Tragedy nearly struck Germany when a gunman walked into a crowded movie theater and took hostages. What would be just a footnote on any given day here in America is, instead, a chance for us to examine how differently the rest of the world reacts to gun violence.
On Thursday afternoon, a masked and armed gunman entered a movie theater in Viernheim, a small town south of Frankfurt. The man reportedly carried a “long weapon” and an ammunition belt over his shoulder. Witnesses state that he fired 4 shots as he entered the theater.
Despite initial reports of upwards of 50 people being injured — which had Donald Trump’s
sockpuppet spokesman charging the incident to terrorism and noting it would “benefit” his master — it turned out that just seventeen people were taken hostage by the gunman. Police responded, surrounding the cinemaplex and, finally, used tear gas to flush the man out. Sixteen-year-old Almir Almilovic told reporters:
He surprised us in the toilets. He spoke broken German. He said ‘Come out if you value your lives’. There were about 17 of us hostages.
The standoff lasted about 3 hours. Once the police deployed the tear gas, they were able to enter the building. They located the man, who reportedly threatened officers, and shot him. The gunman was the only casualty. Some of the hostages were treated for exposure to the gas. Everyone in the theater escaped with their lives.
Peter Beuth, the state interior minister of Hesse (the state in which the attack occurred) spoke to reporters about the incident:
The assailant moved through the cinema complex, according to the information we have now, and appeared confused. There were hostages inside and there was a struggle which ended with his death. We have no information that anyone else was injured.
Authorities say that this man was not a terrorist. Police are investigating an explosive vest and hand grenade the man had with him but don’t believe that they are genuine. A police spokesman said that there is “no indication” that the man had an “Islamist background.”
German officials are not jumping to conclusions about the man’s race and/or motive. Already we see how differently this is being treated in Germany than it is here. On CNN, Wolf Blitzer called the incident a “terror attack,” even though there is absolutely no evidence to suggest that. Carol Costello takes it from there. Starting with the super reading “25 People Wounded” and proceeding with a report full of speculation and conclusion jumping, the story is covered as only our media can. That’s our 24/7 news for you.
That the man had a weapon at all is an aberration if, indeed, he was mentally disturbed. Here’s why: after a mass shooting in 2009, Germany passed pretty stringent laws about young people buying guns. That, on top of an earlier reform in 2003, makes it harder to get a gun in Germany than almost any other European country, especially if the buyer is under age twenty-five.
The German system of gun control is among the most stringent in Europe. It restricts the acquisition, possession, and carrying of firearms to those with a creditable need for a weapon. It bans fully automatic weapons and severely restricts the acquisition of other types of weapons. Compulsory liability insurance is required for anyone who is licensed to carry firearms.
Germany has one of the highest rates of gun ownership in Europe yet, conversely, one of the lowest gun homicide rates. Comparing Germany’s 0.05 per 1,000 people to America’s 3.334 per 1,000 gives one pause. Since those gun laws were enacted — especially since the 2009 law — gun crime in Germany has declined by almost twenty-five percent. Most experts draw a logical conclusion about that. I’m sure you are able to do the same.
Gun laws don’t do anything to curb gun violence, the ammosexuals claim. The math says otherwise. But most gun nuts don’t do math. Germany can and does. How ironic that Germany bests us in this regard. Chew on that, gun nuts.
Here’s a video from Ruptly TV:[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_VBkFL6rJPU&w=640&h=360]
Featured image by Alexander Scheuber/Getty Images