Tuesday, January 29, 2008

French Robbery Victim: "I Don't Work In A Blockhouse..."

One robbery too many for a French shop owner interviewed in France's La Depeche newspaper yesterday. Translated by myself, hopefully keeping the sense of despair and disillusionment in the original:
"I don't blame anybody, I'm just fed up":
...Saturday night, two individuals came in to the shop, armed and hidden behind hoods. They rifled the cash register, [stole] lottery cards and telephone cards... An armed robbery that left the owner terrified, tired and furious with the general inertia.

[Reporter:]"What happened Saturday?"

[Owner:] "A few customers were still shopping in the store. It must have 7:50 pm. Two guys came in. They menaced me with a switchblade and they helped themselves. They ripped off the cash register and took many items. They were very nervous, impossible to reason with.

"Your store remains open..."

Since Sunday. If I stop, I will no longer have anything. I set up here two years ago. I just lived through my second robbery. The first cost me a divorce; my wife got so scared, she never got over it. I no longer count the thefts, here or at home. I don't work in a blockhouse. Earlier [the previous owner] was obliged to sell out after so many thefts. It becomes impossible.

Did the thieves get away?

The first police patrol took 40 minutes to arrive! I couldn't even get an answer from 17 [France's version of our emergency telephone number 911, but specifically for police emergencies], I had to go through the fire department. But, it's not because there was no prior warning.

A little grocery, the Proxi, was attacked Tuesday January 15. I myself went to the central police station last week to alert them, saying that I would be next... They promised me patrols. I don't doubt that now I'll start seeing police from now on... If it had been earlier, it would have been more useful.

Do you blame the police?

They say they don't have enough manpower. I work in a neighborhood, a genuine one, a village, with decent residents who deserve to be as well protected as they would be downtown.

Have you contacted city authorities?

I've written everywhere, even to the minister of the Interior now President... Have to get things moving. I'm demanding video cameras. The security of the neighborhood can start there. I don't blame anyone, I'm just fed up. At this rate, I'll soon have to close my doors. If I close, it's welfare. I'm not even eligible for unemployment insurance. I don't fancy arming myself with a shotgun in order to stay in business...
[The photo heading this post is of a British blockhouse along the Quebec-New York border.]

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