Ed Driscoll

ANYONE...ANYWHERE: Mark Steyn has some

ANYONE…ANYWHERE: Mark Steyn has some thoughts on the death of Swedish Foreign Minister Anna Lindh:

“It’s terrible wherever it happens,” said Fredrik Sanabria. “But you think you would be safe from this kind of violence in a country like Sweden.”

Really? Why would you think that? Sweden’s violent crime and murder rates have been going up, up, up over the last quarter-century. But just about every Swede quoted in every news story seems mired in what National Review’s Dave Kopel described, after September 11, 2001, as “the culture of passivity.” The lone exception was Lanja Rashid, a Kurdish immigrant. “If I had been there at the stabbing, I would have ripped his face off,” she said. “We Swedes have to think again. How could he have got away? How could people just stand back and watch?”

You can blame it on a lack of police, as everyone’s doing. But Mrs. Lindh’s killer didn’t get away with it because of the people who weren’t there but because of the people who were: The bystanders. When I bought my home in New Hampshire, I heard a strange rustling one night and, being new to rural life, asked my police chief the following morning whether, if it had turned out to be an intruder, I should have called him at home. “Well, you could,” said Al. “But it would be better if you dealt with him. You’re there and I’m not.” That’s the best advice I’ve ever been given.

This isn’t an argument for guns, though inevitably Sweden has gun control, knife control and everything else. It’s more basic than that: It’s about the will to be a citizen, not just a suckling of the nanny-state narcotic.

All of which helps to explain why Sweden’s economy and crime rate is worse than those progressive utopians in…Mississippi.