First of all, people who show up at a protest carrying guns aren’t there to be peaceful. They’re there to be a lynch mob (or reverse lynch mob in this case), and I have no sympathy for them if the soldiers they’re trying to lynch don’t sit still for it. There is ample footage of “unarmed demonstrators” shooting at soldiers here, so… (shrug).
Secondly, I don’t buy the “we were carrying guns because we were afraid the soldiers would shoot at us.” Maybe the Egyptian soldiers did open fire first, like the National Guard at Kent State. Imagine what Kent State would have been like if the students really *had* been armed. Rather than 4 dead in Ohio, it would have been 40 dead in Ohio, minimum. If soldiers on this kind of duty see unarmed protesters falling and nobody shooting at them, they stop shooting. If they see returning fire, they keep shooting. And don’t give me that “but they’re not like us” bullshit, because Egypt’s army is made of citizen soldiers, not foreign mercenaries. They are Egyptians and they did not join the military to kill their own people. But if people are shooting at them, they’ll continue shooting back.
Thirdly, I don’t buy the notion that these were “outside agitators”. The Muslim Brotherhood is well known for going places while carrying. They’re the redneck NRA of the Middle East. Put armed Muslim Brotherhood brethren into a situation where soldiers shoot their direction, and figure their natural instinct is going to be the same as your average redneck NRA member — i.e., pull out the gat and start returning fire — and you get the clusterfuck that is this situation.
The reality is that the Egyptian military did not respond well to the protest. Riot police with riot shields, pepper spray, and tear gas should have been on hand to deal with the situation, rather than soldiers armed with live weapons. Soldiers are trained to shoot weapons, not to deal with protests. But if you are intent upon demonstrating to the world that armed soldiers opened fire on peaceful protesters, having your protesters shooting back at the soldiers with their *own* guns is… what’s the word? Oxymoronic?
– Badtux the “Ain’t no guns at a peaceful protest” Penguin