Friday, August 12, 2011

When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns, Part 2 (Britain crime rate)

    I recently pointed out that one of the reasons that Norway mass-murderer Anders Breivik was able to shoot so many people at a leisurely pace was that virtually no one, including police, in Norway has a gun.
There was simply no way to stop the guy.
    Make no mistake, the proliferation of guns in our society has costs. We have a high murder rate, although many of these murders are hooligans shooting each other, not innocent citizens. But researcher John Lott, for example has found very strong evidence that when law-abiding citizens are allowed to obtain licenses to carry concealed weapons there is a dramatic decrease in crime. Criminals are loathe to commit burglaries or assaults against those who might be armed and dangerous.
    Great Britain has gone the other route. They have followed the advice of the liberals who advocated banning handguns altogether. After a deadly school shooting in Dublane, Scotland, claimed the lives of 15 students and a teacher, Britain banned all handguns by refusing to renew virtually any handgun license. As a result the violent crime rate has skyrocketed. It is the most violent country in Europe with a violent crime rate that is five times higher than that of the United States, and higher than that of South Africa.
    It should be noted that handgun ownership wasn't widespread in Britain to begin with. Generally, only people who needed guns, such as shopkeepers, were allowed to have them. But Britain disarmed every law-abiding citizen in its society. Of course, criminals kept their guns and now use them to victimize the citizenry with impunity.
    Adding to the problem is the attitude of British police and prosecutors towards those who try to defend themselves with so much as a knitting needle. Have you noticed that during the current chaos those who have tried to defend their neighborhoods from violence have been called "vigilantes"? A vigilante isn't someone who tries to protect his property; a vigilante is someone who administers justice outside the law. These people are merely defending themselves or their neighborhoods. They aren't vigilantes.
    But this criminalization of those who try to defend themselves is part of the British mindset. And the criminals know it and act on it. Consider the following, from Reason Magazine:

In 1973 a young man running on a road at night was stopped by the police and found to be carrying a length of steel, a cycle chain, and a metal clock weight. He explained that a gang of youths had been after him. At his hearing it was found he had been threatened and had previously notified the police. The justices agreed he had a valid reason to carry the weapons. Indeed, 16 days later he was attacked and beaten so badly he was hospitalized. But the prosecutor appealed the ruling, and the appellate judges insisted that carrying a weapon must be related to an imminent and immediate threat. They sent the case back to the lower court with directions to convict.

In 1987 two men assaulted Eric Butler, a 56-year-old British Petroleum executive, in a London subway car, trying to strangle him and smashing his head against the door. No one came to his aid. He later testified, "My air supply was being cut off, my eyes became blurred, and I feared for my life." In desperation he unsheathed an ornamental sword blade in his walking stick and slashed at one of his attackers, stabbing the man in the stomach. The assailants were charged with wounding. Butler was tried and convicted of carrying an offensive weapon.

In 1994 an English homeowner, armed with a toy gun, managed to detain two burglars who had broken into his house while he called the police. When the officers arrived, they arrested the homeowner for using an imitation gun to threaten or intimidate. In a similar incident the following year, when an elderly woman fired a toy cap pistol to drive off a group of youths who were threatening her, she was arrested for putting someone in fear. Now the police are pressing Parliament to make imitation guns illegal.

In 1999 Tony Martin, a 55-year-old Norfolk farmer living alone in a shabby farmhouse, awakened to the sound of breaking glass as two burglars, both with long criminal records, burst into his home. He had been robbed six times before, and his village, like 70 percent of rural English communities, had no police presence. He sneaked downstairs with a shotgun and shot at the intruders. Martin received life in prison for killing one burglar, 10 years for wounding the second, and a year for having an unregistered shotgun. The wounded burglar, having served 18 months of a three-year sentence, is now free and was been granted 5,000 pounds of legal assistance to sue Martin.
    People ask me why I hate liberals. Now you know.
    The same thing has been going on in France. In fact, police there often refuse to make arrests even when they see a violent crime. And the liberal judges tend to believe that the criminal is the victim, having suffered a childhood of too few peas and carrots. You owe it to yourself to read The Barbarians at the Gates of Paris, a 10-year-old essay, but just as good today as it was then.
    In America, many states still have the English common-law Castle Doctrine (the poor blokes used to have some sense). A citizen is entitled to use deadly force to protect his home if he believes his life is in danger. Unlike the common-law version, most states with a Castle Doctrine have expressly removed the "duty to retreat." It's your home; stand your ground.
    Britain has disarmed its citizenry and empowered its criminals. America allows its citizens to carry arms and has issued everyone a hunting permit to be used to protect themselves and their homes. It has an amazing effect on the crime rate, doesn't it?

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