I visited Christiania on August 28 with a few of my friends. (For those of you who do not, Christiania is a self-proclaimed autonomous neighborhood in the borough of Christianshavn within Copenhagen. Since its opening, it has been famous for its open cannabis trade, taking place on what is known as Pusher Street.) Since my visit there, a shooting has taken place.
“On 31 August 2016, a person believed to be carrying the days earnings from cannabis sales suddenly pulled a gun during a routine arrest and shot two police officers and a civilian. The injuries of one of the officers who was shot in the head were life-threatening, while the injuries of the other victims were less serious. Police sealed off the entire neighborhood and located the perpetrator in Kastrup a few hours later. During a brief shootout with Politiets Aktionsstyrke (a special intervention police unit) he was seriously wounded and later died from his injuries in the hospital.The perpetrator, a 25-year-old Danish citizen, was well-known to the police for violence and involvement in cannabis sale. Police officers very rarely receive life-threatening injuries during encounters with criminals (the last police officer to be killed by a criminal in Denmark was in 1995) and the incident was widely condemned. In a communal meeting consisting of Christiania residents it was decided that the stalls in Pusher Street (by far the site of the largest cannabis sale in Denmark) should be removed, which happened the following day, September 2. Local residents also urged people who were friends of the neighborhood to help by not buying cannabis in Christiania.”
Though this is unfortunately a common instance in America, the same cannot be said in Denmark. Because of this I wanted to explicitly state that I am okay and safe. I also don’t want this post to be a message to anyone thinking about visiting or studying abroad here that I think you should avoid Christiania… and maybe I should say this, and maybe that is what Whitman would say to do, but I won’t be doing that. Regardless of what has happened, I feel safe here in Denmark. I feel more safe here than I have ever felt at home. Hell, just the other day I was mentioning to my housemates that I may just live in the library when I return because I hate that the walk back to our house doesn’t have street lights, and I panic every time I try coming home. I have never felt that here. And though Pusher Street has been dismantled and I am unsure of its reappearance, I will gladly return. I don’t want you to give up on visiting because of this incident. I mean, come on folks, we are all somehow still managing in America and that is approximately 8554875156876513576871768737367676165787652158778554.2% more dangerous than Christiania as a whole. The rest of this post will be photos of how beautiful my friends and I found our visit to be.