Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The right to bear arms...

Every American's 'right to bear arms' is being debated around the world in the wake of the worst ever killing spree by a young madman who was able to pick up a lethal firearm with the weekly groceries. No questions asked.

Such guns of course are designed for the sole purpose of killing people.

Yet only hours after the latest mass-murders, the all-powerful American gun lobby was fully fired up telling the world that the best way to stop such atrocities is to make sure answer everyone carries a firearm in self-defence...

The madness is that millions in America believe the influential lobbyists in the National Rifle Association who are not even regarded as extreme by middle-America.

I understand that President Bush's words of sympathy for the latest victims were even prefaced with a statement that affirmed American's "constitutional right to bear arms".

Which is of course no less than might be expected from a President who is reported to be a member of the National Rifle Association which has four million members and has its headquarters in Virginia.

Thousands of members of the NRA have just held a national convention which they hailed as "a show of force by gun owners" and "a celebration of freedom".

Even as America woke to the senseless blood-bath that was Virginia Tech, the NRA were warning gun-owners to "stand firm" against calls for a gun-ban.

And the sad thing is that the NRA will win the day, as they have for more than a century.

A few years ago, I was driving through Virginia on a family holiday - we took the spectacular Shanandoah Drive: mile after mile of picture postcard Blue Ridge Mountains and rainbow autumn leaves.

It was the day after a similar mass murder and we were flicking through the local radio stations. A local DJ asked listeners to phone-in with their reactions to the shootings. One voice quite reasonably (in my view) suggested that guns should be banned and the DJ cut her dead, angrily asserting that the station was only interested in hearing from sensible people...!

Over the past 24 hours, I was almost amused to hear one pundit inform me that Virginia has recently introduced "tough new gun laws".

Apparently, you can now only buy one gun a month from the supermarket.

Progress eh?

16 comments:

Michael Oakeshott said...

I am very sorry for the people affected by this outrage.

What the whole anti-gun lobby fail to observe is that their persecution of an overwhelmingly peaceful and law abiding group of citizens simply unites them. Whether they like it or not, the history of America is such that the right to possess a gun is linked to freedom. The example of Britain will surely drive them on. It is almost impossible to get a gun, unless you wish to do it illegally, in which case it is very easy. And the middle classes are neglected or persecuted by the state. Their houses are robbed, yet the police are only interested in picking them off for more tax with speed guns. No wonder most American gun owners want to keep their guns. I wish them good luck. They are the best of our people.

Brynley said...

"They are the best of our people".

Could this be the self-hating Michael?

If not, then it's still great nostalgia.

Do you remember when America was run by people of Anglo-Saxon heritage?

Michael, I think you are dreaming about an America that no longer exists.

I prefer the U.S. we have today, with all its faults.

Michael Oakeshott said...

You missed it Brynley. It is the reference to the foundation of this great country. It is hardly self-hate to say that the establishment in Britain is geared towards harassing decent people.

fairdealphil said...

michael:

>>"It is almost impossible to get a gun, unless you wish to do it illegally, in which case it is very easy."

Why would anyone want a gun (particularly in Britain) if not for illegal activity?

>>"No wonder most American gun owners want to keep their guns."

Are you really suggesting that the best way to deal with burglary is to arm every householder??

>>"And the middle classes are neglected or persecuted by the state. Their houses are robbed, yet the police are only interested in picking them off for more tax with speed guns."

Class wars again eh Michael?

Maybe we should send the criminal classes to Australia. That'll teach em eh...

The truth is that the current Government has increased police presence on the street (after previous cuts).

Burglaries (whether of the middle classes or not) are significantly down over the past ten years.

We don't need guns in this country to tackle burglary!

Of course, there are still illegal weapons around, but since guns have been banned - again by our present Government - thankfully there hasn't been another Dunblane or Hungerford.

Of course, it could happen with an illegal weapon, but as you say, it's harder to get a gun these days, which makes another Dunblane/Hungerford/Virginia Tech less likely here.

Anyone caught with a gun in this country now faces an automatic five years prison sentence.

>>"yet the police are only interested in picking them off for more tax with speed guns."

Roads policing has to have the consent of the majority of the motoring public - which is why the current Government brought in measures to have speed cameras painted yellow and not hidden behind hedges etc.

If the choice is which kind of gun our society is obsessed with, my vote's with the speed gun.

Guns you can buy in US supermarkets are designed to take lives.

Speed guns are designed to save lives.

I prefer to live with the latter.

Michael Oakeshott said...

"Why would anyone want a gun (particularly in Britain) if not for illegal activity?"

1. Hunting
2. Leisure or sport
3. Self defence

Probably more, if I devoted serious thought to such a ridiculous question.

"Are you really suggesting that the best way to deal with burglary is to arm every householder?"

Yes.

"Maybe we should send the criminal classes to Australia. That'll teach em eh...".

Doubt it. I have been there. The John Howard Government has made Australia a far better place to live than Britain. It might be the best way to prompt a crime wave.

"The truth is that the current Government has increased police presence on the street (after previous cuts).

Burglaries (whether of the middle classes or not) are significantly down over the past ten years."

No one believes your made up figures. The Government have been shown to be a bunch of criminals and liars.

"We don't need guns in this country to tackle burglary!"

I suspect the victims of this crime would disagree.

"Of course, there are still illegal weapons around, but since guns have been banned - again by our present Government - thankfully there hasn't been another Dunblane or Hungerford."

Coincidence. There were hardly such incidents every year when handguns were legal. They are, by their nature, rare events. I have no doubt that the ban on various weapons makes such an event no less likely. Indeed due to the rapid increase in illegal guns, gun crimes are now much higher. Someone not doing it in a school shouldn't confuse you Brynley.

"Anyone caught with a gun in this country now faces an automatic five years prison sentence."

Going through the motions cons only the stupidest people. How many people have actually been sent to jail under this law?

"Roads policing has to have the consent of the majority of the motoring public - which is why the current Government brought in measures to have speed cameras painted yellow and not hidden behind hedges etc."

I doubt many motorists have time for this tyranny, and I suspect you are whistling in the wind if you do. The only reason the cameras were changed was because the public just refused to accept it any longer.

"Guns you can buy in US supermarkets are designed to take lives.

Speed guns are designed to save lives.

I prefer to live with the latter."

Vive la difference. But I know which gun has a great effect on my life. Motorists and gun users should defend their rights. Governments rarely respect freedom.

fairdealphil said...

michael:

the falling crime figures are not mine and they are not "made up" either.

here in Lincolnshire, they're published by the Chief Constable, a man of impeccable integrity and not known as a "liar".

if you lived anywhere in UK, you could count the extra police and police community support officers for yourself.

may i suggest you talk to the daily mail about your campaign for more hand guns and fewer speed guns: they're always on the look out for a front page.

pleased to hear you know the difference between a speed gun and a hand gun and that the former currently has a greater effect on your life...

i agree that murder sprees are thankfully rare, but of course it only takes a split second for a hand gun in the wrong hands to spoil your whole day.

here's to freedom.

Michael Oakeshott said...

You are a Labour councillor Phil. What would you know about freedom?

fairdealphil said...

michael:

that's rich coming from someone whose idea of freedom is linked to the right to possess a gun...even the most mentally disturbed.

That's just plain crazy.

Michael Oakeshott said...

I don't have a gun and I don't want one. I just respect others' rights. An alien concept to you Phil. Now stop being such an old woman and get real.

fairdealphil said...

michael:

i'm sure families of the 32 victims of the Virginia bloodbath would be impressed that you vigorously respect the 'rights' of mentally disturbed students to freely buy guns with groceries.

Michael Oakeshott said...

I don't remembering saying that. Your article mentioned all gun owners. I defended decent lawabiding gun owners. Lunatics should be locked up. Simple. But then who would run local Government?

fairdealphil said...

hello planet zog:

a decent law-abiding gun owner?

Michael Oakeshott said...

There are many. You might want to check the law on this Phil. You obviously aren't familiar with it...or indeed much else.

fairdealphil said...

Not in this country.

Thankfully, the Labour Government banned handguns as promised in its election manifesto.

It is still possible of course to own shotguns, subject to police checks and inspections, stringent regulations re storage, and a tightened up licencing regime...

...another day, another shooting for American to wake up to...but i know they won't.

Michael Oakeshott said...

So in fact there ARE law-abiding gunowners in Britain. If you had dignity, you would apologise for branding them criminals. I won't hold my breath.

So in a nation of 300m people, one person has died by gun wounds in a day. Congratulations. But hardly a case to strip people of their constitutional rights. How about we let Americans set their own laws?

fairdealphil said...

michael:

>>"one person has died by gun wounds in a day.">>

you're wrong again michael.

on average, almost as many people die in gun incidents in America EVERY DAY as died at Virginia Tech on Monday.

Of course the Americans will make their own laws: and I and others will continue to exercise our right to comment on them.

as for the "constitutional right" to bear arms, it has long been argued that the Second Amendment gives the state, rather than the individual, the "right" to bear arms and raise a militia.

Even if the wider interpretation of the two centuries-old is accepted, (as it undoubtedly is in the US) it was written in the days of muskets, not 21st century automatics (unlike shotguns that fire just two rounds before needing reload)...

It cannot be right in any society that claims to be civilised that a madman can buy lethal weapons without proper checks or regulation that allow him to take 30 innocent lives in a few minutes.