The first essential problem with any argument over guns is that people are not willing to look at the underlying and surrounding trends. This is not helped when the government massages the stats to produce the desired effect and then cries out that those supporting the right to be armed within one's home has no stats to back it up with.
Others beg to differ. Dan Rather claimed, and this was syndicated across the media that "[N]ow, like the US, the UK has a crime problem. And believe it or not, except for murder, theirs is worse than ours.":
In the report, which was also shown on Sky News, CBS News senior European correspondent Tom Fenton said police statistics were flawed, as only one in four assaults was recorded. "The violence of soccer fans is most familiar but that is only the tip of the iceberg. The reality is the streets and shopping malls of Britain are a battleground."
We the people of the UK, know full well about the no-go areas and the parts of the country where insurance premiums have gone sky-high. Everyone knows of the ASBOs [linked for non-Brits] and the threat they pose. Go to a shopping mall and look about. The problem is, the hysteria over the young reinforces the ASBOs running amok. Think about it one moment. Young people always like to kick against authority but if they see adult fear of them faithfully reported by the MSM most days, then they're going to feel empowered. This has been largely Labour's doing.
And Joyce Lee Malcolm pointed out that things are not as rosy as painted:
Over the course of a few days in the summer of 2001, gun-toting men burst into an English court and freed two defendants; a shooting outside a London nightclub left five women and three men wounded; and two men were machine-gunned to death in a residential neighborhood of north London. And on New Year's Day this year a 19-year-old girl walking on a main street in east London was shot in the head by a thief who wanted her mobile phone. London police are now looking to New York City police for advice.
Has the removal of weapons made British citizens feel safer? Has it hell. Malcolm again:
Instead it has left law-abiding citizens at the mercy of criminals who are confident that their victims have neither the means nor the legal right to resist them.
This is the reality of our times now over here. Behind the hedgerows, the civic centres and the narrow lanes, it is:
1. the removal of effective deterrent to crims;
2. the insane ancillary legislation which makes it a crime to defend oneself in one's own home
… which has left parents fearful for their children and not willing to take any risks nor to trust anyone "suspicious". And under the draconian overreaction to Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman, the CRB legislation which sees even falsely accused people left with smears against their name in perpetuity for any future employer to access, everyone is suspicious and a climate of fear leads to the government's next step in the tightening of the screws.
Julia M reports the following:
Members of the public are to be given the power to report anyone they suspect of posing a danger to children, under a new Government scheme.
People who suspect an individual of being unsuitable to work or volunteer with children will be able to refer them to the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) through a form on its website. After receiving an allegation from a member of the public, the ISA will examine the available evidence and contact the person concerned to allow them to mount a defence.
Julia points out:
Mount a defence? To what? They aren't being charged with a crime, they are being accused, on the basis of an anonymous tip off, of one of the worst things anyone could ever be accused of...
People, this is precisely how it was done in the USSR. Don't forget I've lived over there so this is hearsay from the horses' mouths. The principle of denunciation was in operation for decades. You have something you're not happy about? Turn in your neighbour and be rewarded by the State for being a good citizen.
Can you imagine the effect on community relations? The damage to the society and how completely the government then assumes control?
Gun control is an integral part of that process.
The real story in the UK
The BBC's editor tried to use Home Office statistics to prove that crime is down but all that did was produce reactions like this by Dan6713.
The entire number of officers including specials in a 24 hour day may be nine that means only three on duty at any one time provided no sickness or holiday and then added in to every figure are the counties single firearm unit or rapid response unit. So a huge town and villages may only have a single proper officer on duty but the figures actually show about twenty.
Fiddles and lies abound but I know this much I attended a neighbourhood watch meeting and was astounded at the anger within our community at those without a voice suffering in lawless britain. The papers reflect what you dont know in the growing rich and increasing poor regions of the EU.
Incidentally, if you click on Dan's name, you'll see that all the comments he's had the temerity to make have been carefully listed for future reference. That's the situation we live in.
Another commenter says:
The British Crime Survey does not collect data from people under 16. So all those incidences of children being mugged for their mobile phones or trainers on their way home from school, are not being reflected.
Angrycitizen 2 said:
In the real world - some measure of the utter corruption of Govt crime figures can be gauged by an excellent book by David Fraser, called a Land Fit for Criminals. Unlike Mr Easton, who cobbled together a few highly selected and misleading charts from a Government propoganda machine, Fraser spent 30 years researching crime, suggesting real crime ran 5-6 times higher that that reported.
Civitas published a report in 2002 showing, even then, that actual crime was about 4 times higher than that recorded (which totalled about 60m crimes a year). The real comparison ought to be made then with other countries: Nationalmaster stats show we are the 6th worst country in the world, with figures about 250% higher than the global average.
A crown court lawyer commented:
Violent crime is down because it is less recorded. If the victim is incoherent through drunk, there is no report. If there is no report, there is no crime and the police are doing their job - according to their targets.
Detection rates are up because the police now have the option of fixed penalty notices. Get someone who has committed an offence of minor violence, tell them if they admit it they can have an instant £80 fine and, voila they admit and and are free to go. If they don't pay the fine there is very little chance of being chased up.
The fact that shoplifting is up dramatically is nothing to do with the recession. It is because about 15 months ago it was effectively decriminalised. Before, if you were caught shoplifting, you were arrested, charged, went before a court - got a record and probably saw your name in the local papers.
Now you get a fixed penalty notice in whatever name you give - the police record it as a detection and everyone is happy. Criminals have always worked by balancing risk and reward - shoplifting is a low risk crime as is cyber crime. Its made low risk because no-one cares.
The reason for pressing on with this point is to show that the view the government wants you to have – namely that crime is down and everything is rosy – is not only not shared by a significant proportion of the population but it is to support an agenda of making the average citizen powerless and the citizens I know in the UK are not happy about that at all although most are resigned to it.
Just how much testimony do you need before you see that it is a lie which is being peddled in Britain. Respected high-flying lawyer Tom Paine wrote, about the recently released crime stats:
If you believe domestic burglary in Britain is down by 54 percent, there is no hope for you. You are destined to live in a Britain of one party government, constantly-exceeded 5 year plans and shortages of everything caused by counter-revolutionary saboteurs.
He also mentions the Telegraph article reporting the EU Commission report acknowledging that the UK is violent crime capital of Europe.
No-one who is paying any attention could doubt this. For goodness' sake, even Henley Regatta has suffered hooliganism. I hear that the city where I have my pied à terre in the North of England suffers one murder every time there is a race meeting at its ancient hippodrome.
Analysis of figures from the European Commission showed a 77 per cent increase in murders, robberies, assaults and sexual offences in the UK since Labour came to power.
Joyce Lee Malcolm wrote on our experience in the UK; her book is reviewed:
Investigating the complex and controversial issue of the real relationship between guns and violence, Joyce Lee Malcolm presents an incisive, thoroughly researched historical study of England, whose strict gun laws and low rates of violent crime are often cited as proof that gun control works.
Malcolm also offers a revealing comparison of the experience in England experience with that in the modern United States. Today Americans own some 200 million guns and have seen eight consecutive years of declining violence, while the English--prohibited from carrying weapons and limited in their right to self-defense have suffered a dramatic increase in rates of violent crime.
David Wootton (London Review of Books ) said, of this data:
Joyce Malcolm's book reminds us forcibly that arguments for gun ownership were, until quite recently, respectable and persuasive, and that gun control and peaceable behaviour appear to be unrelated phenomena.
Tom Paine wrote [see links above] of the credulous public which believes what they are told and what they feel, rather than the reality of what's going down. An example is Scot James Kelly who encapsulates the blind, blanket view that Britons should not defend themselves thus:
The difference in this debate is that I have been arguing on the basis of what I believe to be true, and doing my best to explain why I believe it. Kevin, by way of contrast, claims to be able to literally ‘prove’ his case beyond any doubt whatsoever by recourse to detailed statistical data.
Er yes … Kevin uses data. As he should.
Astute readers will have picked up the seeming discrepancy between Tom saying people accept the government's stats uncritically and many saying there is a climate of fear [or at least of unease and disquiet].
There is no discrepancy here. The two can very much go together. Reality outside, through our senses, reveals the true situation but the stats, as released by the government, must be true, mustn't they? So thinks the average cit. Therefore what we see out there every day must be wrong. Why must it be wrong? Because the government statistics and protestations tell us so. So whilst, on the one hand, we grumble over the government and even get angry over second homes, saying politicians should be shot, at the same time we unquestioningly accept their bloody statistics. Oh, they must be right because they are "Official".
Meanwhile, there is a range of evidence to the contrary available but you have to search for it because it never makes it into the MSM, e.g. the BBC.
Joe Huffman, a pro-self-defence blogger from the States, puts a simple challenge on this issue:
Can you demonstrate one time or place, throughout all history, where the average person was made safer by restricting access to handheld weapons?
So far, it has not received a definitive and clinching response, except by massaged or imperfectly gathered statistics using questionable procedures. Quite the opposite picture emerges, for example, from Massachusetts:
If the intent of the Gun Control Act of 1998 was to discourage the sport of hunting and competitive target shooting and to disarm Massachusetts citizens, it must be considered a howling success. In 10 years since its passage, the number of licensed gun owners has decreased from 1,500,000 to 220,000, an 85 percent drop, according to figures provided by the by the House Post Audit and Oversight Committee. Well done!
If the intent was to reduce crime, then that law must be considered a miserable failure. Based on incidents per 100,000, gun-related homicides are up 68 percent, assault related gun injuries up 72 percent, assault related hospital discharges up 160 percent, gun assault Emergency Dept visits up 222 percent and gun assault outpatient observations up 538 percent. Keep in mind that these increases occurred when there were 1,280,000 fewer licensed gun owners in the state.
You might like to check this link, a report prepared by the Taskforce on Community Preventive Services in the U.S., where the question of whether removing firearms has led to a decrease in crime or not. They "found insufficient evidence to determine the effectiveness of any of the firearms laws or combinations of laws reviewed on violent outcomes," although they added that meant it was inconclusive and suggested that more research be done.
In fact, all that happens when you ban guns is that:
1. people resort to other means – in the UK, this means knives and broken bottles;
2. the real crims who would never register a weapon and have no incentive to do so, can run around as the enforcers and do as they please.
Here is an example - four shot, one dead.
For all practical purposes private individuals aren't allowed to carry guns to protect themselves in California. The results are predictable and tragic:
TEMECULA, Calif. (AP) — A gunman opened fire at a Korean Christian retreat center, leaving one woman dead and four people injured, authorities said. The gunman, described as an Asian man in his 70s, was among the wounded, Riverside County Sheriff's Sgt. Michael Lujan told KNBC-TV on Wednesday.
Why do the government want you unable to defend your family or yourself? Joe Huffman's "Jews in the attic test" begins with a question about any new legislation further eroding one's ability to defend oneself:
Will this law make it difficult or impossible to protect innocent life from a government intent on their imprisonment or death?
He then goes on to list some laws that fail the test and why:
# Government mandated ID cards and the authority to demand them at any time. The oppressed class will be unable to masquerade as a member of the neutral or oppressor classes.
# Searches without probable cause. Imagine you are attempting to smuggle your "Jews in the attic" to a safer hiding place. If the police at the roadblock can search all vehicles then you and your precious cargo are headed to the "work camps".
# Government monopoly on medical care. This is a bit surprising -- isn't it? If it is illegal for you to pay someone for anonymous health care then how can your "Jews in the attic" receive health care?
# Firearm or firearm owner registration. The registration information can be used to confiscate the firearms used to protect innocent life -- as it was under the 1938 Weapons Control Act in Nazi Germany.
# Elimination or severe restriction of anonymous financial transactions. The purchase of food and other supplies for your "Jews in the attic" would show up in the records as being excessive compared to what your needs were. Just as power consumption records are used today to catch home marijuana growers.
Let's face it, there are some cultural differences between the U.S.A and here. We have grown up differently and faced different challenges. It is true that we are not as gung ho, we remember a time when policeman, bobbies, wore funny, reassuring hats and walked the beat. In those days, one could go up to one for help and even a chat.
Today, you're liable to be put on the database.
The police were not armed in those days, the railway cuttings sported wildflowers, the local post office was a place to natter; the teashop was where we rested our tired feet. This was Britain, where anything which ever happened was to someone else.
We're a "nice" people, unarmed, not needing to be armed, everything lovely.
Except that Britain has moved on, in line with the governmental agenda. The police are armed now, they do shoot Brazilian electricians, they do stitch people up in the West Midlands, there are CCTVs everywhere, they do have bombings in London while the leadership happens to be up country at a global conference on that day, the government is trying everything possible to get people onto the central database and all transactions are recorded and sent to that database until some jobsworth leaves the data disks on the train on the way home from work.
They and the criminals are armed. Mr. And Mrs Average and their two children have had their chance to defend themselves removed. "Oh," we say, "we can always phone 999 or call in two nice friendly bobbies."
By the way, can anyone recall who wrote the words below?
And then England--southern England, probably the sleekest landscape in the world. It is difficult when you pass that way, especially when you are peacefully recovering from sea-sickness with the plush cushions of a boat train carriage under your bum, to believe that anything is really happening anywhere.
Earthquakes in Japan, famines in China, revolutions in Mexico? Don't worry, the milk will be on the doorstep tomorrow morning, the New Statesman will come out on Friday. The industrial towns were far away, a smudge of smoke and misery hidden by the curve of the earth's surface.
Down here it was still the England I had known in my childhood: the railway-cuttings smothered in wild flowers, the deep meadows where the great shining horses browse and meditate, the slow-moving streams bordered by willows, the green bosoms of the elms, the larkspurs in the cottage gardens; and then the huge peaceful wilderness of outer London, the barges on the miry river, the familiar streets, the posters telling of cricket matches and Royal weddings, the men in bowler hats, the pigeons in Trafalgar Square, the red buses, the blue policemen--all sleeping the deep, deep sleep of England, from which I sometimes fear that we shall never wake till we are jerked out of it by the roar of bombs.
There was a time when it was not necessary to defend oneself in this country of ours. There was a time when an Englishman's home was his castle. There was a time when a Briton wouldn't dream of being armed.
That time has passed.
UPDATE: Just found an old post I'd forgotten I'd written.