World Reacts to Racial Tensions, Gun Violence in us

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titreWorld Reacts to Racial Tensions, Gun Violence in us
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World Reacts to Racial Tensions, Gun Violence in US

Associated Press, June 19, 2015 1:53 PM

Often the target of U.S. human rights accusations, China wasted little time returning such charges following the shooting at a historic black church in South Carolina that left nine people dead. Elsewhere, the attack renewed perceptions that Americans have too many guns and have yet to overcome racial tensions.

Some said the attack reinforced their reservations about personal security in the U.S. – particularly as a non-white foreigner – while others said they'd still feel safe if they were to visit. Especially in Australia and northeast Asia, where firearms are strictly controlled and gun violence almost unheard of, many were baffled by the determination among many Americans to own guns despite repeated mass shootings, such as the 2012 tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, where a gunman killed 20 children and six adults.

"We don't understand America's need for guns," said Philip Alpers, director of the University of Sydney's project that compares gun laws across the world. "It is very puzzling for non-Americans." A frontier nation like the U.S., Australia had a similar attitude toward firearms prior to a 1996 mass shooting that killed 35. Soon after, tight restrictions on gun ownership were imposed and no such incidents have been reported since. A similar effect has been seen elsewhere.

"The USA is completely out of step with the rest of the world. We've tightened our gun laws and have seen a reduction," said Claire Taylor, the director of media and public relations at Gun Free South Africa.

Ahmad Syafi'i Maarif, a prominent Indonesian intellectual and former leader of Muhammadiyah, one of the country's largest Muslim organizations, said the tragedy shocked many.

"People all over the world believed that racism had gone from the U.S. when Barack Obama was elected to lead the superpower, twice," Syafi'i Maarif said.

"But the Charleston shooting has reminded us that in fact, the seeds of racism still remain and were embedded in the hearts of small communities there, and can explode at any time, like a terrorist act by an individual," he said.
Dylann Storm Roof, a 21-year-old white man, is accused of fatally shooting nine people at a Bible study at the historically black Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina.

An acquaintance said Roof had complained that "blacks were taking over the world."

Racially charged shootings in the U.S. have received widespread global attention. Prominent Malaysian social commentator Marina Mahathir said many in her country find it puzzling why the U.S. government won't restrict gun ownership laws. The Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects the right to keep and bear arms.

"We are mystified by the freedom of guns there. It's a bizarre idea that everyone should have their right to arms,"  said Marina, the daughter of former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.

In Britain, the attack reinforced the view that America has too many guns and too many racists. The front-page headline of The Independent newspaper said simply, "America's shame." The newspaper said in an editorial that America seems to have moved backward in racial relations since Obama's election, and that the "obscene proliferation of guns only magnifies tragedies" like the church shooting.

The leftist Mexico City newspaper La Jornada said the U.S. has become a "structurally violent state" where force is frequently used domestically and internationally to resolve differences.

"In this context, the unchecked and even paranoid citizen armament is no coincidence: Such a phenomenon reflects the feeling of extensive sectors about the supposed legitimacy of violent methods," it said.

In China, the official Xinhua News Agency said the violence in South Carolina "mirrors the U.S. government's inaction on rampant gun violence as well as the growing racial hatred in the country."

"Unless U.S. President Barack Obama's government really reflects on his country's deep-rooted issues like racial discrimination and social inequality and takes concrete actions on gun control, such tragedy will hardly be prevented from happening again," Xinhua said in an editorial.
On China's Twitter-like Weibo microblogging service, some users said racial discrimination was fueling violence and high crime rates.

Many reflected the official view that gun ownership and violent crime are byproducts of Western-style democratic freedoms that are not only unsuited to China but potentially disastrous.

Recalling the recent killings of Chinese and other foreign students in the U.S., office worker Xie Yan said he had heard much about racism in the U.S., but was uncertain about the underlying dynamics.

"We tend to see the U.S. as a violent place, but I don't think we understand a lot about racism there.

Chairman of the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates Max de Mesa shared the sentiment of civil rights activists in South Carolina who pointed out that the Confederate battle flag, the symbol of the pro-slavery South during the Civil War, continued to fly over the state even as it mourned for the nine people killed.

"Some of the [old] structures and some of the attitudes remain and they were even nurtured, at least that is being shown now," de Mesa said.

"That would be no different from a suicide bomber," he said. "For a jihadist, `I will be with Allah if I do that.' The other says, `I am proving white supremacy here.'"

Indonesian intellectual Syafi'i Maarif said he hoped the incident would help Americans stop equating terrorism with Islam. "Terrorism and radicalism can appear in every strata of society under various guises and in the name of ethnicity, religion and race," he said.

U.S. Cities See a Wave of Homicides

Time, Josh Sanburn  , July 9, 2015

For a number of cities around the country, the summer of 2015 is beginning to look like the end of the years-long decline in violent crime.

Baltimore, Chicago, Milwaukee, New Orleans, New York City, St. Louis and Washington, D.C., among others, have all seen significant increases in their murder rates through the first half of 2015.

Homicides in St. Louis, for example, are up almost 60% from last year while robberies are up 40%. In Washington, D.C., 73 people have been killed so far this year, up from 62 last year, an 18% jump. In Milwaukee, murders have doubled since last year, while in nearby Chicago homicides have jumped almost 20%.

It’s unclear what’s driving the increase across multiple cities, as some cities are dealing with localized issues that may not apply when looking at the rising crime rates elsewhere. St. Louis police say that judges have been too lenient against criminals who have had histories of illegal gun possession and prosecutors haven’t aggressively pursued murder charges.

In Milwaukee, officials say they’re dealing with lax gun laws in the state, while Chicago officials blame criminals who are buying guns in states like Wisconsin and Indiana–two states with fewer firearm restrictions–and using them in criminal acts in the city.

Criminologists warn that the recent spikes could merely be an anomaly, a sort of reversion to the mean after years of declining crime rates. But there could be something else going on, what some officials have called a “Ferguson effect,” in which criminals who are angry over police-involved shootings like that of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager who was shot and killed by a white police officer in August, have felt emboldened to commit increased acts of violence.

The Freedom of an Armed Society

By Firmin Debrabander

The New York Times, December 16, 2012
Individual gun ownership — and gun violence — has long been a distinctive feature of

American society, setting us apart from the other industrialized democracies of the world.

Recent legislative developments, however, are progressively bringing guns out of the private

domain, with the ultimate aim of enshrining them in public life. Indeed, the N.R.A. strives for

a day when the open carry of powerful weapons might be normal, a fixture even, of any visit

to the coffee shop or grocery store — or classroom.

As N.R.A. president Wayne LaPierre expressed in a recent statement on the organization’s

Web site, more guns equal more safety, by their account. A favorite gun rights saying is “an

armed society is a polite society.” If we allow ever more people to be armed, at any time, in

any place, this will provide a powerful deterrent to potential criminals. Or if more citizens

were armed — like principals and teachers in the classroom, for example — they could halt

senseless shootings ahead of time, or at least early on, and save society a lot of heartache and

bloodshed. As ever more people are armed in public, however — even brandishing weapons

on the street — this is no longer recognizable as a civil society. Freedom is vanished at that


An armed society is polite, by their thinking, precisely because guns would compel everyone

to tamp down eccentric behavior, and refrain from actions that might seem threatening. The

suggestion is that guns liberally interspersed throughout society would cause us all to walk

gingerly — not make any sudden, unexpected moves — and watch what we say, how we act,

whom we might offend.

The very power and possibility of free speech and assembly rests on their non-violence. The

power of the Occupy Wall Street movement, as well as the Arab Spring protests, stemmed

precisely from their non-violent nature. This power was made evident by the ferocity of

government response to the Occupy movement. Occupy protestors across the country were

increasingly confronted by police in military style garb and affect.

Imagine what this would have looked like had the protestors been armed: in the face of the

New York Police Department assault on Zuccotti Park, there might have been armed

insurrection in the streets. The non-violent nature of protest in this country ensures that it can


Gun rights advocates also argue that guns provide the ultimate insurance of our freedom, in so

far as they are the final deterrent against encroaching centralized government, and an

executive branch run amok with power. Any suggestion of limiting guns rights is greeted by

ominous warnings that this is a move of expansive, would-be despotic government. It has

been the means by which gun rights advocates withstand even the most seemingly rational

gun control measures. An assault weapons ban, smaller ammunition clips for guns, longer

background checks on gun purchases — these are all measures centralized government wants,

they claim, in order to exert control over us, and ultimately impose its arbitrary will. I have

often suspected, however, that contrary to holding centralized authority in check, broad

individual gun ownership gives the powers-that-be exactly what they want.

After all, a population of privately armed citizens is one that is increasingly fragmented, and

vulnerable as a result. Private gun ownership invites retreat into extreme individualism — I

heard numerous calls for homeschooling in the wake of the Newtown shootings — and

nourishes the illusion that I can be my own police, or military, as the case may be. The N.R.A.

would have each of us steeled for impending government aggression, but it goes without

saying that individually armed citizens are no match for government force. The N.R.A. argues

against that interpretation of the Second Amendment that privileges armed militias over

individuals, and yet it seems clear that armed militias, at least in theory, would provide a

superior check on autocratic government.

Our gun culture promotes a fatal slide into extreme individualism. It fosters a society of

atomistic individuals, isolated before power — and one another — and in the aftermath of

shootings such as at Newtown, paralyzed with fear. That is not freedom, but quite its opposite.

And as the Occupy movement makes clear, also the demonstrators that precipitated regime

change in Egypt and Myanmar last year, assembled masses don’t require guns to exercise and

secure their freedom, and wield world-changing political force. Arendt and Foucault reveal

that power does not lie in armed individuals, but in assembly — and everything conducive to


Firmin DeBrabander is an associate professor of philosophy at the Maryland Institute

College of Art, Baltimore.

Sujet BCE 2008 LV1

Despite the recent spate of shootings on our streets, we pride ourselves on our strict gun laws. Every time an American gunman goes on a killing spree, we shake our heads in righteous disbelief at our poor benighted colonial cousins. Why is it, even after the Virginia Tech massacre, that Americans still resist calls for more gun controls ?

The short answer is that "gun controls" do not work : they are indeed generally perverse in their effects. Virginia Tech, where 32 students were shot in April, had a strict gun ban policy and only last year successfully resisted a legal challenge that would have allowed the carrying of licensed defensive weapons on campus. It is with a measure of bitter irony that we recall Thomas Jefferson, founder of the University of Virginia, recording the words of Cesare Beccaria : "Laws that forbid the carrying of arms ... disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes ... Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants, they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man. "

One might contrast the Virginia Tech massacre with the assault on Virginia’s Appalachian Law School in 2002, where three lives were lost before a student fetched a pistol from his car and apprehended the gunman.

Virginia Tech reinforced the lesson that gun controls are obeyed only by the law-abiding. New York has "banned" pistols since 1911, and its fellow murder capitals, Washington DC and Chicago, have similar bans. One can draw a map of the US, showing the inverse relationship of the strictness of its gun laws, and levels of violence : all the way down to Vermont, with no gun laws at all, and the lowest level of armed violence (one thirteenth that of Britain).

America’s disenchantment with "gun control" is based on experience : whereas in the 1960s and 19705 armed crime rose in the face of more restrictive gun laws (in much of the US, it was illegal to possess a firearm away from the home or workplace), over the past 20 years all violent crime has dropped dramatically, in lockstep with the spread of laws allowing the carrying of concealed weapons by law-abiding citizens. Florida set this trend in 1987, and within five years the states that had followed its example showed an 8 per cent reduction in murders, 7 per cent reduction in aggravated assaults, and 5 per cent reduction in rapes. Today 40 states have such laws, and by 2004 the US Bureau of Justice reported that "firearms-related crime has plummeted".

In Britain, however, the image of violent America remains unassailably entrenched. Never mind the findings of the International Crime Victims Survey (published by the Home Office in 2003), indicating that we now suffer three times the level of violent crime committed in the United States ; never mind the doubling of handgun crime in Britain over the past decade, since we banned pistols outright and confiscated all the legal ones. We are so self-congratulatory about our officially disarmed society, and so dismissive of colonial rednecks, that we have forgotten that within living memory British citizens could buy any gun - rifle, pistol, or machinegun - without any licence. When Dr Watson walked the streets of London with a revolver in his pocket, he was a perfectly ordinary Victorian or Edwardian. [ ... ] In 1909, policemen in Tottenham borrowed at least four pistols from passers-by (and were joined by other armed citizens) when they set off in pursuit of two anarchists unwise enough to attempt an armed robbery. We now are shocked that so many ordinary people should have been carrying guns in the street ; the Edwardians were shocked rather by the idea of an armed robbery.

If armed crime in London in the years before the First World War amounted to less than 2 per cent of that we suffer today, it was not simply because society then was more stable. Edwardian Britain was rocked by a series of massive strikes in which lives were lost and troops deployed, and suffragette incendiaries, anarchist bombers, Fenians, and the spectre of a revolutionary general strike made Britain then arguably a much more turbulent place than it is today. In that unstable society the impact of the widespread carrying of arms was not inflammatory, it was deterrent of violence.

As late as 1951, self-defence was the justification of three quarters of all applications for pistol licences. And in the years 1946-51 armed robbery, the most significant measure of gun crime, ran at less than two dozen incidents a year in London ; today, in our disarmed society, we suffer as many every week.

Gun controls disarm only the law-abiding, and leave predators with a freer hand. Nearly two and a half million people now fall victim to crimes of violence in Britain every year, more than four every minute : crimes that may devastate lives. It is perhaps a privilege of those who have never had to confront violence to disparage the power to resist.

The Times, September 8, 2007

Répondre en ANGLAIS aux questions suivantes

(environ 250 mots pour chaque réponse)

1. What arguments does the author put forward to justify his position on gun control ?

Answer the question in your own words.

2. In your opinion, does the recent evolution of British and US societies necessarily engender more violence ?


Traduisez l’extrait d’article suivant en anglais (titre inclus).

Tuerie de Washington - Un démenti au lobby pro-armes

«Qu’est-ce qui peut arrêter un sale type avec une arme? Réponse: un brave type avec une arme.» C’est l’argument en forme de devinette du lobby des armes aux Etats-Unis qui, chaque fois qu’un massacre de masse est perpétré, assure que le tueur a délibérément choisi un lieu où ses victimes seraient incapables de riposter car désarmées. Or, souligne «Mother Jones», cet argument est battu en brèche par le tueur du bâtiment de la Navy à Washington, qui selon le rapport du FBI était convaincu de faire face à une riposte armée, comme le confirme une vidéo tournée par les caméras de surveillance, et s’était préparé à mourir au cours de son assaut solitaire.

Paris Match, le 27 septembre 2013


  1. La Cour européenne des droits de l’homme a estimé que l’interdiction de stocker l’ADN d’anciens suspects innocents était légale

  2. Le gouvernement a exposé les détails de sa politique de contrôle des armes à feu

  3. Les juges de la Cour Suprême ont annoncé que la référence à la réserve territoriale dans le deuxième amendement n’interdit pas la possession d’armes de la part de personnes privées

  4. La loi empiétait sur les droits garantis par la Constitution

  5. Le 2e amendement peut être interprété de diverses façons

  6. Les défenseurs des droits civils sont contre une amnistie générale qui bénéficierait aux bourreaux comme aux victimes

  7. Malgré la récurrence des massacres, l’opposition à toute interdiction générale des armes à feu reste enracinée dans l’opinion publique américaine

  8. L’interdiction du port d’armes à Washington DC a été levée par la cour Suprême

  9. Trente mille personnes sont tuées chaque année par les armes à feu aux Etats Unis

  10. Trois quarts des armes à feu dans le monde sont détenues par des civils, a annoncé mardi l’Institut des hautes études internationales et du développement de Genève dans un rapport qui souligne la corrélation entre l’urbanisation galopante et la violence armée.


Tout en lui massant les pieds et les chevilles, son père lui dit : « J’ai croisé Rouvière, tout à l’heure. Il venait de te voir. Il m’a complimenté pour ta bonne mine. »

« Qu’est-ce qu’il t’a raconté ? »

« Rien. Que les temps sont durs. Que nous aurons un parlement de fer au deuxième tour des législatives. Mais toi ? De quoi voulais-tu lui parler ? »

« De timbres-poste », dit Mathilde. Son père sait depuis toujours comment elle est cachottière, il ne s’en émeut plus.

« Tiens donc. Tu t’intéresses à une foule de choses depuis quelque temps. La bicyclette, la boxe, Ie vin d’Anjou, maintenant les timbres. »

« Je m’instruis, dit Mathilde. Tu devrais essayer ; toi aussi. Je suis sûre que tu serais incapable de citer le nom d’un seul bateau faisant la traversée San Francisco-Vancouver en 1898. ( ... ). »

Il rit.

« Tu me fais marcher. Mais quel rapport avec les timbres-poste ? »

« Alors là, c’est encore plus difficile, même pour moi. Tu ne vas pas me croire. »

« Mais oui, je vais te croire. »

Sébastien Japrisot, Un long dimanche de fiançailles, Éditions Denoël, 1991

They were older when they married than most of their married friends : in their well-seasoned late twenties. Both had had a number of affairs, sweet rather than bitter ; and when they fell in love - for they did fall in love - had known each other for some time. They joked that they had saved each other ’for the real thing’. That they had waited so long (but not too long) for this real thing was to them a proof of their sensible discrimination. A good many of their friends had married young, and now (they felt) probably regretted lost opportunities ; while others, still unmarried, seemed to them arid, self-doubting, and likely to make desperate or romantic marriages.

Not only they, but others, felt they were well-matched : their friends’ delight was an additional proof of their happiness. They had played the same roles, male and female, in this group or set, if such a wide, loosely connected, constantly changing constellation of people could be called a set. They had both become, by virtue of their moderation, their humour, and their abstinence from painful experience, people to whom others came for advice. They could be, and were, relied on. It was one of those cases of a man and a woman linking themselves whom no one else had ever thought of linking, probably because of their similarities. But then everyone exclaimed : Of course ! How right ! How was it we never thought of it before ! And so they married amid general rejoicing, and because of their foresight and their sense for what was probable, nothing was a surprise to them.

Doris LESSING, To Room Nineteen, in A Man and Two Women, Ed. Jonathan Clowes, 1963


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