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I’ll Say It Again: If You Live in Europe, You Need a Gun

What happened in Paris is war, and the only way to fight it is with firearms

Liel Leibovitz
November 15, 2015
David Ramos/Getty Images
Bullet holes and marks are seen on the windows of the Cafe Bonne Biere restaurant in Paris, France, November 14, 2015. David Ramos/Getty Images
David Ramos/Getty Images
Bullet holes and marks are seen on the windows of the Cafe Bonne Biere restaurant in Paris, France, November 14, 2015. David Ramos/Getty Images

In February, after the last round of jihad in Paris, I wrote a column calling on every Jewish man, woman, and child in Europe to get a gun and learn how to use it. I now wish to revise my statement: the goyim should get guns, too.

For some reason, this is still a controversial statement. Newt Gingrich got into a spot of trouble on Friday when he tweeted that the casualty count at the Bataclan theater would’ve been smaller had 10 or 15 of those innocents there to enjoy a rock concert carried concealed weapons. If you want to huff hysterically about how guns are bad and believe that stricter gun control would somehow stop terrorists from slaughtering more civilians (see under: Morgan, Piers), go right ahead. But if you want to form an educated and reasonable opinion, take a moment and ponder the Bataclan.

Imagine you were there. If you’re human, even one forged in the battlefield and accustomed to the crackles of semi-automatic weapons, it’s likely that the first burst of gunfire would’ve likely caught you by surprise. Even if you remained calm and ducked for cover, it would’ve taken you at least half a minute, maybe more, to ascertain just what was going on. That’s a long time, and maybe, if you weren’t so lucky, that half a minute might’ve been your very last on this earth.

But suppose it wasn’t. Suppose you hid, then surveyed your premises. You saw three men with AK-47s shooting indiscriminately into the crowd. Soon, you saw them stop to reload their weapons. You saw people trying to flee. You saw chaos. Without a gun, your only choice was to continue and hide and hope for the best. But what if you were armed? And what if you had taken the time to learn how to shoot?

The Bataclan isn’t an enormous venue, and chaos makes for terrific cover. You might have waited for the next time the terrorists ran out of bullets in their magazines—according to reports, they reloaded their rifles three or four times—and then charged and took a shot. You might’ve missed. You might’ve spooked the killers, causing them to detonate their explosive vests. You might’ve accidentally hit innocent bystanders. But it’s also entirely possible that you could’ve shot one of those evil ISIS creeps in the head. There were three terrorists at the Bataclan on Friday night; if you happened to be there with nine other friends, all armed, the odds of the siege ending much sooner and with far fewer killed are not bad.

What we’ve seen in Paris this weekend is not an attack, or an incident, or a tragedy. It’s war, and war, like it or not, is fought with guns. Because terrorism works precisely by striking at random, it’s silly to expect the police to be able to protect everyone at all times. When there are men out there teaming up to kill you, the rational and prudent thing to do is to at least make sure you have a chance to fight back.

Liel Leibovitz is editor-at-large for Tablet Magazine and a host of its weekly culture podcast Unorthodox and daily Talmud podcast Take One. He is the editor of Zionism: The Tablet Guide.