Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Constitutional right to shoot terrorists

The current Czech minister of interior, Mr Milan Chovanec (social democracy; previously the governor of the Pilsner region who was 65 kg heavier than he is now and started his successful diet-with-a-nutella-punchline and a clerk in a vegetable shop; the smiling grey gay on the picture happens to be our neighbor from my childhood Mr František Hykeš, a communist journalist and at the time of the photograph, a spokesman for the zoo or something like that), has reacted to the recent attacks in Berlin and Istanbul (if I omit the stabbing of a Pole in a Polish kebab shop) in a thought-provoking way.

He proposes a constitutional amendment saying that every Czech citizen has the right to shoot a terrorist dead. It's that simple. When someone is going to be confirmed as a terrorist on a mission – or, almost equivalently, a perpetrator of a violent attack considered an attack against the country – the holders of guns have the right to shoot at this individual and terminate his or her life.

Even though almost all Czechs favor a firm treatment of the terrorists and those who may belong to this set, Chovanec's proposal has ignited mixed reactions. Some people, including people who are against migration, think that the proposal is an easy populist plan to increase the support of the social democrats before the elections.

The precise arguments why it's just a theater usually say that it's already possible to use the guns in this way now so he is just expressing the status quo in a dramatic way. I beg to differ. Right now, you're explicitly allowed to use the guns to defend yourself. Defending other potential victims of the terrorist act seems like an enhancement of the rights of the 300,000 Czech license holders for the 800,000 guns.

And I think that this extension is damn reasonable. I don't really know whether you could face legal problems if you shot down a terrorist during an attack now. I think that no one knows. And I think that the answer should clearly be that you shouldn't face any legal problems. Instead, if the averted terrorist act seems like a dramatic one, you should receive the Order of the White Lion. ;-) That's why I think that it should be explicitly stated by a law – perhaps a paragraph in the constitution (some 2/3 majority is needed for the Parliament to pass constitutional amendments) – that you're allowed to do such things.

Maybe, some of the negative reactions come from the people who don't understand what applications of the guns are explicitly permitted. Others just like to mock Chovanec because of his humble background.

Chovanec compares the proposal to the situation in two countries, the U.S. and Israel. Americans enjoy the second amendment. Chovanec says that what he wants isn't quite the same thing because the guns shouldn't be a fundamental right but some different right and I am not quite sure what he's saying. On the other hand, Israel seems to have a similar law that allows the guns to be used against the terrorists.

A usual criticism – also mentioned in a hysterical pro-migrant analysis of the proposal in Die Welt – is that Israel and Czechia live in completely different situations. Israel has to deal with terrorism on a daily basis and the public is the most experienced civilized nation in the world that can do such things reasonably. On the other hand, the experience of the general public with the "real action" is nearly non-existent in Czechia and Prague which systematically belong to 10 safest countries and cities in the world.

Yup, the situations are different. But that doesn't prove that the proposal is a bad one. I think that the advantages would beat the disadvantages. And after all, I think that Israel has shown that its solutions to similar problems are really effective and wise and effective and wise policies may be helpful for everyone else, too.

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