Essentially, Bacon (the American) is an adherent of the philosophy of "More Guns, Less Crime" (as advocated by John Lotte, Jr). He really believes that the individual citizen should be "allowed" to protect himself/herself and his/her family and property.
But James (the Scot) believes that the British policy and law preventing Britains from owning firearms reduces the number of "gun deaths" in his country, and that's all that matters. Nothing in the Scot's "Why 'being right' isn't good enough for them - a cut-out-and-keep guide article (which includes his "ten question challenge" ... and first you may care to read James' follow-up article "The smallest minority : the individual, alone and abandoned") discusses either the right or the responsibility of a person to self-defense ... the entire point is to elucidate all the BAD ways that private firearms ownership can affect society.
Yep. Lots of ways that guns can be bad for people, but not a single suggestion that owning a weapon can prevent predation on innocents. James is determined to make the point that "Guns Are BAD!", and (one supposes) that Only Bad People Have Guns.
I have presented many ways in which the encroaching Socialism of British Governmental Policy have made the British (including Scots and Irish) seem to move Brits from the classifications of "citizens" to "subjects" ... subject to the arbitrary whims of their government. And if I seem to be excessively vituperative today it may just be on account of the way which our current Federal Administration seems determined to follow the European (and British) example in redefining our culture, and eliminating our freedoms in preference to a 'Strong Central Government'.
So perhaps it is not entirely fair for me to negatively compare the British Culture with the American Culture, especially in terms of individual freedoms. After all, are we so far away from finding ourselves equally subject to the unilateral determination of our Federal system, especially considering the huge number of unelected "Czars" who are sneaking their way into the American decision-making process?
One only needs to look at the ATF, who last week redefined the legal essentials of Federal Control of "transfer of firearms" (which requires ATF permission) from "ownership" of firearms to "possession of firearms", to understand how easily this creeping control can administratively be inserted into our day-to-day exercise of our Constitutional freedoms.
Yes, I had to comment on James' article. The daily lives and preferences of common people may soon mean less than a pile of beans to the American Czars, but I can only speak to the America of Today -- June of 2010 -- and how I hope it will continue rather than the way I fear it may become.
So here is the extended comment I made to James' article, which is probably incomprehensible unless you have read his original comment and understand the context.
Note that this is slightly longer than the version actually posted. The website has a 4MB (4096-character) limit on the comment length, and as frequent readers probably realize it is almost impossible for me to complete a though under these restrictions. Consequently, I have had to drastically edit my final accepted version in the actual comments section of James' blog.
I trust I have retained the flavor, which I'm afraid is a bit ... dismissive ... of the current British culture and entirely too laudatory of American culture.
I'm a throw-back who believes in the sanctity of the home, the rights of a citizen, and the hominem that "good fences make good neighbors".
I can't stop myself from jumping into the argument, because my opinion is that if there is a conflict between a private person and an 'aggressor', chances are that the bad-guy has a weapon of some kind and has also in some manner acting as a predator stalking a victim. In that scenario, the 'victim' should be allowed to protect himself/herself with whatever weapon seems most effective.
And the most effective defense weapon is a firearm, especially given that (a) the "victim" is most likely someone who is definitively unable to put up a good defense based on training, weapons at hand, situational awareness, and body mass; and (b) the aggressor is likely to have a weapon, more aggressive (and probably stronger) than his chosen victim, and has the advantage of surprise.
Read the original article, compare the comments which I made to James' article to that which is here presented: the greatest difference between the two versions (besides length of the comment) is a couple of embedded links providing background and substantiation of the comments.
"[J]aw-dropping, logic-defying belief" is it?
Well, I think you have the right phrase there. The question is, whose jaw is dropping?
It may be both your jaw and mine having difficulty maintaining equilibrium considering the contradictory claims of opinion being tossed about here.
James, your ten-point questionnaire would have more believability if you would do the research and find the answers to the questions you pose.
I once had an extended discussion with a British policeman who described himself as the "ASBO Monger". He was proud of the number of Anti-Social Behavior Orders he had handed out. When I asked why he didn't just arrest the Bad Boys (Yobs) on the first offense ... no matter how egregious their behavior, he seemed confused. That just wasn't they way they did things over there.
The thing is, my "ASBO Monger" friend was determined to make the case (as you did) that Britain has fewer firearms-related deaths than does America.
Well, duh. Americans are allowed to protect their persons, their property, and their families. Brits are not.
That doesn't mean that Britain has fewer assaults; they don't, they have more. The point you consider significant is that the assaults are less likely to result in a death.
Instead, the home-owner is likely subject to a bad beating, or a stabbing, because the aggressor (the ASBO-burdened YOB) has a weapon like a knife and a club, and the victim has no weapon at all. And the YOB has a plan, which is to kick ass until the victim is a bloody mess on the floor.
YOBs don't HAVE to kill anybody to have their way, although it doesn't much bother them if they do.
As a Consequence, the British Government has decided to resolve the situation by ... making it illegal for people to have knives. That's good, clear thinking.
And if a British subject (Y'all aren't "citizens" any more, did you notice that?) chooses to defend himself, his home and his family, he is MORE likely than the aggressor to spend serious jail-time than the YOU who attacked him. Have you looked at the statistics?
Compare "Deaths by firearms" with "violent assaults" in Britain vs America. I have. I found it meaningful. But I won't give the citations, the statistics, the references. You chose to make your point without references, you have the onus of proving your point.
Americans don't typically treat their YOBs gently. We have them, but the resolution is usually Darwinian
As you can see, especially from the example of "the tragic case of Andrew de Vries", the response to crime in America is much more inclined to the protection of the rights of the victim, than to the rights of the guilty. Mr de Vries was trespassing and acting in an aggressive and intrusive manner. Most folks here-abouts have a more respectful manner ... or they are considered a bad health risk and treated appropriately.
The cultural dissonance is that you treat it as a tragedy which should/could have been avoided given a more understanding attitude on the part of the home-owner.
We treated it as a tragedy which should/could have been avoided given a more understanding attitude on the part of the aggressor.
We don't expect nice people to climb over our fence and bang on our back door in the middle of the night. This is the "Darwinian Solution" which I mentioned earlier. Nice people bang on the front door and wait until they are noticed. Fences are to keep good people out; a gun is used to deal with not-good people. Folks who don't recognize the boundary of acceptable behavior are not generally considered to be trying very hard to meet to our standards of "good people who are only asking for help."
Now, I'm sure you won't acknowledge the legitimacy of "The Castle Defense". Heck, you don't even spell it right. "Defence"? Who the heck taught you to spell ... or, more importantly, to act? Certainly people like the ASBO Monger aren't teaching you to act. Instead, they are teaching your youths that if they are aggressive and rude, and step on toes everywhere they go, nothing particularly bad will happen to the. Bad thing to be teaching your children. Do you start out to be idiots? No, you are training yourselves that way
Not a good idea. Americans don't always do a much better job of bringing up our children, but at least we haven't institutionalized the idea of raising idiots.
(I'm not going to get into politics, but just to comment -- I have to admit that neither side of the Atlantic has a monopoly of electing Idiots to public office, and I'm real sorry about that. I mean that sincerely.)
So, you think you have a better culture than do Americans, because you have fewer "gun deaths".
Is that per-capita, or per assault?
Are your children more often murdered for their cell-phones, or for their sneakers than ours?
That is perhaps a better measure of the deadliness, and the violence, of our respective societies.
And that is my "One-Point List of Questions" may perhaps better go "to the heart of the credibility of any conclusions that could be drawn from the study".
Bottom line, studies and conclusions are based on statistics. You can tweak statistics to suit any conclusion you like best.
I don't like your conclusion, I don't think you have proved it, and I challenge you to answer your own questions.