France is reaping what it has sown with rioting kids
In response to the unrest involving kids averaging 17 years of age, sparked by the shooting death of a teen of the same age who refused to obey orders at a traffic stop, French President Emmanuel Macron has been looking for ways to restore order.
He suggested that the young rioters’ parents start paying the price. “With the first crime, we need to find a way of sanctioning the families financially and easily,” he said, calling it “a sort of minimum price for the first screw up.”
Does anyone else know of another country – other than the “land of the child-king”, as my French-Canadian friends call France – where kids are so badly behaved that the president has to threaten parents with penalties for neglecting their basic parental responsibilities to the point that private infrastructure gets trashed on a nightly basis?
Welcome to France, where anything goes and anyone attempting to impose a minimum of basic restraint or discipline is always the problem – whether it’s patrons of the local pool annoyed with kids jumping on them, or someone riding public transit suffering from kids acting out in public like they’re at home in their own living room. Adults speaking up are typically told by the parents that kids have every right to express themselves.
So now it’s the nanny-state that has stepped in and taken on the role of the parent – to the parents themselves – and has even imposed nightly curfews to force parents to keep their unaccompanied kids at home after 9 or 10pm. Excuse me, but what on earth is any minor doing out without a parent after that hour anyway? The fact that the phenomenon is so rampant that it requires heavy-handed state action speaks volumes.
Macron himself, in typical French parenting style, initially issued a blank check for kids to act up when he condemned the cop who allegedly shot the kid, trampling the officer's basic presumption of innocence. This was even before the French justice system had a chance to get out of the starting blocks in examining all the evidence, which presumably would include the fact that the teen, Nahel, was already well-known to police for 15 prior offenses, and five prior failures to stop for the authorities.
Kids in France behave with total impunity. They know that they risk little to nothing by committing crimes, whether it’s smashing up infrastructure or shooting at police. Even the prison sentences issued so far to some of the rioters already processed through the system mostly amount to fully or partially suspended sentences, served at home with an ankle bracelet. Those who have been sentenced to time in an actual prison typically have already racked up prior convictions for similar crimes.
In a country where young hoodlums know that the police have no power to do anything beyond constantly pushing a kid through the revolving door of lax French “justice”, it’s no wonder why there’s no respect for the law enforcers or their function. And a lack of respect for their authority has sometimes led to them going overboard in their attempt to impose it.
The areas lit up by these riots were all too predictable. They correlate with ghettoes, many of which are littered with low-rent, subsidized housing into which immigrant populations have been marshaled since at least the 1960s. Initially, the idea was to import working class migrants from poorer European countries in order to provide cheap labor for the growing French industrial machine. Strategically located within a stone’s throw from French factories, they encouraged non-integration by definition. After all, why bother venturing outside of your enclave when you’re shepherded into it by the state, alongside people just like you, who speak the same language, share the same culture and socioeconomic status, and all find yourselves dealing with the same integration challenges when you venture outside of it and into French society?
Over time, as European countries’ own wealth increased, France pivoted to Africa for cheap labor. Africans moved into these immigrant worker enclaves, and the earlier Europeans were displaced. For purely economic reasons, France nurtured these ghettos, and now the country is reaping the consequences of its vision. It’s no wonder many migrants don’t see themselves as French first and foremost, or respect the state, when the state facilitated their segregation. About the only way in which they are entirely integrated with other French people is in their total lack of restraint or self-discipline and a disdain for anyone attempting to impose any respect, rigor, or expectations. In that sense, at least, they have perfectly adapted to French culture.
The largest employer federation in France currently estimates the cost of damages to private businesses to exceed one billion euros. That doesn’t even include the destruction of public infrastructure, including transport, schools and city halls. So much for migration being a wonderful opportunity for France. It looks like the bill is finally coming due on decades of failed diversity policies.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.