9 thoughts on “How Very French!

  1. Thanks for the link – I’d not heard this particular aspect of the story.

    From what I understand the French have a very poor reputation amongst Americans for poltroonery and lack of martial spirit. It’s much the same in the UK, although from my reading of French military history I get the impression that what they lack is good leadership and organisation rather than bravery or fighting skill.

    I’m not surprised that these bureaucrats hid. They probably had no weapons, no training, and a belief that if they laid a hand on a member of the public, no matter what the provocation, then their bosses would throw them to the wolves. That’s certainly how many people I know feel about their employers. Unfortunately, I suspect that the chilling effects of a risk-averse corporate/state culture affect far more than just the French.

  2. They weren’t bureaucrats; they were the crew of a passenger liner, doing things like serving drinks in the bar car and selling prepackaged sandwiches from a lunch counter.

    I can understand why they ran. But it’s still despicable, if true.

    • Whatever they’re called (probably “personnel de cabine” in France) it’s still the case that they’re not trained, equipped or motivated to fight terrorists. Of course, neither were most of the passengers, but even amongst those passengers who did rise to the occasion there were off-duty professionals.

      I would share your opinion that standing up to villains such as this is the right thing to do, though few are up for it. This article contains a comment I think relevant:

      Fascism introduced a form of state which was claustrophobic in its oppressiveness. The result was a population of decidedly unheroic mediocrities, sly conformists scared of their own shadows, worlds removed from the kind of dynamic human character the Fascists had hoped would inherit the Earth.

      Replace “fascism” with “nanny statism” (or whatever you think the appropriate term) and there we have it.

  3. They staff panicked when they couldn’t surrender, so they hid and waited for the Brits and Americans to settle his hash. Contrast that with unarmed American school teachers running towards gunmen to protect their students.

  4. Always unfortunate when people live down to their national stereotypes. 🙁

    Well done to the three Americans and one Brit who did tackle the gunman!

    At least the French government showed a touch of class in immediately decorating those guys for bravery. Hero is term which is sadly over used these days, but to those men it is entirely apt.

    One point though, some reports say the gunman’s rifle jammed after one shot. AK-47? Obviously not as 100% reliable as some would have us believe. Thankfully.

  5. This shooter couldn’t be all bad. If he was even a semipro and was just lukewarm about inflicting harm and knew how to work his AK47, we might have had a different outcome.

  6. It’s only fair to acknowledge the first passenger to confront the gunman – when he saw the wannabe terrorist unpacking his rifle, he immediately tackled him and tried to wrestle the weapon away. In this, he was unsuccessful, and was shot and badly injured as well. However, he did seriously disrupt the gunman’s plans, and his actions alerted the other passengers to the danger (he also, like the four others, was awarded the Legion of Honor).
    He was French.

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