how "good" they were as opposed to "taking the Law into their own hands" and defending themselves.

What we have here is a basic disagreement as to what constitutes "civilization".

One side states that "civilization" is when people live together peacefully, without weapons and rely on the government for their most basic necessities. "Bad" people will cease to exist once we coddle them enough.

The other side believes that a "civilized" society does not punish a woman for shooting a man who had attempted to rape her.

This is quite a large philosophical distance to bridge. One has to ask if it is even reconcilable.

trooper
August 9, 2005, 04:46 AM
It seems to me that there are many Germans (and Europeans) that would rather die if they were assaulted in order to show the State how "good" they were as opposed to "taking the Law into their own hands" and defending themselves.

Well, it's more complicated than that. Nobody over here disputes the basic assumption that a human being has the right to defend himself against an unlawful attack. German self-defense law is actually pretty good, and clearly favours the defender over the attacker. For example, we don't have a duty to retreat, no matter where the attack takes place.

All people I know agree with me that they would rather shoot an attacker than being killed or injured themselves.

The difference is the conclusion that people draw from said basic assumption. In Germany most people cling to the idea that guns are not always a viable tool for defense, and that the social cost of widespread private gun ownership is higher than the benefit it might offer. Of course they seem to forget that there are already 10 million guns in the hands of law-abiding gun owners without causing any bloodshed... :banghead:

In most places over here the violent crime rate is decidedly lower than in the US. While there are estimated 20 million illegal guns around in Germany, most perps don't carry. That leads people to the idea that guns are not really needed. Incidentally, those are the same people who would buy insurances for anything and everything :)


Trooper

Old Guy
August 9, 2005, 12:00 PM
A man can never have too many books, too many wines or too much ammunition.
-Col. Jeff Cooper (Good quote)

My Son and I met Jeff Cooper when he lived on Gunsite 1990? Not sure it was a late December, I had met Mr. Cooper on several occasions prior to this, my Son had not.
When we had the tour (range closed for Christmas) and spent an hour in the gun room/vault below the house, we left, as my Son is as tall as Jeff, he put his arm around Michaels shoulder, and said "Your Dad is a really fine fellow, despite his penchant for that pip squeak caliber!" me and my Glock 9mms.

Trooper, it might be the right time for the ball less Brits to go to the EU courts and demand hand guns, and CCWs for same, due to the recent terrorist attacks against ordinary citizens, not the Military, or Police, and the fact of street crime rocketing through the roof! And no means of self defense against illegally armed criminals, except armed victims!

Fletchette
August 9, 2005, 03:27 PM
Trooper, do not take the following personally as you seem to be quite logical and polite, but I had to write this...

I had dinner with several of my then-fiancees colleagues in Germany, and the subject of guns came up. (Note: I didn't bring it up, they asked about Columbine as I worked near there- Lockheed Martin). I defended the Second Amendment on individual rights grounds, and they responded as if that were "selfish" as so many people died for individual rights. They repeatedly brought up Columbine. I responded with the Gutenberg school shooting, where there were more deaths than Columbine, and had been more recent, and they all stared off into space as if they had completely forgotten about it. "Americans" are violent, don't ya know.

Incidents like this happen on a regular basis. It seems to me that logic simply does not apply. People believe what they want. Americans will be viewed as under-educated, gun-toting idiots in Europe no matter how many times we bail their derriers out of European conflicts. We can land on the moon and they only pause momentarily before comparing our President with a chimp.

I travel to Europe a lot due to my wife, but I have noticed that we both are taking less and less crepe. I know that there several Europeans here on The High Road and I do not wish to offend them personally, but expect the U.S. is going to be more and more blunt with Europe. I am looking forward to John Bolton in the U.N. for that very reason.

trooper
August 9, 2005, 03:48 PM
I had dinner with several of my then-fiancees colleagues in Germany, and the subject of guns came up. (Note: I didn't bring it up, they asked about Columbine as I worked near there- Lockheed Martin). I defended the Second Amendment on individual rights grounds, and they responded as if that were "selfish" as so many people died for individual rights. They repeatedly brought up Columbine. I responded with the Gutenberg school shooting, where there were more deaths than Columbine, and had been more recent, and they all stared off into space as if they had completely forgotten about it. "Americans" are violent, don't ya know.

Oh yeah, we did have our own share of school shootings and related incidents. Those events are all but forgotten; actually they are used against us gun owners every single time changes in legislation are considered. Our new, stricter Weapons Act is completely the result of the Erfurt tragedy.

I guess some people just see what they want to see. The first school massacre in Germany back in the '60s was committed with a spear and a home-made flamethrower - and stopped by a neighbour with a carefully aimed headshot from his .22 rifle.

I have to admit that I'm one of the more pro-american folks on our side of the pond, though. As I said before, most Europeans only know the things about the US that the liberal media feeds them. That's the reason why publicly closing ranks with the NRA could do more harm than good for us, no matter how much we share and support their goals.


Regards,

Trooper

Iain
August 9, 2005, 04:13 PM
Flechette -

From my standpoint, if you can contend (and somewhat accurately) that most Europeans have skewed impressions of Americans due to a variety of reasons of which the media is one; I would then also contend that the same is quite likely to be true of American impressions of Europeans.

I would add that I don't recognise the majority of my countrymen in descriptions such as 'ball less' as used above. I'd expect you guys probably not recognise some of the descriptions used about Americans on more European forums.

Mk VII
August 9, 2005, 04:30 PM
yes, it's interesting how many people round here seem to think that hurling insults at us is the best way to have a dialogue.

Fletchette
August 9, 2005, 05:19 PM
Iain, MkVII, et al,

I have tried NOT to hurl insults in my posts for that very reason (please re-read my posts; you will find no insults). The basis of my original question was, why do so many Europeans view Americans (and gun-ownership by Americans) as "uncivilized"?

Iain
August 9, 2005, 05:25 PM
I wasn't accusing you of anything Flechette, merely pointing out that what you said about European perceptions is, in my view, a two way street.

As to your question. The date to the left of this post is when I started thinking about all that. If I ever get to answer I'll let you know.

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