American Student Murdered in a Paris Banlieue

Cultural Enrichment News

A reader in France has translated a brief article about an American who was murdered in a culturally enriched suburb of Paris. The translator includes this introduction:

As you know, Aulnay-sous-Bois was the site of heavy rioting in recent years, and is notorious for being close to 100% enricher. I cannot imagine what a young Oregonian was doing there. Unless he had special status, such as being dual-national, this story strikes me as very weird.

Banlieue map

And the translation from Le Parisien:

Seine-Saint-Denis: American student, victim of murder

(Le Parisien, 13 Oct 2009, 7 am)

The young American found dead Friday evening in the departmental park of Sausset in Aulnay-sous-Bois (Seine Saint-Denis) had succumbed to a blow to the head, Le Parisien revealed Tuesday. In addition to the marks of violence on his body, the autopsy showed that the 21-year-old student suffered a severe head injury.

– – – – – – – –

The victim had clearly been dead for several days when his body was discovered in the Aulnay park. Extensive analyses are underway to determine the date of his death. Concerned by the lack of contact, his family reported his disappearance a few days ago. The boy, from Oregon, should have returned to the United States in early October. The investigation has been entrusted to the criminal brigade of Paris.

As an afterthought, our translator notes:

So far, only two comments, not even a ripple. I guess murder really is becoming banalisé here.

For a complete listing of previous enrichment news, see The Cultural Enrichment Archives.

13 thoughts on “American Student Murdered in a Paris Banlieue

  1. What I find it curious when reading these enriching notes is that the equivalent of Hells Angels is missing in Paris (where my brother is living by the way). Or is something there remotedly similar…?

  2. Nobody can guess why he was there, but I’m quite sure you can be murdered just for being American in such areas.

    The general level of hatred in those neighbourhoods is incredible : against the French, against the police, against Jews… never mind the United States.

    Most of those guys have never seen an American in their lives. Many of them watch hate-filled Arab channels on satellite TV, reeking of anti-American, djihadist propaganda. Just imagine how they can feel if they happen to come across a real, lost, lone American, dumb enough to ask for directions in English. That would be tantamount to going there with a big sign saying “Kill me”.

    You have to realise that these guys think nothing of assaulting an armed policeman with their bare hands and feet.

    This summer, in one of those neighbourhoods, a patrolman was checking on some reported trouble, and he asked a 16-year old if he had seen anything. The youngster replied: “Fais pas chier, c’est Ramadan” (“F… off, it’s Ramadan”). (You see, you’re not supposed to disturb them in any way during Ramadan.)

    The policeman grabbed the youngster’s arm. The youngster hit him in the face, then hit him again in an outburst of extreme violence.

    Remember, this was an armed policeman. Of course, the agressor felt emboldened because, as a juvenile, nothing much can happen to him. But still. Other policemen have been beaten to a pulp by three or four unarmed immigrants. And, to the best of my knowledge, the policemen never draw their guns in such cases. They are on enemy territory. Hundreds of similarly aggressive and fearless people can be summoned in a few seconds and surround them.

    I once saw a foreigner in the metro nearly kicked in the head by an Arab because he dared speak English in public. The hoodlum told him : “Here we speak French”. It was ironic because his own French was probably very poor. Fortunately he had been drinking, so he missed his aim.

    And that was in the center of Paris.

    Another possibility for the American student is that he was looking for drugs. The narcotics market is owned by immigrants. Maybe he was naive enough to follow a dealer in this park, who then proceeded to rob and kill him.

  3. Chechar : no, we don’t have anything similar to Denmark’s Hells Angels in France, if only because the police and the courts crush very severely anything that might remotely look like far-right vigilantism.

    There have been some gangs of that type in the past, called “Skins” (for skinheads), more or less related to football hooliganism. As far as I know, they have mostly disappeared.

    The police and judges go ballistic as soon as the far-right tries something, even if it’s entirely peaceful (the Front national is entitled to some more visibility since they have access to the media, up to a point).

    However, you should watch Les Identitaires, a new, tiny movement of young people. They are not violent. They devise clever agit-prop stunts, film them and try to raise a buzz on the Internet.

  4. Too bad. Today I posted something about Jean-François Revel in one of my blogs in Spanish: he talked about how the French commies only tried to destroy their society some decades ago. What would Revel think of today’s Paris…?


    Another article from a different source with outraged comments from French people who used to live in the areas now ravaged by the “enriched”.

    A commenter named baltasar is scolded for saying the problem is harsh penalties and prison for the misbehaving youths.

    I used to make sense of the French story and comments, copying and pasting the text into the google site.

    Paris used to be such a beautiful city 🙁

  6. Four years I ago I was walking around Alnay-sous-Bois and I went to that park. I am blond, could be mistaken for an american and I asked for the way to the metro in English. I know it´s a troubled suburb but it´s not that bad. An african looking man answered me kindly in a mixture of French and English.

    I think that in areas that are dangerous for white people you get warnings before you get attacked. Like people telling you shouldn´t be there or maybe yelling “hey, what are you looking for?”. All of GoV:s readers can happily go to the banlieus for a field trip.

  7. Santiago : you are using a warped type of logic. I hear all the time people downplaying crime issues just because nothing happened to them.

    It should be obvious that as far as crime is concerned, the meaningful reports come from those who did run into problems, not those who were lucky enough not to be mugged.

    Otherwise, it would mean one does not think there is a problem unless, say, 50 % of a given population has been a victim of crime over one year.

    It seems undisputable that the normal and desirable situation is one where there is no crime at all. Barring this, which is difficult to attain (but used to be the case in many places in Europe, a few decades ago), the tolerable situation is one where crime is exceptional.

    So just because you were not mugged or killed when you went to Aulnay-sous-Bois does not mean it’s safe.

    I live in Paris, and I certainly wouldn’t advise “all of GoV:s readers to happily go to the banlieues for a field trip”. As a matter of fact, there are places, times and specific occasions in Paris proper that I would definitely recommend anybody to avoid, especially white tourists.

    For instance, it’s a definite safety risk, by now, to participate in any of the festive events taking place in the streets of Paris : the Fête de la Musique, the Nuit Blanche, the Technoparade, the Gay Pride… All of them are plagued by gangs of young immigrant thugs (usually Blacks) whose only aim is to surround unsuspecting passers-by, overcome them ten to one, kick them to the ground and rob them of their cell phones and iPods.

    And, no, they won’t give you any warning beforehand.

    You should also be aware of the large number of technically mad people who’re at large all over the place. Really dangerous individuals, who should be locked up in a mental institution. They won’t tell you, either, before stabbing you or throwing you under the metro.

  8. He was a young man from a small Oregon town, and he had always wanted to visit Paris. He did not use drugs, he was not looking for trouble. He was exploring the great city of lights so touted by the tourism board.

  9. UPDATE:

    Métro magazine of 16/10 as a few more details about this case:
    It seems that this young man arrived in Paris from the U.S. on September 21st (approximately 2 weeks before his body was found). There is absolutely no trace of him in Paris or the surrounding regions (no ATM transactions, hotel reservations). He seems to have been killed by a blow to the head by a cinder block. The only items found on his body was his passport and plane ticket.

    A “source close to the police” says that the young man was “mentally deficient”. It also says that he comes from a wealthy family.

    The title of the métro story is “The strange murder of an American”. Indeed.

  10. This story has been covered in the news here in Portland, Oregon. The young man was from the town of Silverton; no indication in our local coverage about him being “mentally deficient” or the family being wealthy. Silverton is a small town in the heart of the Willamette Valley; it’s a small farming town. The “wealthy family” claim seems dubious.

    In terms of safety of the Parisian banlieues (suburbs), it is never good to generalize from anecdotes, but my own experience was this: three weeks in Villeneuve la Garenne, one of the suburbs to the north of Paris, on a vacation swap (house exchange) with a French family. We lived in a very nice, new apartment, but close by were plenty of ugly HLM (subsidized housing) apartment blocks. The population there was, I’d guess, 2/3 of black African or Arab background. My daughter and I walked all around and never had any problems. People of all races mixed freely in the public parks.

  11. Kinda funny that when an American gets murdered abroad, it makes news headlines. Tourists get murdered everyday in America, and half the time it won’t even warrant a single line in the newspaper. Violent crime in major US cities is many times higher than any city in Western Europe or Canada, and yet, the citizens don’t seem at all concerned about it. My hometown of 1 million people averages about two murders daily.

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