UPDATE 3/22: After an absurdly long "siege" by more than 300 French police, Mohammed Merah was killed "in a hail of bullets on Thursday as he scrambled out of a ground-floor window during a gun battle with elite police commandos." For more than 30 hours, French police attempted to get Merah out of his makeshift bunker by playing mind games with him.
Merah jumped out of a window still firing his .45 caliber Colt pistol. Police say he was dead before he hit the ground, killed by a bullet to his head. All of the mind games were for naught: Merah was firing at police during the siege, and some of his bullets could have killed police or others.
Finally, though, the police "used overwhelming firepower to end the 32-hour siege of a killer whose murders of schoolchildren and soldiers traumatised France and briefly halted a presidential campaign. The self-proclaimed Al-Qaeda militant died in an intense firefight as he tried to shoot his way out of his surrounded apartment when officers from special police forces moved in."
It would have been better, in my opinion, to have gassed Merah and then go inside to get him while incapacitated. Instead, this protracted operation by French police endangered an entire neighborhood and bungled an opportunity to debrief a man who claimed to have ties to al-Qaeda.
My intial post from March 21:
March 21, 2012 - Do Chicagoans really care about shootings and gun violence? They probably do, but their reaction to dozens of shootings on any given weekend is blase when compared to the way the French have reacted to a series of seven shooting deaths recently. After a 9-day shooting spree by a scooter riding Islamist, public outrage has been expressed by France's national leaders and a massive national police hunt for the shooter was mounted.
French authorities have named the suspect as 23-year-old Mohammed Merah.
When I first wrote this post (March 21, 3:45 PM CDT), a massive number of French police were about to flush a suspected serial killer from a an apartment building in a suburb of Toulouse (see map).
Earlier yesterday, Merah threw another pistol out of a window, but was thought to still have an Uzi machine gun, a Kalashnikov and "other weapons," reports EuroNews.
"France held its breath on Wednesday," reports The Financial Times today, "as hundreds of police laid siege to the Toulouse flat where the gunman suspected of shooting dead three children and a teacher at a Jewish school was holding out. An antiterrorist unit raided the house in the early hours in the search for the motorcycle gunman who attacked the school on Monday. He is also believed to have killed three Muslim paratroopers in similar execution-style shootings in the area last week."
|What the hell are these cops doing?|
"Terrorism will not succeed in fracturing our national community," France's President Nicolas Sarkozy said in a brief address on TV according to the Bangkok Post. "I say to the entire nation that we must be united."
Sarkozy even suspended his re-election campaign to deal with what was called a "crisis" by the French, so that he could pay his respects to the victims. The Financial Times noted, "The killing spree has captivated the country, prompting a bout of national soul-searching during what was already a bitter presidential race ahead of elections that begin next month."
Imagine Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel making a televised speech about the Chicago bloodbath(s), like the speech made by President Sarkozy about the alleged shootings by Mohammed Merah.
So, Merah killed seven people. Excuse me, the bastard "allegedly" killed seven people. That's seven tragedies too many, but compare the French "soul-searching" reaction to that of Chicago's reaction to dozens of killings on its own streets.
President Sarkozy and the French people are in an uproar over the seven shootings that Mohammed Merah is suspected of committing. Sarkozy took time off from his re-election campaign to pay his respects to the dead. He was kept advised of the nationwide manhunt for Merah, and was even awakened to be told that Merah has been surrounded by over 300 police in Toulouse.
What was the reaction to 10 dead (including a 6-year old girl) and 49 wounded in Obama's bloodstained hometown Chicago?
Has President Obama been closely following the police investigations of last weekend's shootings? As Chicago police closed in on suspects, was Mayor Rahm Emanuel phoning the White House to update his former master on the latest developments? Will either Emanuel or Obama be awakened in the middle of the night to be advised of a suspect being surrounded by law enforcement? Did Obama take time off from campaigning and fund raising to pay his respects to the dead in his hometown?
The answers, of course, are no, no, no and no. To be fair, though, we also heard nothing from any of the Republican presidential candidates who campaigned ahead of Tuesday's general primary election. For that matter, does anyone recall hearing any candidates for any office in Illinois say anything about the ongoing slaughter in Chicago?
Other than police officials and a handful of religious and community leaders, what of the average Chicagoan's reaction to the shootings? Apart from a few raised eyebrows over morning headlines, it's been one big communal yawn. This is because, sadly, slaughter such as we saw last weekend has become all too commonplace in Chicago. On Tuesday, March 13 there were nine people shot in Chicago in less than eight hours, almost like a dress rehearsal for the following weekend carnage. On the weekend of January 27-29 there at least 20 people shot in Chicago. The examples of this are sickenly endless. (Not all of the homicides in Chicago are committed with guns, by the way. Approximately 12% are committed with knives, according to an article by Tracy Swartz at Red Eye.)
A headline in The Montreal Gazette headline said, "French fear 'monster' will strike again." The "monster" they referred to, of course, is the single shooter now surrounded by cops in Toulouse. But in Chicago, the "monster" is a collective mob of uncivilized savages who shoot their illegal guns at will, often for no logical reason, killing just as thoroughly as any scooter riding "monster" in France. When will The Chicago Tribune or Chicago Sun-Times run a similar headline? When will the media start openly referring to the homicidal lunatics of Chicago as the monsters and savages that they are?
The French, like many Europeans these days, are terrified by guns and even by the suggestion that its citizenry should be allowed to arm themselves. "It is taboo in Europe to say that if the state fails to protect the citizens, the citizens should do so themselves," wrote Paul Belien in The Brussels Journal in 2007. "There is no Second Amendment in Europe. Even European politicians from the so-called 'right,' like Mr. Sarkozy, are horrified at the suggestion that citizens should be allowed to protect themselves against criminals."
Perhaps Anne-Lorraine Schmitt would have been able to defend herself when Thierry Deve-Oglou, a Frenchman of Turkish origin, butchered her with a knife on a Metro line out of Paris. As Paul Belien wrote in his article, cited above, Deve-Oglou was a known serial rapist with a previous conviction.
And, perhaps, the collective spine of French people would less like the snails they love with garlic butter. But I'll give the French this: They seem to care more about the seven deaths, and one shooter, than Chicagoans care about hundreds of deaths and dozens of shooters. Sarkozy is more of a man than Obama and Emanuel combined. Oh, the almost-forgettable Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, too. Haven't heard a peep out of him regarding the recent Chicago butchery.
Mohammed Merah, the so-called "Toulouse gunman," was planning to kill more people today. The Chicago gunmen are making similar plans for tonight, tomorrow, the day after tomorrow....
- From Neo Nazi to Mohammed, the Four Stages of the ‘Lone Wolf’ Jihadist (sheikyermami.com)
- Mohammed Mehra ties to French protest group similar to Occupy Wall Street (fontcraft.com)
- STANDOFF: French Shooting Suspect Mohammed Merah Surrounded (VIDEO) (blippitt.com)
- France Shootings: Suspect Left Several Clues (news.sky.com)
- French police corner shootings suspect (windsorstar.com)
- Who is French shootings suspect Mohammed Merah? (cnn.com)
- French School Shooter Turns Out To Be Al Qaeda After Media And Police Originally Suspect Nazi Or Right Winger Like Breivik (patdollard.com)
- Siege in Toulouse (gatesofvienna.blogspot.com)
- Mohammed Merah in photos - a history of violence (anorak.co.uk)