“Global security” and culture law: weapons in the cloakroom

This post comes from the daily newsletter of the Culture department of Release, sent free of charge every evening.

The attacks of November 13 were staggering; we know it to have been dumbfounded, for a long time, by stories, images and noises, such as these explosions of automatic weapons which interrupted a rock concert, that of the Eagles of Death Metal at the Bataclan. Stunned, for a long time, we felt the country slip, little by little, according to the debates, security measures more and more liberticide, the crystallization of resentment, exclusion, racism; and under the shock of bewilderment, many of us have become accustomed to the worst from political decision-makers, who have not refrained from using our neurotic apathy to offer us the most repressive ideas from their box authoritative tool.

However, if we had been told, the day after that night of horror, that one day would be voted, as an indirect consequence, of the measures which would allow the police officers on duty to come to the show equipped with their service weapon, we would not know. would not have believed. Not believed because the auditorium is a haven, a meeting place where everything must be able to take place between the artists and the public – we can not help but think of all those concerts where part of the public ended up in front of our naked eyes, after indulging in furious pogos. Also because recent history is overflowing with traumatic events that occurred after individuals entered with firearms and deadly resolutions into artistic, religious or educational places, and which could not be taken seriously otherwise as ideological delusions, political speeches advocating the carrying of weapons in “pragmatic” response to the threat of shootings.

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The measure was, however, voted by the National Assembly on the night of Friday to Saturday, as part of the bill on “global security” and carried by Jean-Michel Fauvergue, LREM deputy and former police officer of elite that we knew already decided to resume with article 24 of the law “The power over the war of images”. Patron of the Raid in November 2015, Fauvergue has repeatedly expressed his own trauma upon discovering the “Mass grave” inside the Bataclan. At the Assembly, he argued that the three police officers present in the room that evening “Could not intervene” due to the ban on bringing a weapon into the enclosure. The new law aims to allow police officers to derogate from the common rule by keeping their weapon when they enter establishments open to the public, even those which prohibit it through gantries. Forgetting a thousand essential complexities, the possibility of blunder and slippage, the particular context of the auditorium (where we drink, where we distract ourselves, where we must be able to legitimately indulge in excess) , the panic effects that the unveiling of a firearm in a confined public place inevitably provokes, or the disturbance of status and responsibility that occurs when a police officer is on rest, in civilian clothes, a member of the public and possibly under the influence of alcohol or substances or bullshit, like everyone else.

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But since the escalation of violence seems unstoppable, the criticisms have become inaudible; so if the health situation allows it one day, we will return to the concert or the theater knowing that we are now working with art-loving police officers ready to intervene in the context of “The absolute necessity”, with all the ambiguity that the expression assumes, even though they did not come for that, nor necessarily in a physical or mental state to play the role of a “Additional guarantee”. Not to mention the risk that they confuse a shot, a drum roll or detonation recordings broadcast from the back of the room in a play, as we have heard in It will be fine (1) End of Louis by Joël Pommerat, created in 2015: will it then become more complicated for artists, possibly fans of explosive fireworks, to continue to create in all serenity? In the aftermath of the attacks, we noticed an impressive upsurge in enlistment in the army; the consequence of an apocalyptic event, according to the psychoanalyst Jacques André who spoke in 2016 in the columns of Libé, who saw in it the will not to defend freedom, but to “Destroy destruction”. Here we are, five years later: performing arts in France have become even less innocent.


Olivier Lamm

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