On March 1st, in Athens, three heavily armed casual armed robbers opened fire on a Greek Police motorcycle patrol team killing two young officers and wounding two others.
The perpetrators -- who are still at large as of this writing -- literally ambushed the pursuing police with a Kalashnikov assault rifle and a pistol, tools of the trade that are now found almost routinely in the possession of dregs of society who stop at a kiosk to rob the owner of $1,400.
The killings have shocked an already demoralized police force, whose members have been subjected to crippling salary and overtime cuts by the Papandreou regime, obedient executor of IMF/EU/ECB demands aimed to protect Greece’s lenders but not its unfortunate natives.
In the wake of this unprecedented incident, police labor organizers and other patrol officers are voicing desperate calls against the government’s denuding of the police budget without the slightest regard for operational readiness and the day-to-day battling of burgeoning, and largely imported, violent crime.
After the lethal ambush, Papandreou’s government spokesman repeated the oft-quoted and deeply fatigued claim that Greece is among the “safest” countries of the EU; the spokesman conveniently forgot stark police statistics that demonstrate how “the cradle of democracy” is being hammered by every kind of violent crime that has driven Greeks behind armored house doors, steel-barred windows, and round-the-clock surveillance systems virtually non-existent in this country only two short decades ago.
Home defense, an unknown concept in Greece until recently, is slowly gaining currency, with private security firms mushrooming across a domestic landscape increasingly dominated by fear of violence and nagging concern about the safety and security of one’s person and family, not to mention the inviolability of one’s home.
“Experts” are just beginning to argue the reasons behind this virtual explosion of lawlessness and violent crime, with illegal immigration and foreign organized killers coming to stay occupying the top of the list. Local criminals adopting the violent methods of their foreign brethren follow as a close third.
Rampant arms smuggling forms the perfect buttress for criminals seeking to outgun police; in recent years, Greece has been flooded with every type of armament, from automatic military weapons to hand grenades to pistols to a sea of ammunition. A good quality, second hand AK-47 can be had in Athens for under €2,000 (extra magazine included). A pistol with an initial supply of cartridges is a bargain at €500-600. One hand grenade can be had for €100.
While criminals remain well supplied and provisioned with access to the type firepower that can put the fear of God into even veteran law enforcement, police officers have to scrounge and eke: with the Papandreou regime cutting millions off the police budget (but continuing to finance obscure, and frequently inherently anti-Greek, ‘non-government organizations’) individual officers pay out of pocket to buy training ammo; to obtain modern body armor; to buy gas for their patrol cars; and see that basic maintenance of their vehicles is done. But such matchsticks-and-glue tactics cannot keep a “modern” police force running. Already, the majority of Greek Police patrol vehicles are idle because of lack of spares and maintenance and training has been relegated to the heap of the unwanted.
Recent governments, the incumbent included, have continued to operate as if this enormous challenge to our human security does not largely exist.
There is much huffing and puffing by local politicians about the imminent “crushing” of the criminals but the situation “on the ground” hardly changes.
In recent years, for example, Greece has been the scene of repeated high-profile kidnappings of prominent businessmen, the latest such escapade netting the kidnappers a reported €30 million in tightly packaged cash that has not been recovered despite the arrests of the protagonists. Such brazen snatching of people hasn’t been seen since the times of mountain brigands, who were finally removed in the mid-1930s.
Armed bank robbery is now a routine infraction barely reported in the small print section of the press. Daylight attacks with the use of firearms abound. Using powerful bombs “to settle accounts” in the middle of densely populated areas is turning into another routine. Extended drug and human trafficking rings are dime a dozen. Connections of violent political anarchists and neo-terrorists with “mainstream” criminals appear to flourish. Scores of firebombing private cars are reported annually; no perpetrators are ever arrested.
Not-so-petty opportunistic crime, almost exclusively the domain of illegal immigrants, is ballooning: purse snatching, beating elderly people in the middle of the street and in broad daylight to rob them of a few euros, and crushing into the homes of weak and unprotected people living alone are assuming the proportions of an epidemic. Prowling gangs of usually imported home invaders hit even well-protected homes while the inhabitants are inside to rob and steal and terrorize -- and get away by usually “confiscating” the family car.
Government action to counter this bewildering, catastrophic situation is practically non-existent. Isolated gestures to win a few PR points continue to form the core “policy choices” in this puppeteer’s response to the methodical destruction of human security in Greece.
And this brings us to the fatal void that exists in the “total” approach to this country’s increasingly insurmountable problems: we have a truckload of “experts” on “growth,” “European integration,” and the promotion of “economic liberalization” via “opening the closed professions” but none on the essential life-and-death question of fostering, developing, and defending a domestic environment that assures the individual of fundamental protections of life, home and family security, and the right to circulate every routine day unmolested.
Greece, in other words, is in dire need of a “Freedom from Fear” agenda that must urgently be placed at the very top of any attempt to bring this country back from the depths of despair and brutal loss that are the direct derivatives of the IMF/EU/ECB occupation by memorandum.
It is indeed a surreal, not to mention harrowing, spectacle to watch the bevies of “advisers,” and the battalions of foreign “financial technocrats,” busying themselves with ever more imaginative ways of devaluing everything that we own “for our own good” and in support of “competitiveness” that promises to impoverish and scuttle the majority of the population, while the country is overrun by gun-totting gangsters, cold-blooded cop killers, and huge swarms of “unfortunates,” who have no right in freezing hell to cross our borders under any circumstances and seek to impose their non-existent “rights” upon those who have existed here for a few centuries already.
The Greek political class, and the sub-cultures of professional “entourage” bottom feeders it has spawned, has never gained a grasp of the essential questions behind this country’s demand for relatively safe and stable longevity.
The current economic catastrophe only helps to accentuate this critical gap in our indigenous “political thinking” and the fatal misalignment of its priorities. But the groupuscule of “expert commentators,” who have become the fraying pathetic fixture in the media and the “think tank” scene, continues to regurgitate the same old poppycock as if Greece is the most carefree of nations.
Without human security no “growth” can exist, no foreign “direct investment” can take firm hold, and no “economic reconstruction” can be affected.
Simple truths are the hardest, indeed, to grasp, especially by proven champions of corruption, and professional practitioners of felonious self-aggrandizement and “personal wealth accumulation,” who all pose as “leaders.”