All We Could Do Was Scream

…because, you see, Germans aren’t allowed to carry guns unless they are police officers.

Here’s the whole story, but all you need to read is the last few lines:

Frantic footage from a smartphone has captured the moment terrified passengers fled the scene, with many screaming as they sprinted away from the station.
Recalling the terrifying moment the axeman struck, a witness said: “I have never seen anything like that I my life.
“He suddenly jumped out of the train and started to strike at people with an axe – just about two metres away from to us.
“But no one could help, it was impossible. We just stopped and screamed.”

Please, someone make the comment about how this response is morally better than an armed citizen shooting the asshole in the face. Then explain that to the 13-year-old girl who nearly had her arm hacked off.

Update: The comments to this post brought back to mind a comment I made at Insty’s place a while back.

I don’t need the government to tell me how to protect myself, my family and my community. I especially don’t need the government to tell me why I shouldn’t protect myself, my family and my community (and to run away like a goddamned coward).
I’m armed, well trained and ready to die to protect the above against criminal aggression. I’m the “citizen militia”, the “gun hiding behind every blade of grass”, and I’m the situation all criminals fear when they’re about to perpetrate their evil deeds.
If government wants to help me in my endeavor, well and good. If they won’t or can’t, they need to stay out of my goddamned way while I go about my business.


  1. To be fair, while having a gun might have been helpful, this could have been dealt with using other available tools – if someone was actually willing to intervene. As said “the tools only take you half way” and you will be hard pressed to find people in Germany with the will to do something.

    Admittedly, they are a minority in the US, too, but there’s even fewer in Germany.

    1. Tobias:

      Technically you are correct, that one can deal with a axe wielding maniac/TNJ with anything from bare hands to mortars (howitzer would be overkill, even given Maxim 37).

      However using bare hands or edged or blunt weapons you have *fight* the person. You put yourself at additional risk. “If the enemy is in range, so are you” is a function of how each side is armed. You want to be armed with greater range than your opposition so that you can hang out in a safe place and shoot them in the head[1].

      Also if you have a firearm you *have* a plan. Draw, aim, fire, beer[2]. If you don’t have a firearm you need to figure out how to adapt what you *do* have to what is going on. This saves vital seconds and prevents brainlock.

      [1] Head? Yeah. Suicide belts/vests. Shoot them in the head until they fall down, then anchor them.[3]
      [2] Or cider, or whiskey, or a nice cold soda if you’re Mormon.
      [3] This assumes your problem is a (likely) terrorist of some sort. Muggers get shot in the face because, but they don’t get/need the anchor shots.

  2. I’m inclined to agree with Tobias. Men with axes are super scary, but deal withable, even without a gun. All you need is that moment to gather your wits and form a plan.

    The main reason these people’s fallback position was running and screaming is because they’ve generally accepted the premise that someone ELSE is the help they’re looking for.

    You. You are the help you’re looking for. So make yourself formidable. Be friendly, be a blessing to every decent person you meet, and never forget, deep down, that you are the scariest motherfucker in the room, the legitimate heir to fifty thousand years of Sabre Tooth Tiger Pelt Wearing, Mastodon eating, Great Ape Beating badassery.

    1. Geeky,
      I’m not worried about me. I never leave the house without my 1911, and even in Europe, I’m never completely unarmed. (Don’t ask.)
      It would be nice though, if while I’m disposing of said motherfucker, there were someone else to watch my back just in case there’s another of them. I don’t need help, just support.

      1. Sorry, the “you” was the royal you, addressed to the world at large, and the runners and screamers in specific. I was certainly not addressing Kim of the Grim Countenance, who I would never, ever mistake for a runner or screamer.

    2. Warriors are not born, they are made. Bravery is not the absence of fear, but action in the face of fear. This almost always requires training.

      1. You’re describing a soldier, Rob.

        “Warriors fight for glory, and they are always alone even when they are in a crowd of their own. They are the best of the best, competent professionals who are motivated by amateur concerns, driven by ego, by Pride. Soldiers are average men trained to fight as a team; fighting is a job to them, nothing more, though they do it the best they can. They are professionals who are motivated by the desire, one day, to be a civilian again.”

  3. Fatmir H. from Kosovo.

    “Mental problems,” they say.

    It seems when they can’t quite go the full M.O.N.A. (Men of No Appearance, or often even name) because the story is too high-profile, they now boilerplate on M.O.N.P.O.M. (Men of No Possible Other Motive).

  4. I am the weapon, the gun just makes my edge that much keener.

    The, “I am the weapon” part is lost on so many people. I recently started taking a martial arts program. It seems like every other day, they are pounding into our heads. Decisiveness, quick action and violence of action are the keys. Perfect technique helps, but the decision, quickly and violently is the part where most people fail.

    I don’t really need that repetition, but it is good seeing the sheep open their eyes. For me, the instructor routinely tells me, “for legal reasons, you may want to consider submission holds, not such savage second and third moves”.

  5. “Gun control is the position that a woman, raped and strangled in an alley, is morally superior to one who shoots her attacker stone dead.”

    I have no idea who said this — I want to say it was you, Kim — but I’ve used it as a nuclear option on several occasions when idiots try to drag me into a gun control debate.

    1. Sadly, ’twas not I who coined the expression, but I wish it was.

      The saying’s provenance may be unclear, but its clarity and truth certainly are not.

  6. Sarah Hoyt’s put you on Insty, Kim.

    “I am the weapon, the gun just makes my edge that much keener.” Yes, the mindset is everything. Edge, useless, unless put into action.

  7. Long before the ax comes out, you need to create a culture of proper security without a police state. Creating that culture requires, at the beginning, a conversation. Part of that conversation is a question, what is the individual’s duty to society to protect it? What the individual does not cover, society has to fill in with police and military forces. If the police/military component is too large, you get a police state. A police state is failure.

    So fellow german/american/frenchman/italian/etc are you willing to shoulder enough of the burden so that we are neither insecure nor under a police state? What does shouldering that burden mean? What actions do you need to take?

    Wherever security is breaking down, that conversation has not productively happened in a long time and the culture that builds on it to create a free society is either seriously sick or dead as a doornail.

    It would be nice if we had that conversation in the areas where security is breaking down. We might even save the republic in the US.

  8. It is my belief that a neighborhood is about as safe as the adult men of the neighborhood require it to be. I have observed this everywhere I have traveled in the world.

  9. While I’ll certainly agree with you that even a big, strong, extremely motivated man with an axe can be taken down and out with all sorts of tools, that really wasn’t the point. My 4’10” 70 year old mother could have taken that dude out from across the car without giving up her window seat. That to me is the point.

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