french police shooting

Another shooting. You’ll most likely have heard on the news of another horrible attack in France. All I can do is regurgitate the facts and figures and form some sort of opinion.

What happened

Just before 9 P.M. local time in France, a car pulled up next to a police bus. A man exited the car and began to openly fire on the bus with an automatic weapon. Karim Cheurfi was shot dead after killing one officer and fleeing the scene. Xavier Jugele was the officer killed and was not the only casualty. Two other officers were injured in the attack.

The shooting took place on the road leading towards the Arc de Triomphe. Belgium’s interior minister has stated that Cheurfi was a French national. Intelligence services have recently begun to identify him as a radical Islamist. Of course, ISIS themselves have carried out their own statement, identifying the shooter as Abu-Yusuf al-Baljiki.

Influence on Election

The right wing candidates have been accused of using the police officers death to make political gains. Far right candidate, Marine Le Pen pledged to expel radical Islamist individuals. The centre candidate, Francois Fillon talked of fighting “Islamic totalitariansim”.

Is it right for them to do this? Of course it is. I don’t see a problem with it. Radical events bring out reactions, for politicians to simply ignore it would be emotionally deafening. Why would they not give a statement and use it to their advantage? People are scared, the people of France presumably want a leader that can prevent horrible acts of terror. I can’t see why there’s so much controversy about commenting on a terror attack.

The current Prime Minister of France, Bernard Cazeneuve, has commented on the matter. He stated that both Le Pen and Fillon are cynically exploiting the attack. If they were doing such a thing, they wouldn’t have cancelled their final campaign events out of respect towards the officer killed. However, it’s debatable whether or not that is the reaction terrorists want from people. If we have to grind to a halt every time a tragedy occurs, there’s no stopping them. These attacks will become more frequent.

Le Pen has stated that foreigners on security watch lists should be evicted from the country. And why shouldn’t they? Human rights? Well, if that’s the price we pay to ensure the safety of everyone else, then go ahead. Do it. I’m honestly not sure if that was sarcasm or not. There’s a great deal to be said about the safety of your people when you have convicted terrorists walking about.

Evacuation and safety of civillians

Civilians pictured told to put their hands up and walk towards safety. REUTERS

The most important aspect of this from a humanitarian stand point is, are people safe. Champs-Elysees was evacuated during the attack. Shots were heard near a Marks and Spencers store and panic ensued. Both tourists and passers by fled away from the gunshots.

Eye witness accounts have stated many fled for cover and shelter in shops and alleyways. A manager of a restaurant located nearby stated that he and his customers had to hide in the basement. It is extremely lucky that civilians were not killed. However, it is a tragedy that a brave officer lost their lives. That’s the world we live in. Tragedy at every corner.

Opinion

This is something very difficult to give an opinion on. No doubt, this is a tragic event, I’m not here to dispute that and certainly wont be going into detail. What I want to focus on is the political impact this will have. As stated in the article, the French Prime Minister has accused certain right wing and centralist candidates of cynical exploitation. That doesn’t add up for me. If this was an act of cynical exploitation I doubt the leaders he targeted would have cancelled their events.

A number of political leaders went ahead to Twitter to pay their respects. Some of these people went one further and cancelled their final political rallies. To me, that shows a great deal of respect. These rallies fell on the final day of campaigning, so to cancel their last ditch attempt at winning over voters, they pay respect. On the other hand, it could be seen that by paying their respects, they seem much more likeable. Just a thought.

At this point, it’s debatable how much chaos this will cause. Strangely enough, there hasn’t been much political outburst globally. In fact, Donald Trump has stated his support for Le Pen, but as far as I know has not issued a statement in links with the attacks. This isn’t that bad, mainly because no other leader has done this either.

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