September 10th, 2007 05:33 PM
"British attitudes are supercilious and misguided" - Editorial
An editorial featured at the TimesOnline (UK):
From The Times
September 8, 2007
Wouldn’t you feel safer with a gun?
British attitudes are supercilious and misguided
Despite the recent spate of shootings on our streets, we pride ourselves on our strict gun laws. Every time an American gunman goes on a killing spree, we shake our heads in righteous disbelief at our poor benighted colonial cousins. Why is it, even after the Virginia Tech massacre, that Americans still resist calls for more gun controls?
The short answer is that “gun controls” do not work: they are indeed generally perverse in their effects. Virginia Tech, where 32 students were shot in April, had a strict gun ban policy and only last year successfully resisted a legal challenge that would have allowed the carrying of licensed defensive weapons on campus. It is with a measure of bitter irony that we recall Thomas Jefferson, founder of the University of Virginia, recording the words of Cesare Beccaria: “Laws that forbid the carrying of arms . . . disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes . . . Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.”
One might contrast the Virginia Tech massacre with the assault on Virginia’s Appalachian Law School in 2002, where three lives were lost before a student fetched a pistol from his car and apprehended the gunman.
Virginia Tech reinforced the lesson that gun controls are obeyed only by the law-abiding. New York has “banned” pistols since 1911, and its fellow murder capitals, Washington DC and Chicago, have similar bans. One can draw a map of the US, showing the inverse relationship of the strictness of its gun laws, and levels of violence: all the way down to Vermont, with no gun laws at all, and the lowest level of armed violence (one thirteenth that of Britain).
America’s disenchantment with “gun control” is based on experience: whereas in the 1960s and 1970s armed crime rose in the face of more restrictive gun laws (in much of the US, it was illegal to possess a firearm away from the home or workplace), over the past 20 years all violent crime has dropped dramatically, in lockstep with the spread of laws allowing the carrying of concealed weapons by law-abiding citizens. Florida set this trend in 1987, and within five years the states that had followed its example showed an 8 per cent reduction in murders, 7 per cent reduction in aggravated assaults, and 5 per cent reduction in rapes. Today 40 states have such laws, and by 2004 the US Bureau of Justice reported that “firearms-related crime has plummeted”.
In Britain, however, the image of violent America remains unassailably entrenched. Never mind the findings of the International Crime Victims Survey (published by the Home Office in 2003), indicating that we now suffer three times the level of violent crime committed in the United States; never mind the doubling of handgun crime in Britain over the past decade, since we banned pistols outright and confiscated all the legal ones.
We are so self-congratulatory about our officially disarmed society, and so dismissive of colonial rednecks, that we have forgotten that within living memory British citizens could buy any gun – rifle, pistol, or machinegun – without any licence. When Dr Watson walked the streets of London with a revolver in his pocket, he was a perfectly ordinary Victorian or Edwardian. Charlotte Brontë recalled that her curate father fastened his watch and pocketed his pistol every morning when he got dressed; Beatrix Potter remarked on a Yorkshire country hotel where only one of the eight or nine guests was not carrying a revolver; in 1909, policemen in Tottenham borrowed at least four pistols from passers-by (and were joined by other armed citizens) when they set off in pursuit of two anarchists unwise enough to attempt an armed robbery. We now are shocked that so many ordinary people should have been carrying guns in the street; the Edwardians were shocked rather by the idea of an armed robbery.
If armed crime in London in the years before the First World War amounted to less than 2 per cent of that we suffer today, it was not simply because society then was more stable. Edwardian Britain was rocked by a series of massive strikes in which lives were lost and troops deployed, and suffragette incendiaries, anarchist bombers, Fenians, and the spectre of a revolutionary general strike made Britain then arguably a much more turbulent place than it is today. In that unstable society the impact of the widespread carrying of arms was not inflammatory, it was deterrent of violence.
As late as 1951, self-defence was the justification of three quarters of all applications for pistol licences. And in the years 1946-51 armed robbery, the most significant measure of gun crime, ran at less than two dozen incidents a year in London; today, in our disarmed society, we suffer as many every week.
Gun controls disarm only the law-abiding, and leave predators with a freer hand. Nearly two and a half million people now fall victim to crimes of violence in Britain every year, more than four every minute: crimes that may devastate lives. It is perhaps a privilege of those who have never had to confront violence to disparage the power to resist.
Richard Munday is editor and co-author of Guns & Violence: the Debate Before Lord Cullen
The article can be found at; http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/com...cle2409817.ece
"Killers who are not deterred by laws against murder are not going to be deterred by laws against guns. " - Robert A. Levy
"A license to carry a concealed weapon does not make you a free-lance policeman." - Florida Div. of Licensing
September 10th, 2007 05:42 PM
Someone - one of the few - who sees logic and sense. Rare quality. Thx for posting that.
Gun controls disarm only the law-abiding
, and leave predators with a freer hand. Nearly two and a half million people now fall victim to crimes of violence in Britain every year, more than four every minute: crimes that may devastate lives. It is perhaps a privilege of those who have never had to confront violence to disparage the power to resist.
Chris - P95
NRA Certified Instructor & NRA Life Member.
"To own a gun and assume that you are armed
is like owning a piano and assuming that you are a musician!."
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September 10th, 2007 05:46 PM
This should be mandatory reading for all the gun control nuts and democrats. I hate to think how many times I have encountered the uneducated gun haters that refer to the British gun laws and think that they are right.
Its a shame that youth is wasted on the young.
September 10th, 2007 05:53 PM
Excellant article. I hope his words show others the truth of what they've done.
September 10th, 2007 06:10 PM
Very good article, thanks for posting!
September 10th, 2007 08:01 PM
You should all read the comments. Most of them are from the States but there are a few from people actually in the UK. From what I read, those are pretty evenly split between Pro and anti's.
September 10th, 2007 08:07 PM
Will the Brits hear his message?
“You can sway a thousand men by appealing to their prejudices quicker than you can convince one man by logic.”
― Robert A. Heinlein,
September 10th, 2007 08:21 PM
Forget the brits (no offense), but do you think some of the maroons over here would listen to it??
Originally Posted by pgrass101
S&W 638, Ruger LCP, Kimber Ultra CDP
September 10th, 2007 08:25 PM
Outstanding article. Hopefully a few more eyes will be opened...
The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools.
NRA Life Member
September 10th, 2007 08:31 PM
Great article! Spells out in plain English the facts. If that doesn't sway you, your opinion must be based strictly upon something imaginary.
The only thing that stops bad guys with guns is good guys with guns. SgtD
September 10th, 2007 08:38 PM
Excellent article! It seems that it was written with a realistic look at crime and doesn't try to skew the numbers like I see many people do. The entire picture must be looked at which includes ALL violent crimes. It seems like there are many out there who believe a gun used for self defense is only an option if facing a crime where the assailant has a gun as well. I'm sorry but I will not buy into that. The key for me is "fearing for my life" whether it be by gun, knife, car, or even threatening to drop an anvil on my head. Violence is violence and when you can employ a tool to help you escape that violence, then why wouldn't you?
~~~the biggest deficit of the general public is a lack of personal accountability.. I have no one to blame for my actions, regardless of circumstances, except myself and by the same token I can hold no one else responsible for my protection and well being other than myself~~~
September 10th, 2007 08:38 PM
In comparison, at least we have the means at our disposal to fight back if need be.
Even if we try our best to resist and die anyway, at least we have retained the dignity of doing the best we can, while the Brits continue to get slaughtered like cattle because their ruling class has made it illegal to defend oneself.
It is not right.
I would rather stand against the cannons of the wicked than against the prayers of the righteous.
AR. CHL Instr. 07/02 FFL
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September 10th, 2007 09:29 PM
...Gun controls disarm only the law-abiding, and leave predators with a freer hand. Nearly two and a half million people now fall victim to crimes of violence in Britain every year, more than four every minute: crimes that may devastate lives....
If it is ever up to Chucky and his friends...this is exactly what we will have here in the U.S.
The last Blood Moon Tetrad for this millennium starts in April 2014 and ends in September 2015...according to NASA.
Certified Glock Armorer
NRA Life Member[/B]
September 10th, 2007 10:08 PM
Good catch Jang!
September 10th, 2007 10:25 PM
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