The police said the number of cars set ablaze Saturday night fell to 374, from 502 a night earlier. On Sunday night, youths destroyed 284 vehicles, police reported.
One can postulate a number of possible reasons for the downward trend in this "metric," but that the French may be running out of cars is probably not among them. In an article by AP writer Angela Doland, we learn that on any "average" Saturday night, the vehicular arson that French "youths" so revel in occurs at a much more modest level:
Perhaps we do not yet understand the reasons for the recent apparent downturn in arson and violence. But Craig S. Smith, it would appear, has determined what really brought it on, and this analysis would, one would think, imply a possible solution, though that is not yet supplied:
If the downward trend continues, "things could return to normal very quickly," National Police Chief Michel Gaudin said, noting that French youths burn about 100 cars on an average Saturday night.
Many people feel that the nationwide unrest has marked a turning point in the country's evolution from its old-world identity to a more multicultural society. They see a shift from the deference practiced by former colonial subjects and their children to a new generation that is made up of French citizens and demand equal treatment as such.
Mr. Smith's analysis, with its rock-solid foundation of what "many people feel," to me suggests that the French are facing a situation that has much in common with our own (as yet not entirely successful) civil rights movement. "Many [French] people," then, should be out in the streets soon, not torching cars and throwing steel bocce balls at the police, but demanding that the immigrant population be permitted to assume the full rights and responsibilities of French citizenship.