The news that Kim Kardashian was robbed at gunpoint in her hotel room in Paris early Monday morning was shocking (and honestly pretty terrifying), but for some, the story gave them a reason to bash Kardashian and her famous family, to poke fun at celebrity culture in general, or to use the incident to make a point about gun safety legislation. Compared to the United States, France has very strict gun safety laws, and many Twitter users have since tried to argue that the fact that the robbers had guns was a sign that gun legislation doesn't work. Others have argued that if Kardashian herself had been armed, she would have been safer. Does Kim Kardashian own a gun? If she does, she hasn't spoken about it, and either way it obviously wouldn't have helped given that her hands and feet were bound, according to The Telegraph. But more than anything else, trying to suggest that Kardashian should have had a gun for protection is just another example of victim blaming.
Regardless of what anyone thinks about gun laws, or even celebrity culture (or Kim Kardashian in particular), no one in Kardashian's situation should be expected to be armed or to fight back, especially when multiple armed intruders are pointing their weapons and making her fear for her life.
Despite the huge lack of compassion over the fact that a human being who thought she was safe just had strangers break into her hotel room, point a gun at her head, and take her things, it's also not entirely surprising that news of the Kardashian robbery has evoked this kind of response. Gun legislation is, after all, a hugely-polarizing issue in the United States, and many Americans feel that restrictions on guns are unnecessary and violate their constitutional rights. In fact, the rhetoric around France's gun control on Twitter today isn't all that dissimilar from comments that were made after the Charlie Hebdo shooting in Paris in 2015, when many Americans argued that France's strict gun laws pretty much left them vulnerable against the extremely restricted, high-powered Kalashnikov rifles used by the attackers, according to The Washington Post.
In France, gun ownership requires licenses, stringent background checks, and psychological evaluations, and owning a gun illegally could land you in prison for up to seven years. In the case of the Charlie Hebdo attack (and, quite possibly, in the Kardashian incident as well), the guns were almost certainly illegal, and could have been purchased on France's black market. But assuming that the fact that illegal gun ownership exists means that gun laws don't work is misguided. And assuming that, somehow, France's legislation against guns has anything to do with the fact that Kardashian was robbed in her hotel room is even more so.
According to Mother Jones, National Rifle Association Executive Vice President president Wayne LaPierre has said that, "The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun." In other words, less restriction on gun ownership would theoretically allow people to protect themselves and others — but is that true? According to New Scientist, a 2009 University of Pennsylvania found that "people who carried guns were 4.5 times as likely to be shot and 4.2 times as likely to get killed compared with unarmed citizens." And according to the University of Sydney's Gun Policy project, the rate of gun homicides in France in 2013 was about 0.22 per 100,000 people, compared to 3.54 per 100,000 in the United States in the same year. What's more is that, according to The Washington Post, in other countries with strict gun safety laws, like the U.K., guns have actually become very rare and difficult to access.
In the case of Kardashian, the fact that she has previously spoken out in favor of stricter gun legislation is certainly only further fueling those who want to use the robbery as a point about gun laws. According to The Daily Mail, Kardashian tweeted about gun safety following the mass shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, calling for politicians to make it illegal for those on terrorist watch lists to buy guns:
But the fact remains that, whether she had an opinion about gun legislation — or, whether she happened to be in a country with strict gun laws, or whether she happened to be armed, or whether she had any kind of connection in any kind of way to a conversation about gun laws — the fact is that she is a victim of violence. No matter what the situation, she has no responsibility to feel anything other than scared and violated, and arguing otherwise is shaming her for going through what must have been the scariest experience of her life.
By the same token, Kardashian also doesn't deserve the comments about how she supposedly deserved it for being rich and famous (?), or how it doesn't matter because it was just jewelry. As many users have already pointed out on Twitter, the fact that she is rich isn't ever an invitation to be robbed at gun point, and honestly? I feel pretty confident that Kardashian cares much less about her stolen jewelry than she does about the fact that she could have died because a bunch of criminals decided to break into her hotel room.
Honestly, I get it: Kim Kardashian is the kind of celebrity a lot of people love to hate. And if you want to hate on her for what she wears or what she does on TV, or for, well, whatever she does as a public figure, then that's your own prerogative. But shaming her for having armed robbers storm into her hotel room in the middle of the night? No one should ever be blamed for that.