I really don't know...

I HATE FIREARMS. (I hate the hunting season in Brittany. I hate firearms owners who buy them in order to protect themselves... even though they know that if they kill a burglar, they will end up in jail. Because in France, a murder is always a murder.)

Many times, since I live all by myself in our very secluded house in Brittany, people have been telling me to buy a gun just in case...

A gun? What would I do with a gun? To which a very bright friend of mine answered: «You’d get killed.» And I know this is what would probably happen. The burglar would seize the gun and use it against me. I’m positive about it.

And worse, what if the man would not grab the gun and I’d kill him because I’d be scared out of my wits and wouldn’t even know what I’d be doing.

So I did not buy a gun and never will.

Last week, I went back to Brussels now that part of the house is almost refurbished after being flooded. Yola was there to help me get my thousands of books back on the shelves in my den.

Yola is a sweet young woman who does for me what I don’t do anymore. She cleans the house, irons shirts and sheets, etc. etc. She’s very sweet and we’ve become sort of friends ever since I hired her, 11 years ago. I really like her a lot.

Her only flaw is that she loves all the news with gory details. We had talked on the phone quite a few times but I hadn’t seen her for about one month. She couldn’t wait to tell me that a couple of days ago, less than 500 meters from my house, there had been a burglary in a jeweller’s shop and a woman had been stabbed to death as a result. Yola’s story.

I hate this kind of story but I like Yola and so I listened to her blabbering out this horrible gory story. I know she’s scared to live in Brussels where she’s been assaulted a couple of times (she comes from a very small village in Poland). So have I, lucky me... six times (one of them was an attempt to carjacking).

So all day long, she talked and talked about her fears and stress and oh well, we did manage to work hard... I had a few minutes of respite from time to time whenever I found a very beloved but nevertheless completely forgotten book and  I quit working to read a few sentences here and there. Good idea to grab a few minutes of rest from hard work and gory stories!

When I got back to Paris (since I still can’t stay in Brussels for the night and this is just too bad!), I have to admit that I was curious about what had really happened in the street behind our block.

I went on the web to read the French-speaking newspaper called «Le Soir»... Very Belgian. «Le Soir» (The Evening) is a morning paper. Of course.

The story was there, all over the newspaper... I read everything I could find about it. There even was a video.

And then I started feeling really sick and upset. A 40 years old woman with three kids had been killed. But what had really happened made me mad. I mean, madder.

You see, on Friday afternoon, two 20 years old kids decided to go and rob the jeweller’s shop on VanderKindere street, one block away from our house. So stupid and sad. Both had jobs. One of them even worked for STIB (the Brussels subway). 20 years old kids. One of them had a toy gun.

The jeweller let them in even though his shop has got a security system. They looked so nice that he thought they were potential buyers.

As soon as they got into the shop, they threatened him  with their toy gun. They asked him for money and started grabbing a few jewels lying around.

What they didn’t know: The jeweller had a real loaded gun (in a drawer) which he managed to grab.

So there you are. One real loaded gun and one toy gun. One of the young men grabs the real gun and drops the fake one. He knocks the jeweller on the head (not too strongly) with the gun and then, both of them run away with a bag filled with jewels and the real gun.

It is 5 p.m. Lots of people in the street. So the kids want to make a fast escape. A car comes by, driven by this poor woman. The guy with the gun knocks at her window which she refuses to open to let them in. So he knocks harder on the car window with the gun. The gun goes off. The poor woman is killed instantly.

So the kids (they still are kids even though one is a murderer and  a thief) run away. They leave the gun and the jewels at the door of the closest building they can get into.  The police arrives and grabs them quite easily as soon as they try to make an exit... The gun was left on the sidewalk, remember.

The reason why this story upset me so much is that it’s really greyish, not at all black and white.

I do not want to protect the kids. They were very intent on robbing a shop.

But the gun which killed the woman was the jeweller’s (who apparently didn’t have a licence). He claimed that he had the gun to defend himself but not to attack people (attack people?).

So who killed the young mother? One of the kids... technically yes, even though he wrote a long letter to his parents (from his cell - published in the newspaper) where he claimed it was an accident, that he never was aware he was holding a loaded gun. He also expressed very deep remorse. Well, he can.

And the jeweller... Well, the good man, pictured with a big bandage around his head and checking his lost but recovered treasure, said on the video that he had been very scared, thinking that  the kid who had grabbed his gun would shoot him. And he kept on saying that yes, of course, it was very sad for this young woman but that he didn’t know her... Does it make a difference? Seems like it did for him. Thank goodness she was not one of his customers.

I was terribly shocked by his reaction. Well, in France, he’d be in jail along with the kids.

I hate firearms. I HATE FIREARMS.

*Good Night, and Good Luck*