advice, coronavirus, German culture, Germany, laws, news

Word of advice… don’t call a German cop a “fascist”…

It’s another cold, grey, drizzly weekend in Germany. Christmas will arrive next weekend. I suppose I should be more into the spirit of celebrating the season, but I just can’t seem to find my mojo. I don’t really like going out in yucky weather even when there isn’t a pandemic. The spiking COVID numbers aren’t inspiring me to get out there and mingle with the masses.

But not everyone feels the way I do. My German friend, Susanne, shared with me some news out of Reutlingen. It seems there was a riot/protest there last night, consisting of Nazi sympathizers and COVID deniers, most of whom weren’t masked and ignored the rules against congregating. Things got pretty out of hand in some places, so the Stuttgart police showed up to maintain order.

Germans are usually pretty tolerant of peaceful protests and strikes. They’re usually scheduled ahead of time and announced, so people can choose not to be involved… or, if they’re into it, they can participate or observe. I believe one has to get a permit to protest legally. I have no idea if this group followed the rules. The protests I’ve seen are usually pretty chill… afterwards, everybody breaks up and has a beer or something. But every once in awhile, people do get their hackles up. Such was the case last night.

This video was shared on Facebook by Matthias Kipfer in the public group, 99,99 % (Filder) vs. R.E.S.T.. I’m not sure where this particular incident involving the man screaming about fascists took place. It might not have happened in Reutlingen, although I can see by the photos and videos in the group, there was plenty of action there last night. I see the guy screaming about fascists was originally posted on Twitter by Stadtrand Aktion. As you can see, the cops weren’t amused. This guy was promptly arrested. I suspect he will get a nice big fine, as outlined in the trusty 2022 Bussgeldkatalog. Edited to add: Susanne thinks the fascist cop incident might have happened in Berlin, since the cop has a B on his uniform.

More than once, I have written about how insulting people is illegal in Germany. It’s especially true that insulting the cops is a big no no. All I can think is that this guy took complete leave of his senses, forgot to whom he was speaking, and lost total control of himself. I know how that feels. It happened to me a time or two when I was a teenager. This fellow looks to be well beyond the teen years.

I think it’s funny that there’s a catalog of fines people can consult to find out about laws and fines. I especially get a kick out of the section on the fines for insulting people in traffic. When they are translated into English, they are both hilarious and nonsensical. Below is the list of fines as of 2022.

Some of these insults seem to have lost a little in their translations.

In all seriousness, these protests were pretty bad. Apparently, some people were using children as human shields against the water cannons cops tried to use to disperse the agitated crowds. I was impressed by how the cops managed to keep their cool. German police officers don’t seem to be as violent as American police officers often are. But then, they probably pay better and offer more training.

My German still sucks, but I do find myself picking up words and understanding more, especially when my friend shares interesting German articles with me that include juicy tidbits about current events. If I have gained anything from the past seven years, besides a massive beer gut, it’s a rudimentary understanding of basic German. My Armenian is still better, though. That isn’t saying much.

The above photo basically translates to “People who think vaccinations change their DNA should consider it an opportunity.” Who says Germans aren’t sharp witted? Not I!

In other news… I hope the new blog design is welcomed by the few regular readers who have been keeping up with me during these COVID times. I decided to play around with it a few days ago, and when I went to change it back to the theme I was using, I discovered that the “wandering” theme was retired. So now I have a new but similar theme, and a new color scheme. I think it’s easier to read.

anecdotes, news

A Germanwings aircraft crashes into the French Alps…

I debated where I should put this blog post.  My main blog gets a lot more traffic than my travel blog does, but I think the subject is a better fit for my travel blog.  After all, here in Germany, Germanwings is a well-known airline.  Bill and I have used it three times– twice out of Stuttgart and once out of Cologne.  All three of our flights on Germanwings were blind bookings.  One flight was from Stuttgart to Barcelona.

Since about noon local time, I have been listening to news about the doomed Germanwings flight from Barcelona to Dusseldorf.  Having been on Germanwings flights myself, I can only imagine that the people who boarded what was probably a fairly short flight were looking forward to uneventful travel to Germany.  Air travel, by and large, is very safe.  In fact, one lady in a Facebook group I’m in posted this today…

The chances of dying in a plane crash are slim…

And yet, the people who boarded that flight had a 100% chance of crashing today.  It just goes to show that you never know when something like this will happen.  You never know when you’ll be in a situation that puts you at a bad place that results in your death or injury.  I can’t even imagine how the people who were on the flight from Dusseldorf to Barcelona early this morning are feeling.  Talk about the potential for survivor’s guilt!

I found out about this crash right after it happened.  I see now CNN is giving it full coverage, but I initially found out about it on Yahoo! of all places.  At first, there was very little information.  All day, the story has evolved.  Now they are saying that there were two babies on the flight as well as a class of German high school students and a couple of teachers.  I can’t even fathom how devastated their family and friends are right now.  150 people presumably lost their lives today on what should have been a perfectly routine flight.

I have read that the area where this flight is believed to have crashed is stunningly beautiful, though very remote and hard to reach.  I’m sure the beauty of the crash site is of no comfort to anyone, least of all the people who are now tasked with looking for bodies.

I don’t think knowing what caused the crash will comfort the people left behind after this terrible tragedy.  And I realize that despite the big news about plane crashes, the fact that they are rare is precisely why they are big news when they happen.  It just doesn’t make me feel so good about flying.  You never know when you’re going to be unlucky.

Thoughts and prayers to the families and friends of the people on that flight today…