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Armed Citizens May Be the Solution to Terrorism, Says Interpol Secretary General

Open Carryformatted_dad / photo on flickrWhat do you do when terrorists turn from attacking well-protected government buildings and transportation centers in favor of anyplace that people may congregate? Specifically, how do you address bloody scenarios like the assault on the Westgate mall in Nairobi, Kenya by the Islamist group al-Shabaab, which killed at least 61 civilians? Well, the Secretary General of Interpol, the international police-coordination organization, says you either start providing "extraordinary security" perimeters around anything that might be a target, or else let people carry the means to defend themselves. Surprisingly, he seems to lean toward empowering individuals to take responsibility for their own defense.

In an interview with ABC News, Interpol Secretary General Ronald K. Noble said:

"Societies have to think about how they're going to approach the problem," Noble said. "One is to say we want an armed citizenry; you can see the reason for that. Another is to say the enclaves are so secure that in order to get into the soft target you're going to have to pass through extraordinary security."

"Enclaves" translates as "any place people gather," which could be a mall, a theater, a supermarket, a town square... That's an awful lot of secure perimeters to set up. No doubt, plenty of police unions and politically well-connected private security companies would love to see that effort made, but are you really going to throw a cordon up every time a few people gather to chat about the weather or have a barbecue? Unusually for a government official (he was the Undersecretary for Enforcement of the United States Department of the Treasury, in charge of the Secret Service as well as the ATF), Noble obviously sees that as a bit of a daunting challenge. He adds:

"Ask yourself: If that was Denver, Col., if that was Texas, would those guys have been able to spend hours, days, shooting people randomly?" Noble said, referring to states with pro-gun traditions. "What I'm saying is it makes police around the world question their views on gun control. It makes citizens question their views on gun control. You have to ask yourself, 'Is an armed citizenry more necessary now than it was in the past with an evolving threat of terrorism?' This is something that has to be discussed."

"For me it's a profound question," he continued. "People are quick to say 'gun control, people shouldn't be armed,' etc., etc. I think they have to ask themselves: 'Where would you have wanted to be? In a city where there was gun control and no citizens armed if you're in a Westgate mall, or in a place like Denver or Texas?'"

Ronald. K. NobleInterpolI'd answer that allowing people to proactively respond to threats has always been a better idea that trying to anticipate what assailants might consider to be an easy target. You can't fortify every gathering on the planet, and each security perimeter will still have potential victims within it for the enterprising terrorist who can penetrate "extraordinary security."

The Secretary General, by the way, also called for tighter passport controls, so his comments weren't a totally unmixed bag for those of us favoring personal liberty and autonomy. Travel has become an increasingly bureaucratic ordeal over the past century, and that doesn't look likely to let up soon.

Noble (pictured at right) was first appointed to oversee Interpol's day-to-day work in 2000, and his third five-year term is up in 2015. After voicing even measured support for armed citizens in a world where governments have never much liked the idea, let's see if he makes it to through the full gig.

Update: Minneapolis police officers may agree, even by accident, with Secretary General Noble. They're objecting to an NFL policy banning off-duty cops from taking their guns into stadiums. Without their guns, they point out, they won't be able to respond to attacks.

Photo Credit: formatted_dad photo on flickr

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  • Steve G||

    Lots of money to be made in "extraordinary security"...

  • Animal||

    Fuck off, spammer.

  • KDN||

    the Secretary General of Interpol, the international police-coordination organization, says you either start providing "extraordinary security" perimeters around anything that might be a target, or else let people carry the means to defend themselves.

    Figure out which of these two options presents a greater opportunity for graft and you'll have your answer as to which will be chosen.

  • ||

    "Ask yourself: If that was Denver, Col., if that was Texas, would those guys have been able to spend hours, days, shooting people randomly?"

    Denver has some awful gun laws. Colorado Springs or Grand Junction might be a better example.

  • Steve G||

    Paging Justin S, paging Justin S...

  • rts||

    'Where would you have wanted to be? In a city where there was gun control and no citizens armed if you're in a Westgate mall, or in a place like Denver or Texas?'

    I'll just get the top derps out of the way:

    - I want to be in the land of unicorns where there are no guns anywhere, nor pointed sticks!

    - But the crossfire will kill thousands upon thousands, as wave after wave of armed citizens annihilate each other and the terrorists walk away!

  • John C. Randolph||

    Just ask Israel. Their enemy switched from trying to shoot up shopping malls to lobbing half-assed rockets at them because so many Israelis were routinely packing heat, that a perp could sometimes be dispatched before he'd managed to kill any innocent people at all.

    -jcr

  • Matrix||

    That proves that guns are evil! 'cause the righteous Palestinians can't kill evil Jews Zionist occupiers.

    /libderp

  • The Late P Brooks||

    But without teh Speshull Trainingz, it will be a BLOODBATH!

  • Restoras||

    The proglodytes really do love everything with the word "train" in it, don't they?

  • LarryA||

    And a badge. You have to have a badge.

  • Akira||

    "Progressives" half of the time:
    "Cops are racist, blood-thirsty maniacs who just shoot wildly at some indefinite target and get innocent people killed!"

    "Progressives" the other half of the time:
    "Cops are highly trained experts who can shoot the penis off a mosquito at 1000 yards, and they're the only ones who should be allowed to have guns!"

  • Stephdumas||

    It could be interesting to ask them if they are anti-gun or pro-elitism if we tell them then the police should not have guns like in this comic? http://anarchyinyourhead.com/2.....-peasants/

  • SweatingGin||

    I'm not counting on reappointment

    Came here to add "soon to be former"

  • ||

    No wonder this guy doesn't work for the US Government any more.

  • Killazontherun||

    Way too intelligent for his field of work. Like a hobo with an advanced degree in particle physics.

  • sarcasmic||

    You know, there's a reason why shooters choose gun free zones. I can't think of it off the top of my head. Dang it!

  • Swiss Servator, O Luzern!||

    Irony?

  • itsnotmeitsyou||

    Damn hipster mass shooters.

  • Restoras||

    They are the worst!

  • SimonJester||

    Is Nikki a hipster?

  • Rich||

    Without their guns, they point out, they won't be able to respond to attacks.

    Sure they will. Just not as effectively.

  • SimonJester||

  • Boisfeuras||

    The secretary general, an American who previously headed up all law enforcement for the U.S. Treasury Department, told reporters during a brief news conference that the Westgate mall attack marks what has long been seen as "an evolution in terrorism."

    Of course. I couldn't imagine a European government official ever suggesting such a thing. And I figured a guy named Ronald Noble probably wasn't Honduran (they had open and concealed carry until a few years ago).

  • LarryA||

    "One is to say we want an armed citizenry; you can see the reason for that. Another is to say the enclaves are so secure that in order to get into the soft target you're going to have to pass through extraordinary security."

    Not much difference. By the time you actually hire and arm enough guards for the second solution, you'll pretty much have everyone in the country carrying anyway.

  • thorax232||

    Obviously if more people have guns, most of them will turn into sociopathic murders. Right? ...Guys?

  • Jeff Dermer||

    People should just have swords. Getting shot is one thing. But getting your hand lopped off is another. Free longswords for everyone.

  • meunke||

    I'm a HUGE proponent of CCW. However, if one is going to open carry, I'm of the opinion that said weapon should be as best a work of functional art as one can get, and a sword is ALWAYS stylish as a fine rapier or even a well made Pompeii gladius can really bring an outfit together. :-)

  • junyo||

    You've clearly never heard of a barbecue gun...

    http://i23.photobucket.com/alb.....quero2.jpg

  • ||

    That's some lovely piece.

  • ant1sthenes||

    Someone needs to invent a functional swordgun, to get the best of both worlds.

  • Animal||

    Why not just carry a gun and a sword?

  • TheZeitgeist||

    Think affixing a bayonet on the AK qualifies.

  • Animal||

    How about if I just duck-tape my sword to my .338?

  • PaulW||

    Solution:

    Allow the people to arm themselves. Allow any dog who is trained in bomb sniffing in any public place with their owner. Of course, the latter might not work so well unless the dogs were also allowed off leash, but it would *look* like it would work, which would make more of a difference.

  • BLEEDINELL||

    Methinks Ron Noble will be scrubbing latrines with a toothbrush next week.

  • Cloudbuster||

    Interpol's website today lists Noble as a former Secretary General and lists Jürgen Stock as the current Secretary General.

    http://www.interpol.int/About-.....ry-General

  • Cloudbuster||

    Ah, didn't catch the date on this article. Well, there's your answer. He didn't make it to 2015. Wonder if that had anything to do with his stance on an armed populace.

  • Hank Phillips||

    There is something karmic about Europeans having to repeal their own Kristallnacht gun laws...

  • Set Us Up The Chipper||

    Karmic or merely therapeutic?

  • ant1sthenes||

    Yep. Government is just another word for "someone else will handle it". And we are seeing the limitations of that philosophy.

  • buybuydandavis||

    Government is what we call the guns we point at each other.

  • bluecanarybythelightswitch||

    Government is the big black dildo we.... together.

  • SIV||

    This is the most visited post on Reason right now?

  • Cloudbuster||

    An excellent example of how measuring something can influence the thing you are measuring.

  • ||

    Yet, for some reason (excuse the pun?) not many comments. I know it's not about deep dish pizza, tits, Mexican ass, abortion or Lou Reed but I would think a piece on guns would garner more that 40 comments.

  • ||

    I may sound a little bit off on this, but it is the internet, sooo....

    Everyone who has a conceal/carry permit should have 4 weekends every year where they voluntarily do situational training for crisis response, such as "how to respond when you perceive a terror threat vs. how to respond when you recognize a terror threat". And I would define terror as "an action or actions of an individual or group that causes a significant hindrance to the course of daily life of those within the local scenario with the sole mean of destruction and chaos."

    And self-defense classes. I'll probably start doing more of that.

  • bunslicer||

    Tucson, AZ and Charleston, SC have permissive gun laws too, and that didn't do squat to stop massacres there.

  • Harvard||

    Perhaps due to "gun free zones". In Michigan, all of the Paris carnage would have been easily carried out as such zones include bars where alcohol is served (restaurant & band concert) and arenas containing 1500 people or more.

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