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Violent Britain

By the Epopt in News
Fri Jun 30, 2000 at 03:49:54 PM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)
Culture

Londoners -- and the rest of Britain, for that matter -- are up in arms over a CBS Evening News report that claims London is one of the most violent places in the Western world. The British tourist board is all aflurry, and the British Home Office says the report is just wrong.

The problem is that the report is absolutely correct. Even the UK Telegraph admits that

There are many more burglaries and thefts in Britain than America and, according to the most recent figures comparing rates across the industrialised world, "contact" crime is higher here. This includes assaults, robberies and rapes.


The politically unspeakable reason behind the differential, according to the Telegraph, "is [American] householders' propensity to shoot intruders. They do so without fear of being dragged before courts and jailed for life." In Britain, only law-abiding subjects are prohibited from possessing handguns. Criminals are given a free rein.

The most recent crime statistics from the Home Office show that in 1998 there were 963 offences of violence against the person for every 100,000 people in Britain. In America, according to Bureau of Justice figures for the same year, the rate was 566 per 100,000 inhabitants. It would seem that Britain is about twice as dangerous as the US. In addition, a criminal, once caught, is six times more likely to be jailed in America.

So are guns and crime inversely related: less guns, more violence? Several states have freely issued concealed carry permits for several years now and have experienced enormous drops in "contact" crime ... does having more guns cause less violence?

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Violent Britain | 84 comments (80 topical, 4 editorial, 0 hidden)
Doesn't anyone understand how you look at statisti (4.00 / 5) (#2)
by orac2 on Fri Jun 30, 2000 at 02:02:15 PM EST

If the thesis that London is more violent than US cities because people don't have guns was correct, then all or most of Western Europe - where there are universally very strict gun laws - would have a violent crime rate higher than the US average. The inverse is the case. Therefore the thesis is wrong. Q.E.D.

An example of one city, with a whole bunch of well documented problems with social exclusion, poverty and drug abuse that are much better contenders for being a cause of violence (Occams Razor anyone?), can't be used to attack a regime of strict gun control that nearly 400 million people live happily under. And who don't think their governments are being undemocratic or evil for exerting such control either.
"I'm not stupid, I'm not expendable and I'm not going." - Avon, Blake's Seven

Re: Doesn't anyone understand how you look at stat (5.00 / 2) (#5)
by Nyarlathotep on Fri Jun 30, 2000 at 02:41:48 PM EST

If the thesis that London is more violent than US cities because people don't have guns was correct, then all or most of Western Europe - where there are universally very strict gun laws would have a violent crime rate higher than the US average. The inverse is the case. Therefore the thesis is wrong. Q.E.D.

You are correct that the author has not made his point since a single case studdy dose not make a real scientific experement, but your claims about western Europe do not make the opposite point for the same reason. First, all of western europe dose not ban guns. Actually, some countries require everyone to own a gun (and have very very little crime). The truth is that guns influence on crime is complex. It will depend on complex factors such as culture. This is why I support gun right in the U.S. I think our culture has enouhg tradition of gun ownershp to make gun ownership decrease crime. Now this will change eventually, but I think it worth protecting gun rigts for the time being. BTW, I don't think gun ownership would help London
Campus Crusade for Cthulhu -- it found me!
[ Parent ]

Re: Doesn't anyone understand how you look at stat (1.00 / 1) (#10)
by MrEd on Fri Jun 30, 2000 at 03:33:39 PM EST

Which Western European countries require you to own guns? What are their crime statistics?

Back your points up with a bit of proof.

Watch out for the k5 superiority complex!


[ Parent ]
Re: Doesn't anyone understand how you look at stat (none / 0) (#12)
by the Epopt on Fri Jun 30, 2000 at 03:45:05 PM EST

Switzerland, for one.
-- †
Most people who need to be shot need to be shot soon and a lot.
Very few people need to be shot later or just a little.

K5_Arguing_HOWTO
[ Parent ]
Re: Doesn't anyone understand how you look at stat (none / 0) (#15)
by Anonymous Hero on Fri Jun 30, 2000 at 04:37:07 PM EST

I heard in Switzerland everybody is required to spend some time in the military, where they are given a gun, and taught how to use it responsibly. Is this true?

[ Parent ]
Re: Doesn't anyone understand how you look at stat (none / 0) (#19)
by theFish on Fri Jun 30, 2000 at 05:08:22 PM EST

I don't know about Switzerland but that's the case in Sweden.

[ Parent ]
no, its the case in switzerland, but not in sweede (none / 0) (#50)
by sayke on Sat Jul 01, 2000 at 06:14:43 PM EST

big difference... one of the reasons they stayed so famously neutral in ww2 is because they would have been a tough nut for hitler to crack, and he had more pressing needs on the russian front. switzerland: forbidding terrain, not that much land, and every man a potential partisan...
sayke, v2.3.1 /* i am the middle finger of the invisible hand */
[ Parent ]
Re: no, its the case in switzerland, but not in sw (none / 0) (#63)
by Anonymous Hero on Sun Jul 02, 2000 at 05:03:40 PM EST

The nazis had no need to invade Switzerland, the neutrallity of the country served their purposes better: see this article about the nazigold

[ Parent ]
Switzerland (5.00 / 1) (#20)
by Anonymous Hero on Fri Jun 30, 2000 at 05:19:40 PM EST

Well, an unqualified "required to keep guns" is a bit misleading.

In Switzerland, every able-bodied male is required to take military training, at the end of which they are issued an assault rifle and a sealed pack of ammunition to keep at home.

In other words, a "well-regulated militia" as opposed to "a nation full of untrained schmoes who don't know the first thing about firearm safety, nevermind basic military tactics".

What a concept.

PS: Note that handguns require permits to purchase and carry in most parts of Switzerland. They do differentiate between defense of country and packing heat just for the hell of it...

[ Parent ]

Re: Doesn't anyone understand how you look at stat (3.00 / 1) (#28)
by Anonymous Hero on Fri Jun 30, 2000 at 06:48:43 PM EST

If the thesis that London is more violent than US cities because people don't have guns was correct

Your observation is wholly correct; but to be fair, one still has to consider another alternate thesis, that if people in Britain were allowed to carry guns, their crime rate would be lower. That is, that London is not more violent because of people not having guns, but for other reasons, yet the introduction of guns would make it less violent. (Which does not make it good policy at all-- it would be a which did not address the cause of the crimes!)

Of course, to support such a claim, one would have to look at a sample of countries which had social conditions as similar as possible to Britain, but varied in gun ownership laws.

[ Parent ]

Criminals and Guns (2.25 / 4) (#3)
by bmetzler on Fri Jun 30, 2000 at 02:08:19 PM EST

The politically unspeakable reason behind the differential, according to the Telegraph, "is [American] householders' propensity to shoot intruders. They do so without fear of being dragged before courts and jailed for life." In Britain, only law-abiding subjects are prohibited from possessing handguns. Criminals are given a free rein.

Ah, come on. In America gun control advocates have been heavily pushing to only let criminals own guns also. I think there are idiots everywhere.

-Brent
www.bmetzler.org - it's not just a personal weblog, it's so much more.
Re: Criminals and Guns (3.00 / 1) (#21)
by Anonymous Hero on Fri Jun 30, 2000 at 05:19:52 PM EST

Actually, it's more a question of stupid people having guns. Another thread in this discussion has covered the example of Switzerland. The things which Britain (and America) have problems with which Switzerland does not are the usual demons: Social exclusion, poverty and substance abuse. Social exclusion is when people never get real opportunites, go through bad schools, get bad housing in bad neighbourhoods and lose all PURPOSE to their lives. They tend to get angry.

[ Parent ]
Well.... (3.00 / 3) (#6)
by Denor on Fri Jun 30, 2000 at 02:47:53 PM EST

I can understand the outrage... I mean, if someone said I was violent, I'd punch them in the stomach!

-Denor


Re: Well.... (none / 0) (#56)
by enneff on Sun Jul 02, 2000 at 04:16:07 AM EST

"I like the cut of that man's gib... you're hired!"

[ Parent ]
statistics (2.00 / 3) (#7)
by PresJPolk on Fri Jun 30, 2000 at 02:48:23 PM EST

Has anyone else noticed that crime and poverty often go together?

Has anyone else noticed that recent immigration and poverty often go together?

Has anyone else noticed that the United States attracts a lot more immigration (especially from poor nations) than most countries?

For those who have noticed those three things, should it be any surprise that the US has a lot more murders per capita?

Re: statistics (4.00 / 1) (#26)
by FlinkDelDinky on Fri Jun 30, 2000 at 06:18:21 PM EST

Has anyone else noticed that crime and poverty often go together?

Crime was low during the depression in the U.S. I think associating poverty and crime is false. I learned a new term in reading these posts, social exclusion, which would seem to be a more natural cause.

There may very well be factors that cause poverty and crime but I do not consider povert as a cause of crime. The only exception is stealing food to fend off starvation (and a proper democracy should have some kind of welfare system for that).

I don't understand why people are believing poverty causes crime other then justifing dubious social programs.

[ Parent ]

Re: statistics (none / 0) (#34)
by PresJPolk on Sat Jul 01, 2000 at 02:24:33 AM EST

See? You came up with another one. Social issues.

During the depression, people were more likely to pull together.

These days, though, people aren't. Many poeple are so obsessed with classing and categorizing people, and painting just about every issue in society as one group versus another, so that we're left with no way of pulling together.

Immigration and poverty are two issues that are used to classify people. And those classifications lead to exclusion.

[ Parent ]
Re: statistics (none / 0) (#36)
by FlinkDelDinky on Sat Jul 01, 2000 at 04:10:17 AM EST

After I wrote my post I thought of one more thing. I'm just not sure if it's a cause of crime or just something that fuels it but I'll just put it out there and see what you think.

American commercial entertainment TV. Now here's my hypothetical expeirment. Take two identical stone age tribes. Replace all the bows & arrows of tribe A with m16's. Give tribe B A bunch of TV's that only accept American commercial entertainment broadcasting. Leave the tribes for a year. What will you find when you come back...

I think tribe A would be similar to how it was (I doubt they'd have any enemies though :-). What about tribe B?.

I think you'd see a lot of social problems. Most people will undoubtedly blame it on the violent images. Maybe there's some truth to that but as a one who's wasted far to many hours on Doom and Quake and all the rest I don't put to much stock in that. At least not as a primary factor.

I think there are two things that TV can do. The first, if you've got a lot of TV's, it can isolate a person from friends and family. Since a human being is designed as a social animal this is probably really bad. Second, I think it puts unrealistic ideas in the viewers head. Who could watch Baywatch and not want a little of that?

Now if you take the First, then the Second can create problems as the isolation from 1 will allow you to objectify your 'tribe'. All down hill from there.

Just an idea.

[ Parent ]

Re: statistics (none / 0) (#43)
by Anonymous Hero on Sat Jul 01, 2000 at 09:51:45 AM EST

Please explain why a "proper democracy" should provide a welfare system?

Isn't that almost the definition of a socialist society?


[ Parent ]
Re: statistics (none / 0) (#47)
by Anonymous Hero on Sat Jul 01, 2000 at 01:12:43 PM EST

>Please explain why a "proper democracy" should provide a welfare system?

>Isn't that almost the definition of a socialist society?


Because you get inset discrimination against your population, with lack of equality, all men are created equal right? Even the constitution says that. Without welfare, if a person cannot afford to eat, whatís he going to do? Steal, and can you blame him?

There are other issues too, such as an old fashioned view that people are poor because they want to be poor, for instance if a clever kid from a poor family cannot get into college because he's poor but just as or more clever than a rich kid, is that equality?

The notion of having a country without any welfare stems from an old Victorian view that society should be strictly segmented into classes, and the poorer classes should be oppressed so they do not have the opportunity to threaten the status of the upper classes and people in power.

If you think about it, thereís not much that really separates people from their ďbetter classesĒ apart from money. The difference is some people are given an opportunity to excel, in fairness everybody should be given the same opportunity regardless of their background, in order to provide this equality we have welfare systems.

There's also various religious and moral reasons why some countries have a comprehensive welfare state.

[ Parent ]
Re: statistics (none / 0) (#66)
by geekopus on Sun Jul 02, 2000 at 09:35:06 PM EST

"...some people are given an opportunity to excel, in fairness everybody should be given the same opportunity regardless of their background, in order to provide this equality we have welfare systems."


Careful here, you're saying that some people can only have equal footing if they're provided some sort of assistance, which implies that they are fundamentally not equal to the rest of society...

Government assistance has done more to "oppress" and demoralize the poor population than any single political force in the history of civilization, IMHO.



[ Parent ]
Re: statistics (none / 0) (#48)
by FlinkDelDinky on Sat Jul 01, 2000 at 03:35:26 PM EST

Actually, when I wrote that I had serious misgivings because I'm a libertarian (in the US that means really small government in terms of social programs, and really wide open free market capitalism).

The libertarian view is that there should be no welfare system and that people should fall back on friends, family, the church or other orginization. I pretty much agree with that.

But what if you get a disease that drains your resources? What if it's an unpopular disease (AIDS, Leprosy, I'm sure there've been others)?

I am always for a free market solution over a socialist solution. The problem is free markets require strength to participate in. Free market operation are entirely governed by natural selection. I'm just a bit sqeaumish about letting people starve because they're unpopular and two weak to participate in free markets.

I'm not a libertarian for 'deep' reasons. I'm a libertarian because free markets work better. If US politics were predominantly libertarian then it's possible that I would support some other political idea.

[ Parent ]

Re: statistics (none / 0) (#49)
by Anonymous Hero on Sat Jul 01, 2000 at 04:29:47 PM EST

I think weíre trying to compare extremes here, i.e. a socialist system v. capitalism & free markets. Itís perfectly acceptable for a country to be democratic with free market and capitalist intuitions and also have a supportive welfare state.

[ Parent ]
Specious arguments. (3.00 / 1) (#27)
by Luis Casillas on Fri Jun 30, 2000 at 06:22:38 PM EST

This is a very specious argument. Can you provide actual figures to back it up? For example:
  • Do recent immigrants to the US commit more crimes per capita than other groups? Can you back that up?
  • Are you so sure the US attracts more immigration than other countries? I don't really know the numbers, but Europe draws plenty of immigrants too...
  • Also, recent immigrants may tend to be poor, but that doesn't mean that the poor tend to be recent immigrants. In the US, for example, African Americans are one of the poorest groups, and they certainly are not recent immigrants.


[ Parent ]
Re: Specious arguments. (none / 0) (#35)
by PresJPolk on Sat Jul 01, 2000 at 02:29:08 AM EST

1) My points of discussion are no less valid, than the people who say

Have you ever noticed that US citizens retain more rights to protect themselves with firearms, than those of any other comparable nation?

Have you noticed that more US citizens are killed with firearms, than those of any comparable nation?

2) See the social exclusion discussions here. That concept goes far in explaining how immigration and poverty indirectly cause crime.

[ Parent ]
Re: Specious arguments. (none / 0) (#39)
by Luis Casillas on Sat Jul 01, 2000 at 04:47:39 AM EST

1) My points of discussion are no less valid, than the people who say:
  • Have you ever noticed that US citizens retain more rights to protect themselves with firearms, than those of any other comparable nation?
  • Have you noticed that more US citizens are killed with firearms, than those of any comparable nation?

Eh, last I know these are facts, not an argument. What I challenged was (a) a factual assumption behind your argument, (b) the conclusion you draw from the premises you give.

Has anyone else noticed that the United States attracts a lot more immigration (especially from poor nations) than most countries?

Factual assumption: "the United States attracts a lot more immigration (especially from poor nations) than most countries" There is quite a lot of immigration in many countries in Europe, and also in Canada; many of those people come from poor countries. I sincerely don't know how the numbers compare with US immigration, but certainly you do have to look at them to make your argument. If the numbers are too close, and the US doesn't have significantly more and/or poorer immigrants, then this can't explain the differences between the US and other countries, thus dealing a blow to your argument.

Has anyone else noticed that crime and poverty often go together?

Has anyone else noticed that recent immigration and poverty often go together?

If the murder rate in the US is higher because of the influx of poor immigrants who turn to crime, then one would expect that a good chunk of the differential can be attributed to crimes committed by the immigrants. But if one can go to the relevant crime data, and show that the amount of crimes committed by the immigrants can't account for the difference between the US and other countries, then your argument suffers a blow.

Also, you are glossing over an important fact: how many of the poor are not immigrants? You need to compare crime rates between the immigrant poor and the non-immigrant poor. Now, if the crime rate for the native poor is higher, then your arguments becomes even weaker.

The point is that if you want to argue like this, you need facts to back it all up. If you want to speculate about a possibility like this, you should think what kind of facts would support it, and which would falsify it.

[ Parent ]

Re: Specious arguments. (none / 0) (#40)
by PresJPolk on Sat Jul 01, 2000 at 05:36:42 AM EST

There is quite a lot of immigration in many countries in Europe, and also in Canada; many of those people come from poor countries. I sincerely don't know how the numbers compare with US immigration, but certainly you do have to look at them to make your argument. If the numbers are too close, and the US doesn't have significantly more and/or poorer immigrants, then this can't explain the differences between the US and other countries, thus dealing a blow to your argument.

I WASN't TRYING TO MAKE AN ARGUMENT!

I'm merely directing people's attention to possible alternate explanations of the differences between US crime and other nation's crime. If I were actually making an argument, I wouldn't have stated it in the form of a bunch of questions.

But, if you want facts, here are some facts:

Here is aUS Census table summarizing US Foreign born population, though the Census is notorious for being unable to fully count illegal immigrants.

I tried to get the similar Euro statistics, but I couldn't get into europa.eu.int. If you can find the equivalent Euro statistics, I'd love to see them.



[ Parent ]
Re: Specious arguments. (none / 0) (#54)
by Luis Casillas on Sun Jul 02, 2000 at 01:34:32 AM EST

I WASN't TRYING TO MAKE AN ARGUMENT!

You *did* make one, regardless of whether you tried or not.

I'm merely directing people's attention to possible alternate explanations of the differences between US crime and other nation's crime. If I were actually making an argument, I wouldn't have stated it in the form of a bunch of questions.

Well, questions can be rhetorical, so that must be the root of the misunderstanding. I do think an explanation among those lines wouldn't work, but still, I'm willing to be shown data...

Here is a US Census table summarizing US Foreign born population, though the Census is notorious for being unable to fully count illegal immigrants.

Ok, so in 1990, according to the data you found, roughly 8% of the US population was born outside the US.

I tried to get the similar Euro statistics, but I couldn't get into europa.eu.int.

I didn't manage to fully decipher that site, but it looked like it had mostly economic data. I did go to the Publications list for the UK Commission for Racial Equalite, and got the PDF report Ethnic Minorities in Britain, and according to that, 7.27% of the British population in 1991 was born outsite the UK. Now the thing, of course, is to decide whether this is a significant difference...

This link (WARNING: document over 600K, and in French), however, says (some pages down) that in 1994, for the UK, France and Germany, the "foreign" population was 3.5%, 6.3% and 8.45%, respectively. I suspect that these numbers are for foreign nationals, but the page doesn't make it clear at all...

[ Parent ]

Re: Specious arguments. (none / 0) (#69)
by Anonymous Hero on Sun Jul 02, 2000 at 11:43:05 PM EST

You assert his arguments are specious, yet you admit you are ignorant of the figures. Your adjective is specious.

[ Parent ]
NaÔve unbalanced comparisons (4.90 / 9) (#9)
by Anonymous Hero on Fri Jun 30, 2000 at 03:19:57 PM EST

only law-abiding subjects are prohibited from possessing handguns. Criminals are given a free rein.

I think you're being a little naÔve here, you have to remember handguns are illegal to everyone in the country, therefore your assertion that criminals in Britain carry guns and everyone else doesn't is just wrong, even your most hardened criminal will find it hard to get weapons.

Handguns are not produced, sold, or imported into the country, therefore it would be difficult for them to get their hands on guns even if they wanted to. On the other hand in American a criminal can just buy a bunch of guns from a show illicitly or steal them, mainly because they're so widely available. Also, if a criminal has a good chance of getting away with a crime without fear of being shot, will the criminal feel the need to protect himself with a gun?

Another major consideration that the US reports conveniently skim over are Murder rates, even though the rates for Robbery and Assault are apparently higher in the UK (even though there has been a mention of the crime figures being incompatible), the murder rates in the US are 10 times higher than the UK.

So say you get your wallet stolen in Britain, the thief will probably just run away quite content, but in the US the criminal will most likely just shoot you for it instead. Obviously this would be classed as a robbery in Britain, whilst it would likely most turn out to be a murder or attempted murder in the states, obviously superseding a simple robbery.

I'd must rather just have somebody run away with my wallet or threaten me than actually kill me!

It would also be advisable to draw from a few more sources, not just a select few sound bytes taken out of context which support your argument, you might want to check the following story, I quote :-

"the average American is seven times more likely to be murdered than their British counterpart and 60 times more likely to be shot."

Also check this graph from a recent BBC news report, the figures come from the US DOJ. It illustrates that robbery and insult are higher in Britain, however just look at the murder rate, it engulfs the British rate by miles, to say the least.

Again, this pretty much supports my argument, I'd rather have something stolen from me, than be shot. I can honestly say I can literally walk anywhere without the fear of being shot, can many people argue with that?

It's a shame your apparent patriotism is getting in the way of submitting a more balanced evaluation, however, if it helps to justify your failings by saying the rest of the world is a dangerous place, then so be it.

Re: NaÔve unbalanced comparisons (3.00 / 2) (#14)
by Rand Race on Fri Jun 30, 2000 at 04:21:36 PM EST

Reminds me of a story; A friend of mine (American) visiting London was told by his host family not to visit a particular part of town because he 'Might get a knife pulled on' him. His reply was 'How quaint! It's like a trip back in time, let's go!'.

I'm with you, I'd rather be robbed with a knife than with a gun and I've been robbed with both in my day (gotta love urban pizza delivery). My personal stance on gun controll is that handguns should be banned completely... yet I believe assault rifles should be legal. The combat rifle is what the 1st amandment is all about, handguns on the other hand (ugh) have no millitary use other than poping your own men when they flee (why officers carry handguns). The handgun is an assasin's weapon. I also believe that to own a rifle one should have to be a member of a well regulated millitia (not some bozo kooks who think they can hold off the 1st armored with a .50 cal handgun) that trains it's members in safe gun use and civic responsibility.


"Question with boldness even the existence of God; because if there be one, He must approve the homage of Reason rather than that of blindfolded Fear." - Thomas Jefferson
[ Parent ]

Re: NaÔve unbalanced comparisons (none / 0) (#18)
by theFish on Fri Jun 30, 2000 at 05:03:17 PM EST

The handgun is an assasin's weapon.

A) Tell it to JFK or Martin Luther King or if you're overseas, Anwar Sadat.
B) So cops are assassins then?

Handguns do not deserve special treatment.
This little piece of propaganda raises some interesting points.
This next part isn't directed at you personally.
Y'know, everybody breaks the law, funny how ones opinion of what laws are inappropriate align with what laws one ignores (ie, traffic laws, tax laws, copyright laws).

"Everybody does it" isn't an excuse it's a sign of a broken system.

[ Parent ]
Re: NaÔve unbalanced comparisons (2.00 / 1) (#22)
by cpt kangarooski on Fri Jun 30, 2000 at 05:24:24 PM EST

The trick is that when you restrict firearms ownership to a particular group who must meet some standard set and judged by the government in order to retain their membership it becomes trivial for an oppressive government (the only kind you generally need firearms to protect yourself from) to raise the bar and take away what you have.

It would be like letting the fox guard the henhouse.

--
All my posts including this one are in the public domain. I am a lawyer. I am not your lawyer, and this is not legal advice.
[ Parent ]
Re: NaÔve unbalanced comparisons (3.00 / 1) (#25)
by Anonymous Hero on Fri Jun 30, 2000 at 05:44:25 PM EST

Is protection from one's government really a concern in the 21st century? If people have that little faith in their democratic institutions it seems quite sad, you have to remember the government is there as a representation of the people, not some outside force working against the people (in theory).

Anyway, even if the democratic process did break down to an extent where force was necessary, do people really think their little handgun is any match for the type of weapons the government processes? This is where the old "protection from our government" argument breaks down, if people really wanted to protect themselves from the forces of government today, then everyone would have a nuclear silo in their back yard in order to match the sort of force equal to the government. How many governments permit the ownership of low yield nuclear warheads?

Basically is there actually a need for a "well regulated militia " anymore? Hasnít this role been taken over by the army and the other armed forces?


[ Parent ]
Re: NaÔve unbalanced comparisons (none / 0) (#30)
by Doug Loss on Fri Jun 30, 2000 at 07:05:47 PM EST

Talk about naive! You're correct, the government in a republic is supposed to represent the will of the people (in theory). However, the framers of the US Constitution, in their wisdom, recognized that there is a tropism toward increasing power for some people, and it is generally the ones who are drawn to increasing power that are the ones you'd least want to yield it. As Ben Franklin said, "We've given you a republic, if you can keep it." If you read the second amendment closely, you'll see that it doesn't give anyone the right to keep and bear arms. (None of the amendments in the Bill of Rights confer rights to anyone.) What it does is recognize a natural right of the people, existent before the government was ever formulated, to bear arms. It then says that that natural right is not to be abridged.

It is arguable that one of the reasons the US hasn't yet become a total police state is that the citizenry as a whole have the means to defend themselves from a repressive state. We're unfortunately seeing this being lessened in recent years to the point that the police can engage in blatantly illegal home invasions and seizures without being challenged. But I predict that if it happens enough you'll start to hear of citizens defending themselves against the police and winning the subsequent court cases.



[ Parent ]
Re: NaÔve unbalanced comparisons (none / 0) (#59)
by Anonymous Hero on Sun Jul 02, 2000 at 08:43:44 AM EST

Is protection from one's government really a concern in the 21st century?

Waco
Ruby Ridge
Philadelphia (MOVE)
Echelon

Nope, it isn't a concern. Just sit back and watch Baywatch.

[ Parent ]
Re: NaÔve unbalanced comparisons (none / 0) (#62)
by Anonymous Hero on Sun Jul 02, 2000 at 04:15:48 PM EST

And guns are gonna help you out there ? What you gonna do, walk into the NSA wielding a gun?

[ Parent ]
Re: NaÔve unbalanced comparisons (none / 0) (#83)
by cpt kangarooski on Wed Jul 05, 2000 at 01:52:17 PM EST

Protection from anyone who seeks to oppress you, be they foreign or domestic is always important. Just because this is the 20th century and the Revolutionary War was in the 18th century doesn't make this any less true. I have quite a lot of faith in democratic institutions however. But I also keep in mind that: Nothing lasts forever; Humans are fallible; And many humans are, for want of a better word, evil.

Someday - hopefully not for a long, long time, but someday, the people here will find their freedom under attack from those who want to keep them from exercising it. Don't assume that because something hasn't happened yet that it will never, ever happen. You're not dead; your logic would imply that you'll live forever.

Obviously guns are for fun, as the old saying goes. If you need to defend your liberties from the government you will want a rifle. This doesn't mean that any use of firearms has to be political, nor that handguns should be banned. It's just as legitimate to defend your life (for instance) with a handgun as it is with a baseball bat or a hunting rifle. The 2nd amendment prohibits the government from restricting the ownership of any armament. The militias in the colonies bought, borrowed and stole cannons and other artillery pieces even prior to the outbreak of the war. They couldn't have fought off the British with hunting rifles alone.

But nuclear weapons aren't as useful as you think. Most conquerers aren't likely to kill off absolutely everyone in a captured land. It's much more common (especially when it's a government that wrongfully claims legitimacy in your own country) for conquerers to simply take over. Who would want to nuke Kansas as part of a strategy of taking over the US? Where would they get their food from? The lack of mass exterminations (even the Germans didn't kill _everyone_, though that was part of the long term plan after their expected victory) makes guerilla action possible. The US has had bad experiences with guerillas in Viet Nam. The USSR in Afghanistan.

The loyalties of the US military would also be more towards the people than with the leaders; their oaths are to the Constitution, not to any politican per se. At worst there would probably be professional military units on all sides in a Civil War, just as happened last time. (when most of the smart generals fought for the South)

Lastly, you make a real mistake wrt militias. A militia may have to fight against the Army; this alone precludes the Army from taking their role. But it's important for people to be able to defend their liberties THEMSELVES rather than getting other people to do it. What if the other people refused?

--
All my posts including this one are in the public domain. I am a lawyer. I am not your lawyer, and this is not legal advice.
[ Parent ]
Re: NaÔve unbalanced comparisons (none / 0) (#24)
by Anonymous Hero on Fri Jun 30, 2000 at 05:37:46 PM EST

I can honestly say I can literally walk anywhere without the fear of being shot

'cause you've not been to Glasgow yet...

[ Parent ]

Re: US Murder Rates and the War on Drugs (5.00 / 1) (#33)
by Anonymous Hero on Sat Jul 01, 2000 at 01:31:54 AM EST

Sam Smith at the Progressive Review makes an interesting point about the "high" United States murder rate: A large percentage is attributable to the drug trade:

Between 1985 and 1988... murders in Washington, DC soared from 145 a year to 369... [but] it was virtually impossible to be killed... if you were a young white girl living in upscale Georgetown on an early Thursday morning in July. If, on the other hand, you were a young black 20-year-old male living in low-income Anacostia, dealing drugs on a Saturday night in June, your chances of being killed were far greater... And if you were not buying or selling drugs at all, your chances of being killed in DC were about the same as in Copenhagen.
Smith, by the way, is *NOT* a "conservative"; he's an old-line progressive with a strong libertarian streak. You'll find the compete article here: http://prorev.com/guns.htm... It challenges a lot of the conventional wisdom about gun violence in the US. (Don't miss his analysis of gun deaths of people under 20.)



[ Parent ]
Re: US Murder Rates and the War on Drugs (none / 0) (#41)
by Anonymous Hero on Sat Jul 01, 2000 at 07:39:47 AM EST

How is this relevant, everyone is bleating on when comparing the British figures to the DOJ figures and how accurate they must be, however when people start comparing the murder rates or gun related crime from the SAME statistics everybody seems to shut up about it, and simply dismiss the statistics, it soon changes when the tables are turned.

In fact, the CBS report is a total joke, Iíve seen some shoddy unbalanced journalism, but please. They seem to totally omit the fact you're 60 times more likely to get shot and 7 times more likely to get killed in the US, according to the same sources they were using for robbery and assault rates. I mean, even American people can see that's a glaringly convenient omission from the "report" ?

Remember, for an opinion you need information, but for a balanced opinion you need ALL the information.


[ Parent ]
Sorry, providing analysis without conclusion... (none / 0) (#52)
by Anonymous Hero on Sat Jul 01, 2000 at 08:19:32 PM EST

... comes from posting too late in the day.

IMO, the "hook" in the CBS report was the idea that crime (of some sort) is more likely to impinge on law-abiding individuals in the UK than in the US. (I make no apologies for their sensationalism.) Property crimes (like burglary) are generally unrelated to the law-abidingness of the property's owner. So if you're law-abiding, and if burglary is more likely in the UK, you're still more likely to get burglarized.

Where the discussion veered off was when the relative murder rates were brought up. Here's where Smith's analysis is valuable: He makes an attempt to filter out those already engaged in illegal activities from the rest of the population. His conclusion is: If you're not dealing drugs, you're no more likely to get murdered in DC than in Copenhagen. I feel that this is a point that needs making, because it means that, for the average citizen, you can't say "you're 60 times more likely to get shot and 7 times more likely to get killed," because so much of the shooting and killing involves other illegal behavior (drugs), that "average citizens" don't engage in.

So lets try to tie these ideas together: (grossly simplifying) CBS is saying that if Joe Average visits London, he is more likely to be victim of a crime (of some sort) than if he visits Washington DC. This despite the perception that London is "safer" than Washington. But posters to this thread are asking: Is he more likely to be shot/killed in London? I don't think so. But Smith's analysis reminds us that if Joe Average isn't a member of a gang dealing drugs, he's not very likely to be shot/killed in DC, either. Which is contrary to the conventional wisdom.

The question remains: Assuming that you're going to be victim of a crime, is it more or less likely to be violent in the US? I'd just as soon not play, thanks... but if I have to choose, I'd rather have somebody steal my stuff than shoot me!



[ Parent ]
Re: Sorry, providing analysis without conclusion.. (none / 0) (#57)
by Anonymous Hero on Sun Jul 02, 2000 at 06:43:30 AM EST

You have a valid argument, but you have to remember that this case also applies to the UK as well, i.e. the murders that take place are most likely crime related, and the few shooting they have are drug related.

Say I have a house in Kensington or Harrogate, then my chances of getting killed are probably way below even the safest city in the US. And even if I was involved in illegal activity, then my chances of getting killed or shot are also considerably less than their US counterpart. So overall, the figures are well below their US counterparts, so if Iím a law-abiding citizen living in a nice area, then my changes of getting shot are even lower.

I do agree that Georgetown is probably just as safe as Kensington, however I still believe the probability (be it very low) of getting killed would be higher because of a higher infiltration of guns, and higher overall murder rate.

However, it seems I would be the victim of more petty crime in London, i.e. my bag could get snatched, or a drunken mob might confront me, or my house in Kensington might get burgled. However, if you take a look at the rape and violent crime rates for London, theyíre actually quite low.

I do believe CBS had a story here, but they totally went about the wrong way of reporting it, itís certainly not balanced journalism. For instance if they put the violent crime, rape and murder rates onto their little info graphic, then London would of looked quite sublime, I guess their ďLondon is a big bad battlegroundĒ message would of totally of broken down when people saw the US murder rate engulf the UK one by a factor or 10.

I also found it alarming that they didnít really interview anyone important (they didn't really interview anyone, did they?), Iím sure somebody from the Home Office would have been glad to interviewed. Doesnít it seem their argument was more based on conjecture and selective statistics than the full facts in context? It almost seems they didnít want to interview anyone important because CBS knew their shallow argument would fall apart very quickly.


[ Parent ]
Re: Sorry, providing analysis without conclusion.. (none / 0) (#82)
by Anonymous Hero on Tue Jul 04, 2000 at 02:01:02 AM EST

Agreed. Never said that today's CBS was a model for balanced journalism or lack of sensationalism. American network television has a goal of getting as many bodies in front of the screen as possible. Frequently this is accomplished by hanging some "Shock! Horror!" headline on a report that doesn't support it... but by the time the audience has noticed the discrepancy, they've already tuned in and the ratings are counted. In this case, by the time all the shouting was over, the useful message about being alert for the possibliity of "petty crime" was buried in the sensationalism. And CBS is responsible.

Thanks for an interesting discussion!



[ Parent ]
Cops (1.50 / 4) (#13)
by feline on Fri Jun 30, 2000 at 04:20:26 PM EST

I think a reason that the crime rate is so high is that the regular police officers don't carry firearms, but are limited to 'batons.'

Think about it, you're a thirty year old woman (I'm not playing gender games here, I'm just making an example) and someone grabs her purse and runs off with it. What is she to do but run over to the nearest police officer and ramble on about someone taking her mastercard. The thief is probably long gone by now, but suddenly, he spots a guy jetting in and out of the crowd. He reaches for his baton, and starts thrashing it about in the air while yelling out 'Stop thief stop!'
------------------------------------------

'Hello sir, you don't look like someone who satisfies his wife.'

Re: Cops (3.00 / 1) (#16)
by yelvington on Fri Jun 30, 2000 at 04:54:25 PM EST

So, are you suggesting that in the Good Old USA, the corner cop would (a) be there, and (b) whip out his .38 and shoot the purse-snatcher in the back? Highly unlikely on both counts.

European cities and US cities are profoundly different places. Culture is a very complicated thing. Looking for simple answers such as "Cops do/don't carry guns" is a waste of time.

On balance, I would much rather wander alone in the dark on a randomly chosen London street than, say, a New York or Seattle or St. Louis or Atlanta or Philadelphia street; I might get robbed but I would be much less likely to be shot.

On the other hand, pickpocketing seems to be an Olympic sport in some UK and European cities. I don't bother with money belts in the US but I do on the other side of the Atlantic.

I'll be in London all next week; if I come home battered and emptyhanded I may change my opinions. :-)


[ Parent ]
Re: Cops (none / 0) (#29)
by Nater on Fri Jun 30, 2000 at 06:58:14 PM EST

I live in Chicago, about three miles from downtown. I have walked late at night through various parts of the city, including some of the more notorious ones, and the only evidence of criminal activity I have ever seen here are drug dealers "doing business" and the police cleaning something up. I have personally been approached by police here three times. The first time I was at a local park with a friend after the park close and the police told us to go home. The second time I was out late and an undercover cop asked me (pretending to be a concerned neighbor or something) what I was doing out, where I was from, and whether I was lost. The third time I was at the park again with a friend and the police asked us for ID because there is a curfew for minors 16 and under. I have lived in the city for three years and this is the only crime/police action I have ever seen here. And it's not some small town, this is Chicago.

i heard someone suggest that we should help the US, just like they helped us in WWII. By waiting three years, then going over there, flashing our money around, shagging all the women and acting like we owned the place. --Seen in #tron


[ Parent ]
Re: Cops (none / 0) (#17)
by Anonymous Hero on Fri Jun 30, 2000 at 04:55:20 PM EST

"...he spots a guy jetting in and out of the crowd"

yeah ... it would be a much better solution if he fired into the crowd instead.

I think you're missing the point, it seems London has a higher percentage in petty crime like thieving, the cases of violent crime like murder are considerably less, also the instances of gun related crime are minuet compared to their US counterparts.

[ Parent ]
(4.80 / 4) (#23)
by Anonymous Hero on Fri Jun 30, 2000 at 05:32:15 PM EST

The reality is the streets and shopping malls of Britain are a battleground.
What can I say? This is simply false. I have lived in London for 30 years (and now 3 years in California) - many of those years in some of the rougher parts of town (Harlesden, Tottenham) - and I have not once been the victim of any kind of assault. I have personally witnessed not much more than one minor mugging, one pickpocketing, a couple of brawls outside pubs and several acts of vandalism. That's in a lifetime in an overcrowded city. It's nonsense. The worst thing that ever happened to me was being thrown against a wall and frisked by the police for trying to break into my own home! Of course I'm not saying London is a crime free zone - just that it's patently *not* a battlefield!

ESR vindicated (1.75 / 4) (#31)
by warpeightbot on Fri Jun 30, 2000 at 11:35:23 PM EST

The politically unspeakable reason behind the differential, according to the Telegraph, "is [American] householders' propensity to shoot intruders. They do so without fear of being dragged before courts and jailed for life."
Damn straight. Politically unspeakable (except for the likes of Jesse Ventura and Ron Paul and Harry Browne), but dead on target. (ahem) There is no more effective deterrent to violent crime than staring into a pair of pretty baby blue eyes across the Meprolite sights of her Ladysmith, which you just know is stoked with Georgia Arms 124-grain Gold Dot loads....

And here's the really politically unspeakable part. Nine or more times out of the statisical ten, the biggest mess that will happen will be in the two-bit predator's pants. The hammer will never fall, the blood will never spill, the cameras will have to search elsewhere for their news. She'll go home and have a good cry, and then somewhere down the road make passionate love to her man for getting her over being scared of things that go boom in the night. And that will be ALL that will ever happen. Nine or more times out of ten. And that stinking rat bastard that threatened her? Will for damn sure think twice about ever doing it again. Might even get a legitimate job.

So, I'm going to the range tomorrow, and practice with my sweetie. Wanna go?

--
Warp eight bot
An armed society is a polite society -- Heinlein

Re: ESR vindicated (none / 0) (#38)
by Paul Dunne on Sat Jul 01, 2000 at 04:46:47 AM EST

Do you get all your beliefs from sci-fi paperbacks?
http://dunne.home.dhs.org/
[ Parent ]
Re: ESR vindicated (none / 0) (#44)
by Anonymous Hero on Sat Jul 01, 2000 at 10:04:52 AM EST

> There is no more effective deterrent to violent crime than staring into a pair of
> pretty baby blue eyes across the Meprolite sights of her Ladysmith,
> which you just know is stoked with Georgia Arms 124-grain Gold Dot loads....

Why is it always the case in these fairy tales that the robber is unarmed? Is it that they're just polite?

The irritating truth about weapons is that whoever wields one first wins. When Joe Thug points a pistol or even a knife at you and requests your money, that Smith & Wesson you've been lugging around all these years is useless. Try to pull it out and you die.

[ Parent ]

Re: ESR vindicated (none / 0) (#53)
by moebius_4d on Sun Jul 02, 2000 at 01:23:18 AM EST

That's not true. There is ample evidence that when someone has you at gunpoint, you have plenty of time to draw and shoot them before they can fire. The reason is that they are not thinking about firing, they are holding the gun on you to force you to obey. You, OTOH, are able to plan to fire, draw and shoot in one motion. No decision has to be made, no environmental change needs to be interpreted. I agree that if someone decides to shoot you, walks up, draws and shoots, then your gun is useless. But there are thousands of documented instances of people drawing on and shooting people who are holding a gun on them.

[ Parent ]
Re: ESR vindicated (none / 0) (#68)
by AbMan on Sun Jul 02, 2000 at 11:36:37 PM EST

Hmmm. I've seen anecdotal evidence where a perp armed with a knife has managed to stab a cop to death before he could draw his sidearm. And this was ostensibly someone who has actually trained for combat shooting,rather than people like ESR and the earlier poster who feel that firing a bunch of rounds at a range once a week will somehow prepare them for a firefight in their bedrooms.

I'm not down on guns, but if you believe that if someone has a weapon on you and your weapon is holstered that that gives you some sort of advantage, I'd just make sure your life insurance is paid up to the max. Your surviving dependents are going to need it.

I'd advise everyone who likes to put forth opinions on guns to read "Strong on Defense" by Sandford Strong. This is written by someone who can actually speak from experience rather than an overactive imagination.

[ Parent ]
Re: ESR vindicated (none / 0) (#84)
by javboy on Fri Jul 21, 2000 at 12:54:12 PM EST

As the previous poster was saying though, the person that stabbed the cop was probably planning that action all along. I would be VERY surprised to here that the cop reached for his/her gun and was then stabbed to death before they could get it. You other point is well taken though, a few rounds at the range will not make you a home defense expert, especially with a handgun. Now a shotgun on the other hand can get the job done with little training, as long as the right gun/load is used.

[ Parent ]
The UK Telegraph (5.00 / 1) (#32)
by Anonymous Hero on Sat Jul 01, 2000 at 12:29:19 AM EST

Ah, yes. Such a a well balenced and informed source of information - NOT.

Do they still run those sunday special issues with the topless page three bikini babe and the latest 'Satanist Outrage in Local Cemetery!' rants?

I'm sorry if it seems like I'm being extremely caustic on this point, but using the UK Telegraph as a primary source of data for an article is only slightly less ridiculous than quoting "New of the World" as a primary source in a scientific debate.

The UK Telegraph is well known as a "gutter rag". About the only practical value that it has is as a liner for the bottom of the bird cage.

In short, the article is simply the usual "lets get everyone jumping up and down and screaming about how wrong we are - the publicity will help to boost sales as Joe and Joeanne clueless buy copies to check out our next deliberatly offensive piece of BS".

You might be strangling my chicken, but you don't want to know what I'm going to your hampster.



Re: The UK Telegraph (none / 0) (#37)
by Paul Dunne on Sat Jul 01, 2000 at 04:45:38 AM EST

You've got the wrong paper. What the piece refers to as "The UK Telegraph" is actually "The Daily Telegraph", aka on the Net as "The Electronic Telegraph". It's what's known in England as a "quality broadsheet". You may not agree with everything (or anything) they write, but it isn't a gutter rag. Believe me, the English press has plenty of those too. Actually, now that The Times is no longer "the newspaper of record", the Telegraph probably comes closest still to articulating what "the establishment", for want of a better word, are thinking.
http://dunne.home.dhs.org/
[ Parent ]
Re: The UK Telegraph (none / 0) (#55)
by Anonymous Hero on Sun Jul 02, 2000 at 03:09:46 AM EST

The telegraph is a right-wing rant mag, admittedly not in the league of scandal mags like the Sun, but it's only a thin veneer of respectability away from it. The Guardian is the only paper of any repute IMHO but even that I don't bother to read any more.

At the end of the day, people have to remember that *all* the newspapers have to sell copy at any cost, and that cost is balance.

[ Parent ]
Re: The UK Telegraph (none / 0) (#58)
by Anonymous Hero on Sun Jul 02, 2000 at 06:47:53 AM EST

Aren't The Guardian and The Independent very liberal rags? I dismiss The Times now, since it's joined the league of Richard Murdock trash along with The Sun and The Mirror.

[ Parent ]
Re: The UK Telegraph (none / 0) (#77)
by Simon Kinahan on Mon Jul 03, 2000 at 01:44:47 PM EST

The Indpendent is much like the Times was pre-Murdoch, but perhaps not as reputable.

The Gaurdian is, I suppose, "very liberal" in the sense that its traditionally the Labour party's pet broadsheet (as the Telegraph is the Tory party's). I find the Gaurdian's editorial bias spills over into its reporting less than the Torygraph's does, though.

Simon

If you disagree, post, don't moderate
[ Parent ]
Re: The UK Telegraph (none / 0) (#71)
by Anonymous Hero on Mon Jul 03, 2000 at 04:15:48 AM EST

Ok, so I goofed. "I am confused, therefore I exist". (*Grin*).

You might be strangling my chicken, but you don't want to know what I'm doing to your hampster.



[ Parent ]

Re: The UK Telegraph (none / 0) (#51)
by Anonymous Hero on Sat Jul 01, 2000 at 06:37:03 PM EST

The Telegraph is indeed a crap paper, and it's not surprising that it's attempted to use this story to push its political agenda, particularly while the Tories are out of office. But I don't think it's the one you're thinking of - it sounds more like the Sun (and AFAIK they still do have page 3 girls). If anything the Telegraph is more dangerous than the Sun because it's so obvious that the Sun is talking bollocks, but the Telegraph masquerades as a serious paper.



[ Parent ]
Election time (none / 0) (#74)
by Anonymous Hero on Mon Jul 03, 2000 at 08:53:07 AM EST

Given that the UK will be undergoing an election in the next 18 months or so a particular section of the press is doing everything it can to discredit the current (admittedly poor) Labour government.

The Telegraph (alternately known as the Torygraph) is the most right-wing of the British broadsheets. It has Murdoch stablemates in the Sun (which does publish topless photographs) and the London Times. Both are rags, the only difference between the two is that the Times contains two-syllable words.

The most vitriolic attacks are currently from the Daily Mail, believed to be Margaret Thatchers favourite newspaper.

[ Parent ]
Election time (none / 0) (#75)
by Anonymous Hero on Mon Jul 03, 2000 at 08:53:15 AM EST

Given that the UK will be undergoing an election in the next 18 months or so a particular section of the press is doing everything it can to discredit the current (admittedly poor) Labour government.

The Telegraph (alternately known as the Torygraph) is the most right-wing of the British broadsheets. It has Murdoch stablemates in the Sun (which does publish topless photographs) and the London Times. Both are rags, the only difference between the two is that the Times contains two-syllable words.

The most vitriolic attacks are currently from the Daily Mail, believed to be Margaret Thatchers favourite newspaper.

[ Parent ]
Re: Election time (none / 0) (#79)
by Anonymous Hero on Mon Jul 03, 2000 at 03:05:59 PM EST

I don't think the The Telegraph is Murdoch trash, The Times & The Sun are though.

[ Parent ]
Re: Election time (none / 0) (#81)
by Anonymous Hero on Mon Jul 03, 2000 at 05:12:02 PM EST

No, the Telegraph is Conrad Black trash...

[ Parent ]
Irresponsible, flawed reporting... (5.00 / 3) (#42)
by Uri on Sat Jul 01, 2000 at 07:51:36 AM EST

The reason the CBS report was attacked by the British media was not because it told them that Brits were more likely to be burgled than USians - they already knew that - but because it attempted to extend the comparison to violent crime by both abusing the variations in the way offences are defined in different countries, and by ignoring major crimes such as murder and rape, though implying that the analogy continues to hold there.

The murder rate in the US is 5.7 time higher than in England and Wales. The rape rate is 3 times higher (the Telegraph is wrong - check the figures, or the BBC). Furthermoe, the rate of murder by firearms is around 100 times higher in the US than in England and Wales. And with nearly all of the 20 or so firearm murders last year (from a population of 60,000,000) being drug-related, i.e. criminals killing criminals, this is hardly criminals being given a free reign to terrorise law-abiding citizens.

London has one of the lowest capital murder rates in Europe - 2.9 per 100,000 compared to 8.6 per 100,000 in New York and 49.15 per 100,000 in DC. The huge number of `assaults' tend to be mostly verbal abuse by drunken louts (a part of the drink culture which I freely admit is a major problem). There are no ghettos, no no-go areas, though like any major cities certain areas are best tackled in groups rather than alone.

Even the vast majority of burgleries are due to the incompetence of the average British homeowner in securing his/her property. They are committed mostly by unarmed teenagers, who know that if they even carry a knife they will likely get a much tougher sentence when caught. Hence the recent case of the landowner who was convicted of murder for shooting a 13 year old unarmed burgler in the back after the burgler had already pleaded for his life and turned to escape - this was not reasonable force but a vigilante desire for revenge. On the other hand, a man who hospitalised a burgler with a baseball bat in order to protect both himself and his property was not even prosecuted as he was acting fully within his rights.

But I'm not going to get into an argument about gun control here. All I wanted to say is that the CBS report was one of the most statistically manipulative and irresponsible bits of journalism I had seen in a long time. And why? Just to get a story. Go capitalism.

PS The printed media here is even worse.


Re: Irresponsible, flawed reporting... (1.00 / 1) (#64)
by Anonymous Hero on Sun Jul 02, 2000 at 08:14:47 PM EST

On the other hand, a man who hospitalised a burgler with a baseball bat in order to protect both himself and his property was not even prosecuted as he was acting fully within his rights.

Hmmm, baseball bat? In England? Don't see too many of them over there. That would be sort of like breaking into a house in New York and having the own beat the p!ss out of you with a cricket bat, eh? :-)



[ Parent ]
Re: Irresponsible, flawed reporting... (1.00 / 1) (#70)
by Anonymous Hero on Mon Jul 03, 2000 at 02:36:16 AM EST

Yeah, it does seems a little ironic, I believe it's a well accepted fact that baseball bats are sold in Britain as weapons, I mean, what other use could it be for? Playing rounders, would all the hard skinheads play that game ? I believe the baseball bat lets them get in touch with their primevil roots, i.e. being very similar to their primevil club.

I think a cricket bat would be more effective actually, just look at those nice square corners, *ouch*. If one of those things can take a ball at 100mph without hassles, think what it could do to people.

I hope this cricket bat craze doesn't escalate into something more serious, if the criminals believe a cricket bat holds as much kudos as baseball bats, a bad situation will develop. I believe at least 25% of the country has access to a cricket bat, also the right to bare cricket bats has been enshrined in the legislature for hundreds of years, along with that age-old classic, the requirement to practice archery on the village green on Sundays.

I really think this could be a serious long term problem, people may become disenchanted with England's performance on the cricket field, and consider the cricket bat to be the gentleman's way of beating people up. It may surpass the baseball bat as weapon of choice, only a good thing for sales, on the otherhand.


[ Parent ]
More brit bashing from Koro5hin (4.00 / 2) (#45)
by Anonymous Hero on Sat Jul 01, 2000 at 11:59:50 AM EST

This site seems to be a bit of a brit-basher, was the sysadmin chucked out of one of our universities? ;-)

Re: More brit bashing from Koro5hin (5.00 / 1) (#46)
by Anonymous Hero on Sat Jul 01, 2000 at 12:44:41 PM EST

I think "the Epopt" has spun this to backup his views on gun control, or something remotely related like that. Maybe he's trying to justify the shortcomings of his own country by pointing fingers, or this is an indication of his deep-seated hate of Britain? I'm not sure what his motives are, but they seem highly questionable. I hope his reasons are just a misunderstanding of the whole story, rather than a xenophobic mindset.

A more balanced post should have been submitted, this is totally bias without a doubt, if you actually look at the (limited) sources he quotes from and read the story in context it makes more sense, for instance look at the next paragraph from his Telegraph quote :-

"Statistics can mask reality. Robberies in America are much more likely to be at gunpoint, which is one reason why the murder rate is much higher."

The US murder rate is something like 10x of the British rate, and you're 60 more times likely to get shot in the US, also rape statistics are 3x higher.

It seems you're more likely to be the victim of petty thievery or yobbish behaviour in London, but your chances of being murdered, shot or rapped are way below their American counterparts.

Maybe his patriotism is preventing him from actually interpreting this story in context and balanced manor? i.e. he's believing what he wants to believe, whether itís true or not.

[ Parent ]
haha (none / 0) (#60)
by vipw on Sun Jul 02, 2000 at 12:28:33 PM EST

CBS pissed of the brits? looks like K5 did a better job to me :)

City of Cameras (none / 0) (#61)
by kris on Sun Jul 02, 2000 at 01:51:57 PM EST

London is the capital of camera surveillance. There are literally tens of
thousands of surveillance cameras mounted all over the place and you
cannot go _anywhere_ in London without showing up on such a device.
Also, these camera systems are networked and their output is
semiautomatically analyzed. Supporters of such CCTV (closed circuit
tv) systems claim that they help fighting just that kind of crime which
is being reported in this article.


Re: City of Cameras (none / 0) (#72)
by Anonymous Hero on Mon Jul 03, 2000 at 07:03:44 AM EST

The problem we have in Britain is that despite the cameras and the police etc. the courts powers to act on criminals are limited because our trendy politicians have for years engaged in a game of one-upmanship based around being more naive than one's peers. All burglars and theives have to fear is a good telling off from Dickson of Dock Green...

[ Parent ]
Re: City of Cameras (none / 0) (#76)
by Anonymous Hero on Mon Jul 03, 2000 at 12:40:04 PM EST

The *City* of London (AKA "The Square Mile" is certainly that bad, the square mile where much of the financial work is done. You are photographed entering and leaving it and your numberplate is read by automated cameras and logged as you go in and out. The rest of London is not so bad, but I think that the march of the cameras is going to continue.

Consider the new type of speed cameras now doing the rounds, they work in pairs --- one records when you pass it, and when you pass the second, possibly in several miles, your average speed is calculated and a fine sent out if you were speeding. Considering that the cameras can isolate and read a numberplate, the storage requirements for storing millions of photographs of numberplates is far smaller than the requirements for storing an image of your car passing the camera. Couple that with the easy indexing abilities presented by having a textual representation of that image and you have a potent vehicle tracking system with photographic proof that the system didn't misread your plate.

However all countries are trying to go in similar directions, with each country having bad points and good points, America for example is fighting desperately against the other UN countries to prevent them from trying to enshrine the right for people to have privacy on the internet, America wants no privacy, the other UN countries want much stricter control over what companies can do.

At the end of the day, they can only go as far as we let them, unfortunately the majority of people don't seem to care much.

[ Parent ]
Re: City of Cameras (none / 0) (#80)
by Anonymous Hero on Mon Jul 03, 2000 at 03:09:43 PM EST

The square mile is highly surveyed because they don't want a repeat of the Docklands bombing, if you destroy the epicentre of a nations economy, obviously it has negative consequences.

[ Parent ]
(none / 0) (#65)
by Zer0 on Sun Jul 02, 2000 at 09:11:08 PM EST

The politically unspeakable reason behind the differential, according to the Telegraph, "is [American] householders' propensity to shoot intruders. They do so without fear of being dragged before courts and jailed for life." In Britain, only law-abiding subjects are prohibited from possessing handguns. Criminals are given a free rein.

Same situation here in Australia (with the guns), but somehow i dont think we have as much crime as america.



South Africa. (none / 0) (#67)
by Rich on Sun Jul 02, 2000 at 09:42:26 PM EST

O.K first of all, all of you can thank you lucky stars you dont live in South Africa. Secondly: This is a gun crazy country. I could get an AK-47 in about 3 hours for about $50 and if i was willing to drive to the border i could probably get one for about $10 dollars. Almost everyone in south africa owns a gun. I could tell you 100's of stories of people who have been muged, killed and raped at gun point. I could also tell you 100's of stories about how guns have saved peoples lives. I think that anyone who says that guns reduce crime is and Idiot. Thets look at the two extremes. Everyone from the age of 18 owns a gun in a country. Thets say this person gets in a fight with someone at a club or something all they do is go to there car get there gun and start shooting. But in a country with no guns the worst they could do is get a knife and even then they would probably feel quite stupid triying to take take on 5 Huge bouncers with a knife. Now Thets say there is the argument that if you confront a robber with gun then it will scare him away. A robber decides to break into your house. (he would quite possible be very nervous and the second he saw anyone with a gun he would likely shoot them) so you have a 50% chance of comming out alive. Now thets say you lived in a gun free country (note i think cops should be allowed to carry guns) the rober breaks in and hears you calling the cops he realises that the police will be there soon so he decides to leave and even if he gets caught he will only be charged will breaking and entering as aposed to murder or atempted murder (As a robber in a gun crazy society would be). Sorry if this dosnt make much sense i am just on my way to bed and decided to write this quick i will ad something tomorow morning.
I Expect history will be kind to me as i intend to write is. Winston Churchill
Re: South Africa. (none / 0) (#78)
by Anonymous Hero on Mon Jul 03, 2000 at 02:37:34 PM EST

<blockquote type=cite> Now thets say you lived in a gun free country (note i think cops should be allowed to carry guns) the rober breaks in and hears you calling the cops he realises that the police will be there soon so he decides to leave [. . . .]

Truly a powerful deterrent. The burglar knows he'd better finish taking your stuff and get out of there within the next half hour.

[ Parent ]

Why Britain is more violent (2.00 / 1) (#73)
by Anonymous Hero on Mon Jul 03, 2000 at 07:11:48 AM EST

The problem we have in Britain is that a small number of criminals are extremely active. The courts do not able to incarcerate them because they are either too young or the magistrates are too naive and want to try and reform them by giving them community work. If our police cant carry guns, fine! let them carry FLAMETHROWERS

Violent Britain | 84 comments (80 topical, 4 editorial, 0 hidden)
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