Thursday, August 16, 2007

David the ASBOmonger on Gun Control

David the ASBOmonger was kind enough to respond to my recent post on Gun Control.

He first commented yesterday to my "The Brits Are At It Again" article with statements to the effect that "GUN CONTROL WORKS", and I replied last night in a new article attempting to refute this statement by citing both opinion articles (authored in both the U.S. and Britain), and also citing reports from the U.S. Department of Justice.

David commented on that post promptly and rather than copy it into an article and fisk it line by line, I originally chose to respond under his comment.

But my reply was even longer than his comment, so I decided to move it here, to a separate article, where it was more public. Maybe other readers would have something to add.

So I've ended up Fisking it after all. Sorry, it's not intended as a sign of disrespect.

Before you continue, however, I hope you will read the comment. If I've missed an important point, it was due to oversight.


Firstly - we both have a problem. Our two countries define crime and
analyse crime data completely differently so it is almost impossible to do nice easy comparisons. For instance in Britain an "Armed Robbery" is where the robber states he has a gun - he may very well only have a pool cue in a plastic bag (as is often the case – or indeed in one case I dealt with a cucumber) but it is still counted as a fire-arms offence. Ditto any crime committed with a toy or replica gun.

I do agree, indeed, that our countries report crimes differently. In fact, I not only made that point quite emphatically, I even quoted the DOJ report to that effect.

Mr Sowell's article is an opinion piece - not data. He is right that gun
control has only been in one direction since the 50s, as has our murder rate for gun-murders. Coincidence? You tell me.

I thought I had been clear when I identified every citation which was only an opinion piece. But it's nice to know you recognize the difference between opinion and facts.

Without objective citations from reputable sources, all we have are opinions.

Yours, for example.

I'll leave aside whether or not Britain is a socialist state or not (have you been to any real socialist states and have you been to Britain? - you'll soon notice the difference, but that's by the by.

I've never been to Britain, but I have been to New York and I have been to Canada. Is that close enough?

It's certainly as close as I care to get.

Is Britain a Socialist state? Well, how many self-identified Socialists do you have in your national government?

And how about the National Health?

Socialism: "The stage in Marxist-Leninist theory intermediate between capitalism and communism, in which collective ownership of the economy under the dictatorship of the proletariat has not yet been successfully achieved."

National Health is a big step to the left. I will concede that Britain isn't an entirely Socialist state only in as much as capitalist enterprises are not forbidden by law. Yet. But when they are, would that be a Communist state, or only a really, really Socialist state?

It may surprise you to know that I am a closet Anglophile, and as such I mourn for the lost splendor of Britain. You use to be such a great people; now you seem impatient for the next law to infringe on your individual freedoms ... such as the right to choose your own doctor.

(Comparison to America: HMO, Kaiser Health, Bush's 'Senior Prescription Drug Bill' or whatever it's called. Perhaps we aren't so far behind you, but when I need an MRI I can get it the same day my Doctor decides I need it. Can you?)

Don't think that the Brits are any less murderous than the yanks - we're
not all Hugh Grant you know. However the lack of access to firearms makes us a lot less effective as murderers. Cricket bats aren’t as effective as baseball bats as weapons either.

You have conveniently ignored that the weapon isn't the important thing; that people are getting murdered is the important thing, and as far as the murder rate is concerned, gun control does NOT work.

One of the points of contention here is that you seem to be looking mostly at the rate of murder by firearms. Myopic. Major crimes are going up because the Yobs get away with more. In America, major crime rates are going down. In the meantime, more states are passing laws permitting the concealed carry of firearms. Is there a cause-and-effect relationship? May be.

Our murder rate has indeed gone up; however it's nowhere near yours.
Your murder rate is increasing?

I thought that making civilian ownership of firearms was suppose to reduce the national murder rate. Yet, as more and more types of firearms were outlawed, more and more civilians died. What's that all about?

Don't think that the Brits are any less murderous than the yanks - we're not all Hugh Grant you know. However the lack of access to firearms makes us a lot less effective as murderers. Cricket bats aren’t as effective as baseball bats as weapons either.

Good Lord, man!

You take comfort in the fact that your social predators are compelled to use even more brutal, bloody, painful and debiliting methods of murdering your fellow man? How low can the servants of The Nanny State go in their drive to completion of a social agenda? You claim to be a policeman, a protector of your fellow man, and are not moved by the increased brutalization of both victim and aggressor?

You skip right over the concept of self-defence by the law-abiding, as if it is a concept not worthy of consideration.

Think about it.

When a Yob with a cricket bat meets a woman without a cricket bat, the Yob with a cricket bat usually gets whatever he wants ... and the woman (child, smaller man, whatever) gets trashed.

Murders by firearms may very well be going down in Britain, but the aggressors are just switching to other weapons. You may think it's a good thing that people aren't getting murdered by gunshot as often, but the man who was stabbed in the neck at his doorstep and seven months later shot (Peter Woodhams, of Canning Town, East London) after an ASBO was issued to his consistent attacker was probably not comforted. Neither was his widow, who still held the bloodied clothing from his LAST attack, which the police had not bothered to follow up on. What's that all about? How did gun control help him?

How did the police help him?

Your country and my country are not far apart in one important area: our politicians are all trying to pass laws to curb aggression, and one way or another it's not working.

Your country elects national leaders who have espoused gun control as a viable way to cut the murder rate. It hasn't worked in Britain, just as it hasn't worked in Australia or Canada (to name only two).

My country tried to elect a national leader who espoused gun control as a viable way to cut the murder rate, and the electorate didn't buy it ... or him. In fact, he lost in his own home state.

But you Brits keep telling us that "Gun Control Works!" despite evidence (both anecdotal and statistical) to the effect that the big losers in a "Gun Control Works!" state are the law-abiding citizens who wouldn't dream of shooting someone in a moment of pique or as an intimidation tactic.

That's why I'm opposed to gun control, as are more million Americans than there are citizens of your own country. No, this isn't the "we're more, we're better" argument. It's merely an illustration of the fact that there are a LOT of people here who oppose Gun Control.

As you continue to espouse what many of us consider wrong-minded catch phrases, though, the gun control advocates in America pick and choose from your press and cunningly insert the quotes in OUR press. We have enough woolly-headed people here who don't read critically and who don't think it through, when sufficient of them are convinced by YOU, WE have to suffer the consequent infringements on our freedom, our safety and our economy.

We don't want that.

Yes guns are used in Britain’s underworld – mainly in black-on-black gang wars. This is the Metropolitan Police’s website on the issue: And yes if you outlaw guns only criminals will have guns.

Actually, the quote is "When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will own guns".

I'm glad that you finally offered a source to justify your claims, but somehow I don't accept that a website called is likely to be objective.

But I did click on the link and browse the website.

I see a lot of touchy-feely songs and videos, and "Working Together", "Get Involved", "Good News" and "Take Action" links there, but I don't see anything that compares crime rates with the advent of Gun Control laws, and that's what I was hoping for.

We get quite enough emotional pleas and factually unsupported assertions in our own national press, David. I'm saddened to see that your best effort and documentation of your position is entirely devoid of factual content. Worse, that it is (according to you) the product of "The Metropolitan Police".

Aren't you just a little bit curious about WHY the Metropolitan Police so strongly espouse gun control, but are unwilling to bolster opinion with facts? I haven't visited ALL of the pages on that website, but one would expect them to offer something, even if they had to make up the statistics out of whole cloth. (Translation: lie about it.)

Isn't ANYBODY critical of the government in Britain?

To be fair Jerry, there are holes in your argument that I imagine
you yourself can see you could drive a 4x4 through……

To be fair, David, I've got a big ol' SUV sitting in my driveway, and it's not fitting through any of the 'holes' in my argument. In fact, you haven't found any. You have not addressed one single fact which I have presented. Your viewpoint is demonstrably not objective.

And without objectivity, all we're looking at is ... opinion.

Come on, David. I'm disappointed. You can do better than this.

I got my numbers on gun murders from the police - I have
access to this sort of thing. I have no idea how many gun murders there were in the USA in the corresponding period (2005-6) - but I will eat my cat if it is anywhere near 250 - which would be a pro-rata figure.

You're guessing. Be responsible, do your homework, find us a source of your numbers that support your contention. I'm sorry to tell you that judging by the website that you say is hosted by "The Metropolitan Police", your often-referenced but never-cited source "The Police" is busted. If you are, as you claim, an actual policeman, you should certainly be familiar with the rules of evidence.

I see no evidence here. Mere conjecture, and parroting. And you won't even tell us who you are parroting.

Speaking of birds, you will probably need catsup with that cat. I predict it will taste a lot like crow.

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