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Sunday, February 17, 2013

Guns in America and England by Jenny Twist

Jenny Twist
Like just about everybody in the world I was shocked and horrified by the massacre at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.


Gun crime is particularly abhorrent to me because I was brought up in England where it is practically unheard of. I found it hard to understand how this lunatic had been able to get hold of a weapon that had allowed him to kill twenty children before anyone could stop him.

My American friend, Tara, asked me what the rules were in England.

Since anything to do with guns is completely outside my experience – I have never even seen one – I looked up the English law in Wikipedia. This is what it says:

In the United Kingdom firearms are tightly controlled by law, and while there is opposition to existing legislation from shooting organisations, there is little wider political debate, and public opinion favours stronger control. The British Shooting Sports Council now believes that the law needs to be consolidated but it does not call for a review.
The United Kingdom has one of the lowest rates of gun homicides in the world with 0.07 recorded intentional homicides committed with a firearm per 100,000 inhabitants in 2009 compared to the United States' 3.0 (over 40 times higher) and to Germany's 0.21 (3 times higher).
With the exception of Northern Ireland, it has been public policy that police officers in the United Kingdom should not generally be armed with firearms. Shooting fatalities of members of the police are extremely rare; there were three in England and Wales in the eleven-year period from 2000/01 to 2010/11. About 7,000 police officers have received firearms training.

Prohibited firearms

The following are generally prohibited.
Fully automatic or burst-fire weapons, which may include some air guns.
Firearms disguised as another item (e.g. walking sticks, mobile telephones, etc.)
Rockets and mortars.
Air guns chambered for self-contained gas cartridges.
Any weapon of whatever description designed or adapted for the discharge of any noxious liquid gas or other thing. This would generally include stun guns, or electric shock devices, and CS gas.


Tara points out that gun control laws affect only the people who obey them and she is, of course, absolutely right. No amount of gun control will stop criminals from carrying weapons. They are, after all, already operating outside the law. But the Sandy Hook massacre was not carried out by a career criminal, but a madman. Gun control laws would have prevented ordinary people from buying the weapon he used.  He might still have run amok and killed someone, but with any other weapon it would surely have been impossible to kill TWENTY before he was stopped.

I told Tara I couldn’t use examples from my own work to illustrate my point, as I don’t have guns in my books, and she said, “What about Domingo’s Angel?”

Of course I have written about guns, and indeed at one point it is the good guys who wield them. So just to show I’m not a complete hypocrite, here is that passage. It is a scene from the Spanish Civil War. The Republican Army has marched into the village of Amendillas and hanged the priest.

Excerpt from Domingo's Angel

“We did not know what to do,” María José said again. “We did not believe what was happening. Someone went to fetch the mayor and he came into the square and held up his hand and shouted at them to stop.”
“What happened?”
“They shot him. And then......and then.....” she hesitated, not wanting to say the next thing.
“Go on,” said Rosalba.
“They went to your father’s house and they dragged him out and pushed him against the wall.”
“How did he look?”
María José bit her lip. “He looked confused. I don’t think he had the slightest idea what was going on. And they shouted, ‘Death to the landlords!’ and some of them lined up and pointed their guns at him. And then Old Juan ran out of the house and they grabbed him and pushed him against the wall too. And they shot them both,” she finished, her eyes downcast.
“So the blood was not all my father’s,” thought Rosalba.
“And then,” María José looked up at Rosalba, her eyes haunted, “one of them grabbed Little Rosa by the arm and pulled her to him and said, ‘Have you got a kiss for your rescuers?’ and she spat in his face and he snarled and twisted her arm. I heard it snap. And she gave a little cry, but that was all. And then he threw her down to the ground and pointed his gun at her and then there was a loud crack and his head snapped back and he fell backwards on to the ground and nobody knew what had happened. I thought he had somehow shot himself. And everyone was looking round trying to see where the shot had come from. And then a voice came from the top of the church. It was Don Carlos.”
“What, my Carlos?” demanded Rosalba.
María José nodded. “He was on the church roof and he was holding a gun, like so.” She mimed holding a rifle to her shoulder with her chin resting on the stock. “And he said, ‘ You are not Republicans. You are filthy, murdering scum. And you will put down your guns and leave Amendillas immediately or every one of you will receive the same as him. And he spat towards the dead man in the square. And the men looked uncertain, but none of them put down their guns. And one of the others, I think he was the leader, he was wearing a red kerchief, said ‘And who will make us go?” And raised his gun. And there was another crack and he jerked forward and fell on his face in the dust. And we looked round and there was Salva the Baker on the roof of your father’s house. And he was pointing a gun like so. And there was another man on the roof of Juan the Shoemaker’s house. I could not see him clearly, because he was against the sun, but I think it was..”
“José Goatherd,” Rosalba finished for her.

There are occasions when the good guys need to be armed and on this occasion the good guys won. But I would argue that the risks of allowing the population at large to own guns far outweighs the risk of an occasion arising when they really need them for self-defence. 


Domingo's Angel is available from http://amzn.com/1612352022 
and
http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B005EH5U8G

And please don't forget to return tomorrow and Tuesday for Tara and Jenny's summing up of their respective arguments.

27 comments:

Paula Martin said...

Jenny, I agree with all you have written here. The 'right to bear arms' in the USA Bill of Rights was written in a different era, and (to my mind) has been misinterpreted over the years. I've heard Americans say they need to own guns to defend themselves against criminals who have guns, and in the next breath they say law-abiding citizens keep their guns locked away. My question is: Is a gun-wielding burglar going to wait while they retrieve their gun from its locked drawer (or wherever)?
I think the facts speak for themselves - Britain, with its strict gun control, does not have the mass shooting incidents that seem to be happening more and more frequently in the USA. I can think of only 3 in the last 25 years - Hungerford, Dublane, and Cumbria.

Herbert Grosshans said...

I live in Canada. I am a hunter and I own guns, but that doesn’t mean I’m against gun control. There has to be some form of control. Until last year we had a gun registration program. It created bad feelings in most gun owners, because it made you a criminal if you didn’t register your guns. Our government scrapped it last year. It cost literally billions of dollars to maintain and it did absolutely nothing. It did not keep guns out of the hands of criminals. No law will stop criminals from buying guns, but there have to be some laws to control the buying and selling of guns. For instance, nobody needs to have any automatic assault rifles. I’ll go as far as saying nobody needs to own a handgun, unless you’re a law enforcement officer. If you’re a member of a gun club and you like target shooting, the guns should be kept under lock and key at the location of the gun club.
We have some laws in place in Canada and they help. If you want to buy a gun or rifle, you need to get an acquisition permit, which you get after you’ve had a background check done. If you want to buy ammunition you need a gun possession licence, which is renewed every 5 years. You can’t buy a hunting licence unless you show your gun possession licence. No hunter and law abiding citizen objects to that. It’s not a big deal.
Unfortunately, Americans have a love affair with guns, and it will take time to bring about a change. I can see people living in the country wanting to carry a gun to protect themselves against possible animal attacks, but that is the only reason. You don’t need to carry a gun in a city. I know some people will argue that, but the reason people feel that way is the lax laws about guns in the US. Too many people who should not own guns have them.
If there were stricter laws, like if you’re caught with an assault rifle you get an automatic jail sentence. If you’re caught carrying a gun without a permit, automatic jail sentence. You need a permit to buy ammunition should be mandatory. If you’re caught with ammunition and have no permit, automatic jail sentence. No lawyers involved in any of these cases. It sounds harsh and dictatorial, but that’s what is needed. It does not violate a person’s rights. The right to bear arms is an antiquated law and needs to be changed. Laws need to be adjusted to the times. Every country has laws that are in need of change, we have them in Canada. The world is changing and you can’t hang on to laws that were created two hundred years ago. Times change, people change.
You have to realize one thing, selling guns and ammunition is big business. The manufactures of weapons, the sellers of weapons, all the people who are involved in the weapons business, will naturally protest violently against any form of control.
The argument that people need guns to protect themselves against criminals is valid only because of the lax gun laws in America. If you want to stop the violent gun crimes you need to take action and change the laws. More control and harsher sentences. It’s the only way. Everyone with an open mind can see that the way it is now doesn’t work. Carry on this way and it will only get worse. Look what’s happening in Afghanistan and all those countries where everyone seems to be armed and allowed to carry guns.

Check out my book Lizard World, Book one, Epsilon, to find out how my characters deal with criminals.

Herbert Grosshans
http://hegro.blogspot.com/

Jenny Twist said...

Some English friends of mine who are in a gun club said exactly the same thing to me in response to my remark that in England you might attack your partner in a domestic dispute but you would be highly unlikely to kill them, whereas in America people get shot in domestic disputes all the time. They said that it would take too long to get your gun out of the safe (where it must be kept by law in England). I pointed out that we were talking about America, where ordinary citizens keep guns in their house and do not have to lock them away.
My son told me this morning that there are more people killed in ACCIDENTAL shootings (cleaning the gun, etc) in America than are killed in ALL shootings in the UK. It just seems mad to me to run that kind of risk.

Starfox Howl said...

First off, regarding Wikipedia, one should not take ANYTHING on that site as authoritative. I equate it to a somewhat moderately reliable card catalog. A good place to start, but not to use as a reference.

As far as gun laws in the United States verses the UK, I'm not a lawyer, or a UK citizen, but it's my understanding that firearms other than a smoothbore single shot or double barreled shotguns are all that's available to the normal UK citizen, since there is an outright BAN on the ownership of handguns. Rifles, I'm not sure about. But I would think that a country that fears its citizenry as much as the Monarchy does, that any sort of self protection against government abuses would be limited.

I won't even start on the UK practice of jailing and prosecuting a homeowner or other victim of violent crime of "inflicting serious bodily harm" on the attacker when the victim fights back.

About having to keep guns in the home locked away here in the United States by law, it depends on the state or city. If you have children around, it's an absolute must.

And yes, we do have a number of people wounded and killed here in the United State via an accidental discharge. Number one reason is that the person handling the firearm forgets the number one and number two rules of safe firearms handling.

Rule one: A FIREARM IS ALWAYS LOADED UNTIL YOU PERSONALLY CHECK THAT IT IS NOT LOADED AND THERE IS NO CARTRIDGE IN THE CHAMBER.

Rule Two: NEVER POINT A FIREARM AT ANYTHING YOU DO NOT WISH TO DESTROY.

"Unloaded" guns have killed more people through the years than anything else.

I abhor the criminal use of firearms. All it leads to is more laws that criminals ignore and honest citizens have to bear.

The recent notorious mass shootings have all had one think in common, the person(s) doing the shooting all had mental health issues.

We stigmatize people that receive mental health services with the labels "crazy", "retard", "looney tunes" or "gold brick" then penalize them with job reassignments, transfers, or outright firing. The US Army and Air Force had to run television advertisements letting their respective workforces know that if they needed to seek out the services of a mental health professional, that it would not jeopardize their security clearance. Many police officers here in the US will not seek out the mental health services they need because doing so would subject them to being reassigned to desk duty, or what's commonly called "The Rubber Gun Squad".

It's a shame on us all and it needs to change.

James L. Hatch said...

Okay, I disagree with almost everything here, except what Starfox said. First, the comment about the nut couldn't have killed so many if not for an automatic weapon (to paraphrase). That is, of course, false. Please see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bath_School_disaster. The largest killing of innocent school children was with dynamite. My point? A nut who wants to kill ... will kill ... even if he/she has to drove a bulldozer through a school. That could happen, but I don't think it has ... yet. Second, about the number of people killed by guns in the US vs. Britain. The statistic compares apples and oranges. Most US gun killing happens in large cities. We have lots of those; England doesn't. If small towns are compared (only), the kill rate is about the same. It's not guns that kill people, but other people ... and it doesn't matter what country they are from (e.g., 77 were killed in 2011 in Norway by a nut who subsequently got a 21 year sentence before eligible for parole). The problem in US big cities isn't guns either, but the people pulling the trigger. Yes, Sandy Hook was a horror, but it pales in comparison to the number killed in Chicago every month (where gun control is the strictest in the nation). The problem is both mental health AND family values. Until those things are address, the murders will continue. The reason the press is making such a fuss over weapons is that it's easier to blame the iron that the people responsible for (1) raising criminal children or (2) making mental illness so difficult to get treatment for. I mean, really, you all know what was supposed to have "pushed the Sandy Hook killer off the edge," right? The went ballistic because his mother wanted to have him committed. The mental health system was the problem -- she had nowhere to turn even though she knew her son needed help. And yes, he got the gun at home. I submit he would have found some other way if he really wanted to. There are over 300 million guns in the USA. That's a fact, so criminals will ALWAYS have them ... and even the mentally disturbed. Guns are not difficult to get. BTW, as gun ownership has gone up in the US, the murder rate per 100,000 has gone down (http://factcheck.org/2012/12/gun-rhetoric-vs-gun-facts/). So, one could argue that the more guns, the better. It doesn't seem like the guns are at fault to me. Finally, I'd like to talk about "too many rats." There is an often repeated experiment that shows, when fertile rats are put in a confined space, allowed to proliferate without bound and given all the food and water they want, that eventually rat gangs form, homosexuality rises, rat murders go up, and all kind so socially unacceptable behavior increases, even for a rat. People are just another rat. Clump them up in a city, and bad things happen. Want to fix the murder by gun rate? Then here's what you do: (1) fix families in inner cities (only God knows how), (2) build distributed societies vs. those where everyone is grouped together, (3) take care of the mentally ill, (4) enforce gun laws already on the books (like they did in NY under Rudy Giuliani) and (5) make gun crime a mandatory 10 year sentence under federal law. That's my two cents worth.

Diane O'Key said...

I think the issue is "culture" rather than guns, per se. I believe in every American's right to bear arms...assuming those arms are legally owned and the user properly trained. Owning a gun does not mean you ever intend to use it. But as long as you have people without morals, without consciences and proper upbringing, without values--lacking in family stability and/or a sense of personal responsibility...not using their "poor" backgrounds as excuses, not reasons! for their violent behavior...there's going to be a problem. You must change the culture; banning guns is not the issue. Personal responsibilty and values are the issue.

steve poling said...

In 2011 a criminal killed 69 defenseless people in Norway. And last December another criminal killed 26 defenseless people in New York.

My take-away from your remarks was that there is something about English gun law has prevented massacres like these from visiting the UK. What is it?

Sure, you have no 2nd Amendment, but there is no 2nd Amendment in Norway.

More than twice as many defenseless people died there. Whatever protection-spell works in the UK was deactivated in Norway. What was that? How can we establish that gun laws prevent massacres if they didn't help the Norwegians?

Conversely, I framed my remarks with the word "defenseless" to suggest an observation of both tragedies: Defenseless people at the mercy of criminals tend to die in larger numbers than those who can defend themselves.

You needn't issue every schoolchild a gun to stop a massacre, just keep around a few NRA gun nuts who can be trusted.

Jane Toombs said...

In my opinion, part of the problem with guns is many people are angry with withthe world and fall into a rage mode easely. If a gun is available, they'll use it. Or a knife, or their bare hands. So gun laws, as far as I'm concerned, are not going to be a cure. Maybe there are just too many of us in every country in the world today. Jane

Susan said...

I am a passionate defender of gun rights and gun owners. Gun control is a flawed premise and controls only those who obey the law. Like so many laws we have in the States, they are either unenforced or underenforced and therefore useless.

I own a gun and have been trained in its use.

I have the right to defend myself and my family. Gun control would not take guns out of the hands of criminals, it would only take away my right to self defense.

There has been a lot of talk about the tragedy of Sandy Hook. It was indeed a tragedy, but because one mentally unstable person went on a spree is that any reason to take away the legally owned guns of trained people? I think not.

Gun control is a hot button issue being unscrupulously used by politicians to disarm the populace by playing on their emotions. Despots prefer unarmed peasants.

Remember, Hitler confiscated all the privately owned guns in Germany in 1936, declaring that he was creating a more gentle and peaceful state. The following decade proved that, didn't it?

Another comment on Sandy Hook. The shooter - who was known to have mental problems - had more than enough ammunition on him to kill everyone in that school. Everyone. He didn't stop killing because of remorse or second thoughts or lack of munitions. He shot himself ONLY when he saw someone else pointing a gun at him.

One person with one gun in time could have saved most of those innocent lives in Sandy Hook.

To my mind, a 'gun-free' zone is an invitation to a killing field. An armed society is a polite society.

Jenny Twist said...

Herbert. What a detailed and thoughtful response! I did know that in Canada the statistics on gun crime are lower but that gun ownership is not so very different from the US. Now you have explained, I can see why that is, and I must say I agree with every word you say on control.
Thank you so much
x

Jenny Twist said...

Hi Starfox
You're quite right about Wikopedia, of course, but we had to settle for a general picture rather than doing a thoroughly researched piece, as neither of us had the time and it just wouldn't have got done at all. The point of doing the article is that we were each so interested in what the other had to say about the practice in their respective countries that we thought other people might be interested too and might like to add their own thoughts. So apologies for inaccuracies. I hope you understand.
I don't think there is an outright ban on handguns in the UK. I'm pretty sure that that members of gun clubs can get licences. But there is a total ban on assault weapons.
And I have to say regarding your reference to the UK practice of prosecuting homeowners for defending themselves, that my own belief is that an intruder sacrifices his human rights the minute he steps over the threshold, and I personally think 'reasonable force' would include shooting the b*****ds.
Sadly, I don't think we can do anything about criminal use of firearms. I think there is less in the UK (but rising) probably because burglars feel less need to be armed since they don't expect householders to be armed. It's one of those Catch 22 things.
As for the lunatic gunmen. What can I say? Of course people with mental health problems shoud get the care they need and the stigma should be removed. But I still think that a tighter control on guns, especially assault weapons would surely make it much less likely that these people could express their mental problems by massacring their fellow citizens.
Thanks so much for contributing, Starfox. A really thought-provoking and interesting response.
Love
Jenny
xxx

Jenny Twist said...

Hi James
Of course you are right that killers will always find a way to kill. I just advocate not making it too easy for them.
We do have several big cities in the UK. Apart from London, with a population of 7.2 million, we have Birmingham with just under a million and Leeds, Glasgow and Sheffield with more than 500,000 each. Don't know how that compares with the US, but I would have thought, given the comparative size of the two countries, we have as many big cities per head of population. I think London is nearly as big as New York and yet there were only 89 fatal shootings in 2012 as opposed to 237 in New York (Google again, I'm afraid).

And yes, the Norway nut raised the statistics for Europe alarmingly. And I couldn't agree with you more about mental health issues and family values. You have anticipated Tara's next piece, which examines just that issue.
I am fascinated to discover that the murder rate has decreased as gun ownership has risen and don't know what to make of it.
I agree with everything you say about the 'rat race' and your proposals for fixing it are absolutely perfect. If only...
Thank you so much, James. Great response. I hope you come back and comment on the rest.
Jenny
xxx

Jenny Twist said...

Hi Steve
I can't explain why the Norway nut broke through the 'protection-spell' (love that description - wish I'd thought of it myself) but I suspect it was a one-off, determined nut, the exception that proves the rule.
I'm with James, that it's somehow bound up with culture. My impression is that in Europe generally guns just don't come into our thinking much. It wouldn't occur to most of us to own a gun or expect anyone else to use one against us.
I'm a bit wary of advocating putting armed guards in schools. I feel it would be an escalation of an already dangerous situation. But I have no solution myself, except tighter control. I suppose because I was brought up in a virtually gun-fee culture, I can't quite get my head round how it feels to live in an environment where you are aware of them all the time.
Thank you so much, Steve. Glad to meet you.

Jenny Twist said...

Hi Jane
How right you are!
Although I think it's probably a bit harder to kill with a knife or bare hands. Well, it would be for me. A gun seems somehow impersonal and at a distance. Hard to actually stick the knife in and requires considerable strength to kill with bare hands.But there again, if you're an angry loony these considerations probably don't apply. Thank God I live in Spain, in the country, half a mile from the nearest neighbour.

Jenny Twist said...

Hi Susan
As you so rightly say, a law is only as good as its enforcement. I don't think I would be too worried about gun ownership if all people were as responsible as you.
I've seen quite a few references to the desire of despots to have an unarmed populace. Of course they want that, but I would point out that in order to disarm the populace, the populace has to have been armed in the first place. If gun ownership is a defence, why didn't it save them? Also, I don't know enough about despots generally, but Hitler certainly used armed militia groups to gain and maintain power. So in Nazi Germany's case the armed citizenry aided the despot rather than prevented him from taking power.
I think there is something to be said for both sides of the argument and I tend to lean towards control (not disarmament) because I have always felt safe in a country that DID have strict controls.
I personally would have preferred a scenario where the Sandy Hook killer had been unable to lay his hands on a gun, rather than one where another gunman saves the day.
But I defend your right to have a different opinion and I defend the American people's right to decide for themselves how to go.
Thanks so much for visiting and commenting. I really appreciate it.

ManicScribbler said...

This is not my debate so I've taken a back seat on it. However I just want to chip in and say thanks to everyone for such engaged and thought-provoking comments; and a very special thank you to Jenny for her prompt and carefully-considered responses.
Lyn

Eva87 said...

Personally I think there needs to be much tighter gun control, I hate guns with a passion. However - and I may be being rather controversial here - I don't believe it will ever happen. If anything they'll probably try to lax the rules in the UK and other places at some point. Why? Because the arms industry is so big and powerful. Why do you think we keep going to wars? Why does our govt allow the wrong fighter plane to be built and then have to order the right one, wasting millions of pounds? Because if we didn't do things like that and we didn't go to war with anyone and guns were outlawed (or strict laws enforced on them) then the arms industry would collapse. And they're too big and powerful for that. So as much as I would love to live in a peaceful world, I just don't think it will ever happen. :(

Jenny Twist said...

Hi Eva
You are so right. If we just stopped manufacturing weapons NO-ONE could instigate massacres, including governments, and Britain, despite its own very strict domestic gun laws, is one of the biggest culprits.
Oh, for a perfect world!
Love
Jenny
x

James L. Hatch said...

Hi Jenny:

I love this blog. Finally, one with substance and polite answers. I wish it were possible to have such forums on a regular basis. In the USA, such discussions are almost impossible. Even when I send in columns to the newspaper--and all are polite--I receive hate mail. There's a lot of anger here.

I just wanted to add a comment about your comment: "If gun ownership is a defence, why didn't it save them?" I believe that is a central question and I hope you will blog further on it. I also believe the same apathy that enabled the Germans to surrender their guns without a fight is at play here in the USA. We have a charismatic leader now, even though the population is sharply divided over his leadership (about 49% to 51%). Our president acts on his own in many situations, and, as was the case in Germany, the press supports him 100%. I don't know what the outcome of a gun seizure in the US might be. On the one hand, people might just roll over and let it happen--apathy at its finest. On the other, they just might rise up and say "enough is enough." I just can't say.

What I do know is that the 51% who put Obama in office DO support anarchy like that in the OWS movement. They also support union thuggery and find a common enemy in corporations, so they will continue supporting all political measures to drive corporations from our shores. That will inevitably lead to more poverty and, in my humble opinion, when poverty increases, violence increases. We could be sitting on a powder keg. Promises made by politicians cannot be kept. At some point population disillusionment will set in. Lord knows what will happen then.

In general, I think the USA is toast in many ways. I also believe all bets are off as to whether we will survive as a culture. It all depends on apathy. A population too apathetic to pay attention to what's going on ... probably deserves to fade away. As Winston Churchill once said, "The greatest argument against democracy is a five minute discussion with the average voter."

Lynne Connolly said...

The facts are indisputable. In countries where gun ownership is banned, the murder rate is much, much lower than in countries where gun ownership is allowed (Switzerland?)
But it's what you think of that statistic and if you're prepared to accept the higher risk.
It's not my call.
What really brought the whole issue and its complexity home to me was a work of fiction: "The Wire." If you haven't seen it, do. It should be mandatory for writers, because the quality is so high.
By depicting a community, Baltimore in the case of "The Wire," you can see how tightly gun culture is bound to every part of American society. It brings home the complexity of the problem.

Tara Fox Hall said...

Wow..comments galore!
Paula…yes, gun safes and unloaded weapons are an issue that presents a problem in defending yourself. I have no children, so it’s not one I’ve personally dealt with. But if I had small children, I’d think a gun safe would be a must until the child was old enough to be taught not to touch.
Herbert…I agree that there must be some form of gun control. What I’m opposed to is more gun control in NYS where we already have strict gun laws. Many states do not have all the laws we do in my state, and yes, they probably could stand to pass a few on background checks and permits. The gun laws you describe for Canada seem to be similar to the ones we have here.

Tara Fox Hall said...

Starfox Howl – well said. I do want to add that your two rules were one of the first things they taught us in firearm safety class.
James H…I have heard of many of the arguments you mention, from overcrowding to the inverse relationship of guns to crime. I agree, we do need tougher gun laws…in terms of punishments for those caught with a gun while committing a crime, or just possessing one unlawfully. You have a grim view of the USA, but I have to say I am worried that your apocalyptic vision may be coming true sooner rather than later. And yes, the US press is a joke in terms of what is reported. But at least we’re all polite here today and talking about real issues, or at least we are trying :)
Diane…I agree, and you have the heart of my post for tomorrow on culture as a huge part of the gun violence problem.
Steve…I agree that defenseless people make easy targets, no matter the location or society.
Jane…you make a good point. There is a lot of rage in the world today that people seem not to be able to dissipate. I don’t have a realistic answer for it, but I agree it’s a problem.
I agree with you Eva…too many people will fight if the government attempts to take their guns. I will be one of them. :)

Jenny Twist said...

Hi James
Thank you so much for your comments. I really appreciate them. When Tara and I thought of this blog we knew it might be controversial but we had no idea what a marvellous response it would evoke, both in quantity and quality.
I think you're right that we need to do more.
What you say about the issue of gun-ownership and dictators is a whole new ball park.
I was amazed at the British response to some of the draconian measures introduced by Margaret Thatcher (another charismatic leader)and more recently by the EU. The poll tax induced a few half-hearted riots and some civil disobedience, but nothing like the full scale rebellion I expected. And even the Irish have quietly submitted to the EU anti-smoking laws. It seems the British Bulldog is old and has no teeth.
I have to admit, to my shame, that I am unfamiliar with the OWS movement. It is like the brown shirts in pre-war Britain?
I love your Winston Churchill quote and have another here "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing" - attributed to Edmund Burke.

Jenny Twist said...

Hi Lynne.
Well said. I think the statistics speak for themselves but, as you say, it's up to each country to decide for itself. I am very intrigued by your reference to "The Wire" and shall investigate it immediately. Thanks so much.

moondustwriter said...

This gun control issue is a hot topic. Sadly, I think the issue isn't being looked at by the media or legislators rationally. I agree with James that killing of innocent people will not stop because you take guns away. Getting rid of the second amendment will not assure the safety of another school of children either. When you start removing the basis of a country (i.e. the laws that are foundational) you will end up with a different country or perhaps anarchy. An aside: more children in one day were killed on the day that the Sandy Hook incident happened in the US because of car accidents (I believe it's 60 children a day die in the US.) It seems that there should be a law against driving cars (registering them has apparently not helped.)

Jenny Twist said...

Hello, Moonduestwriter. I loved this comment, especially the last sentence. All the things you say are true. We live in a dangerous world and no legistlation will make it entirely safe. I just think putting in controls might make it a little bit safer. Especially the banning of assault weapons. There will always be the killing of innocent people, but it needn't be on quite such a large scale.

Toni V.S. said...

This isn't my opinion but someone said to me recently, "If it wasn't for the British, we wouldn't have that amendment giving us the Right to Bear Arms and maybe...just maybe...all this would be moot." Then, he went on, "Of course, if they'd won, it'd still be moot, wouldn't it? (I'm definitely not a gun person, so I just kept quiet to avoid an argument.)

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