Why are the brits so fascinated with our gun and political culture?
Found these news articles where they go to great pains to delve into internal matters. By the way you'll love some of the facts in the first one.
We don't get this excited about their shootings or politics.
Why do they?
Florida 'shoot first' law helps gangsters
By Toby Harnden in Merritt Island, Florida
Last Updated: 12:01am GMT 20/11/2007
A ground-breaking law designed to allow the victims of crime to open fire without first trying to get away is allowing gangsters to get away with murder, according to law enforcement officials.
Two years ago, Florida became the first state to pass the "Stand Your Ground" or “Shoot First” law that gave people the right to open fire if they felt threatened on the street or in their car. The legislation was championed by the powerful National Rifle Association.
Craig Carson says pro-gun judges often pass lenient sentences for gun crimes
The new law extended the so-called “castle doctrine”, which allowed residents to shoot would-be burglars, to outside the home with the intention of giving legal protection to victims who opened fire during hold-ups or car jackings.
At least 15 more states have passed similar laws while others are considering doing so. But an unintended consequence of the law has been that those arrested after gangland shoot-outs have a ready-made defence and prosecutors are often reluctant to recommend charges.
Gun control advocates hope that the new law will become an election issue in 2008. But Democrats are wary of aggravating the gun lobby and Republican candidates all support the Second Amendment, which gives citizens gun rights.
Last month, Martorell Williams, 16, was shot dead by a 19-year-old youth from a rival gang when both opened fire simultaneously in a Waffle House car park in West Cocoa on Florida’s space coast, home of Cape Canaveral.
The 19-year-old, a convicted criminal who was therefore not allowed to possess a weapon, survived his wounds but walked free.
“Under the previous law, he would have been charged,” said Gary Harrell, a homicide deputy sheriff who investigated the case. “It’s a travesty. The kid’s killer was a convicted felon and should not have had a firearm. Now he’s free to kill somebody else – or be killed.”
Last year, in another Florida case, Kenneth Allen shot his neighbour Jason Rosenbloom, who was unarmed, twice in the stomach and chest after an argument over rubbish bags left on the pavement. He was not charged.
Crossing America: Toby Harnden's voyage across the states
Follow Toby Harnden as he travels from coast to coast to weigh up the mood of US voters
Lawyers representing two gang members who opened fire and killed a girl of nine in 2006 announced that they intended to cite the “Stand Your Ground” legislation as justification for shooting.
Agent Harrell said the new law was only one factor exacerbating gun violence.
Other major reasons were the ready availability of illegal guns and the reluctance of prosecutors to enforce existing laws
Agent Craig Carson, who works with the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms task force in Florida’s Brevard County, said judges with a strong pro-gun stance often pass lenient sentences for gun crimes.
“They just don’t believe in gun control and don’t enforce the gun laws. If somebody’s looking at a long time in prison for using a gun they have illegally, then they’re going to stop doing it.
“But it’s become a never-ending cycle. The criminals have no regard for the law any more and they’re starting to shoot at the cops now. Everyone has a gun here and they’re every easy to come by.”
He estimated that there were about 250,000 guns in Brevard County, which has a population of 650,000.
Florida’s lax gun laws mean that criminals from states like New York and New Jersey travel down to buy them and drive them back up the I-95 freeway, nicknamed the “iron pipeline” because of its popularity as an arms route.
But additional gun controls or repealing the “Stand Your Ground” law is unlikely to become a big election issue.
“The NRA is so powerful here with our government that it’s very hard to change the gun laws,” said Agent Carson.
He said that even Hillary Clinton was unlikely to challenge Republicans over guns.
“Hillary supports the anti-gun agenda but she may be told to shut up because it will cost her votes.”
Voters across the US will elect their 44th president in a year's time. The Daily Telegraph’s US editor Toby Harnden and photographer Julian Simmonds are crossing America, travelling by plane, train and car to the four corners of the US to explore the real issues ahead of the 2008 race to the White House.
Why are Brits so fascinated with our gun and political culture?
Perhaps a better question would be, "Why are we so fascinated with a few inbred members of British society who happen to be mere figureheads in their government?"