Tails I win …

… heads you lose.

It’s what my father used to say before tossing a coin and putting my pocket money back in his pocket but funnily enough people are losing their heads all over the place.

Now, before you go jumping to conclusions this is nothing to do with Islam.

Dismiss from your mind anything that the ever cynical Mark Steyn might say such as …

“Nothing to do with Islam” is not yet the leading cause of death in developed nations, but it’s making impressive strides.

Au contraire, it’s the French. Since I’m not particularly concerned with accuracy, this is from Wikipedia …

The period from June 1793 to July 1794 in France is known as the Reign of Terror or simply “the Terror”. The upheaval following the overthrow of the monarchy, invasion by foreign monarchist powers and the revolt in the Vendée combined to throw the nation into chaos and the government into paranoia. Most of the democratic reforms of the revolution were suspended and the Revolutionary Tribunal sentenced thousands to the guillotine. The first political prisoner to be executed was Collenot d’Angremont of the National Guard, followed soon after by the King’s trusted collaborator in his ill-fated attempt to moderate the Revolution, Arnaud de Laporte, both in 1792. Former King Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette were executed in 1793. Maximilien Robespierre became one of the most powerful men in the government, and the figure most associated with the Terror. Nobility and commoners, intellectuals, politicians and prostitutes, all were liable to be executed on little or no grounds; suspicion of “crimes against liberty” was enough to earn one an appointment with “Madame Guillotine” or “The National Razor”. Estimates of the death toll range between 16,000 and 40,000.

Some remarkable facts about the Guillotine can be found <HERE>.

  • The guillotine metal blade weighs about 88.2 lbs
  • The height of guillotine posts average about 14 feet
  • The falling blade has a rate of speed of about 21 feet/second
  • Just the actual beheading takes 2/100 of a second

Remarkable achievement, right up there with the croissant and n-rays.

The last execution by guillotine took place in Marseilles, France, when the murderer Hamida Djandoubi was beheaded on September 10, 1977.

Nonsense you say, those figures are in imperial units, clearly libellous, and look the epicentre of beheadings isn’t in France.

No but, a quick look at the list of former French colonies, and once again since I’m not particularly concerned with accuracy, my source is Wikipedia …

  • Morocco (1912–1956)
  • Algeria (1830–1962)
  • Egypt (ownership (1798–1801))
  • Tunisia (1881–1956)
  • Libya (1943–1951)
  • Sudan (1883–1960)
  • Syria (1920–1946)
  • Yemen (1868–1869)

Clearly, the French have much to answer for but at least they were efficient. As opposed to 0.02 seconds the modern technique with a knife, as practised in the Islamic State, and by Islamic State supporters elsewhere, not necessarily as part of their religion, mark you, is said to take a couple of minutes.

Poor old France …

Whenever you’re unsure about what course to take in life, ask yourself, “What would France do?”
You see, France is a treasure to mankind. French ideas, French beliefs, and French actions form a sort of loadstone for humanity. Because a moral compass needle needs a butt end. Whatever direction France is pointing in—toward Nazi collaboration, Communism, existentialism, Jerry Lewis movies, or President Sarkozy’s personal life—you can go the other way with a clear conscience.

P. J. O’Rourke 2008

And the rest of the article is also a good read.