Horrendous crimes can occur in any city or nation. Yet when citizens of a territory are unable to properly defend themselves, perpetrators may be more likely to strike. When country leaders are also unable to consider terrorism as a possibility either, they appear equally weak, as was seen in a knife attack in Paris, France over the weekend.
The suspect, believed to be of Afghan origin, was successful is harming seven innocent civilians when he went on an iron bar and knife-wielding rampage for currently unknown reasons which local authorities are reportedly not investigating as an act of terror. Yet, perhaps one of the most frustrating aspects to this attack and others is that they are absolutely preventable or able to be stopped immediately if surrounding citizens are able to fight back, which the people of France are not well-equipped to do.
The stabbing occurred on Sunday evening in Paris at the Parc de la Villette located near the Ourcq Canal. At around 10:50 p.m., a 31-year-old man suddenly broke out in an act of violence with an iron bar.
Several men who were nearby took note of the man who had suddenly begun striking nearby people with the weapon and chased after him. The violent individual then reportedly threw the iron bar in the other men’s direction and pulled out a knife said to be 10-11 inches long.
Other fearful bystanders hid while others attempted to stop the threatening individual with “balls from a pentaque game, a local kind of bowling.”
One witness, Youssef Najah, recalled the incident, explaining that “There were around 20 people chasing him. They started throwing pentaque balls at him. Around four or five balls hit him in the head, but they weren’t able to stop him.”
Then, the crazed man ran towards two British tourists who were harmed along with five others when they were stabbed in the head and chest. Four of the seven victims were initially reported to be in critical condition.
Finally, the otherwise defenseless bystanders were finally able to detain the stabber until the police arrived.
One of the brave individuals who helped put a stop to the attack, self-identifying only as ‘Smaïn,’ explained his perception of the ordeal in saying, “I had a stick, another had an iron bar…one of us hit him. He was threatening everyone with his knife. After he was hit several times he lost his balance and I hit the hand in which he was holding the knife. I then jumped on him and got him to the ground and got him to drop the weapon.”
Although the inexcusable attack inflicted significant damage to several, a witness reported that the ordeal spanned only about seven minutes.
However, it admittedly appeared to be a senseless act of violence targeted at no one specifically, as the attacker was said to have been completely silent throughout.
Following him being detained, witnesses reportedly demanded why he had done such a thing to which the man provided no explanation or angry outburst.
However, despite there having been a shocking amount of other knife attacks in France recently, police reportedly said, “At this stage, nothing leads us to believe these attacks are of a terrorist nature,” according to a spokesperson with the French Interior Ministry.
The suspect reportedly does not have a known record with French police nor is on the “France’s Fiche-S list of potential terrorists.”
Yet in the other recent France attacks, terrorism may have played a role or was at least considered.
On June 17, a woman attacked a supermarket with a box cutter while yelling ‘Allahu akbar!’ and managing to injure two people.
On August 13, a violent ‘Afghan asylum seeker’ also used a knife to injure four people in Perigueux; however, in that incident, investigators reportedly ‘very quickly’ dismissed possible terrorism ties.
Days later, on August 23, another perpetrator went on a rampage in which he killed his mother and sister with a knife before “seriously injur[ing] another person in a town near Paris before being shot by police.”
While ISIS allegedly took responsibility for the incident, French authorities again insisted that such was not the case but that the perpetrator had been “on a terrorist watchlist since 2016” with mental issues.
It does not take a crime expert see the trend manifesting in France which absolutely appears to have terroristic motivations.
The country is said have been “on high alert following a string of jihadist attacks in recent years, often by people who have radicalized or claimed to have acted in the name of the IS group.”
Since 2015, a reported 240 people lost their lives in France at the hands of individuals claiming to be ‘Islamic extremists.’
Regardless of what local authorities want to label these acts of violence as they are nonetheless occurring and harming innocent citizens and tourists.
Yet the laws regarding weapons in France and Europe, in general, are weak enough to allow this to occur.
As seen in the most recent occurrence, it took a group of nearly two dozen men to take down one who only had a metal bar and a knife.
Mass casualties could have easily resulted if the man was carrying a more lethal weapon.
While law-abiding French citizens can apply for gun carry permits, it is more difficult to do so than in most of the U.S. with “some experts saying that the number of illegal guns may be twice the number of legal ones” in France. Yet in other European countries, knife bans prevent citizens from even being able to use that for defense.
Considering that terrorism is occurring in the country through isolated events, the legal defense hindrance on law-abiding citizens is a disgrace and undeniably gives terrorists power.