so you may/may not have heard about this [link], I don’t know if it has been reported much outside of the UK

it is really awful and it is quite upsetting. You don’t expect this to happen in England. It’s bizarre in that it seems to be someone who went insane literally overnight, and it’s really scary how he drove between towns and apparently targetted people at random. It’s hard to put into words how unsettling and upsetting that is. It’s really awful.

And I don’t understand why any firearms are legal, but this is a single isolated anomalous incident so further tightening of laws probably won’t have a measurable effect. OTOH had this man not had ready access to a couple of firearms then he obviously wouldn’t have been able to do anything like what he did. I doubt he still would have gone through with it if he had had to wait a few days to pick up an illegal gun from somewhere, it seems like a spontaneous outbreak of absolute insanity, not something that would persist through a needlessly lengthened planning stage. But it would be nice if people pushing their own agendas didn’t seek to make the victims their martyrs. Not that that will happen.

And for right wing Americans weapons fetishists who wish to use this as an example that strict gun laws don’t work: As far as the laws go, his guns were legally owned for 20 years. You can’t say that strict gun laws don’t work because of this, because the laws were permissive as far as he was concerned. But if you wanted to make a case that permissive gun laws allow these things, you might well be onto something… But I know instead you’ll probably argue he could have used a 17th century musket or a pen knife or a pointy stick to kill 12 people with his imaginary SAS training, and then say “well you wouldn’t ban kitchen knives” … proof by reduction to the wrong problem.


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4 comments on “um
  1. Simone says:

    Sorry to here about that Stephanie. It was all over the news in the States. Guns are totally out of control here but for some weird reason the states with the most gun restrictions have the highest crime rates and the states that allow concealed carry have the lowest crime rates.

  2. Stephanie says:

    Probably because “guns are totally out of control” there :P

    For easy access to guns as a deterrent to have an overall positive effect, it must be true that the average criminal already has easy access to guns and giving them to law abiding people too will level the playing field. In the same way that if Iran has nuclear weapons then everyone else needs them too but it’d be better if nobody had them in the first place.

    But guns are rare in the UK and giving them to everyone would be like donating nuclear weapons to other countries indiscriminately. It might be good if Germany had some but not if it means giving them to Iran too.

  3. Simone says:

    This is a red hot topic here. Yes, it’s very much like the global arms race. What’s interesting about the states that allow concealed weapons is the crooks assume everybody is armed which isn’t the case but the bluff seems to be an effective deterrent. The gun rights advocates ignore other factors that reduce crime such as low unemployment & higher education, you know, silly things like that.

    California gives more rights to the rural unprotected areas so the crooks stay away from the mountains because they know everyone up here is armed to the teeth. I was raised around guns so they weren’t a big deal but my relatives down in the city do indeed have a peculiar fetish for them. They’re always nagging me to come up here to shoot but Richard won’t allow it because they don’t know what they’re doing. He’s ex-military so he knows how to handle weapons. There’s really reason to have guns in areas with effective law enforcement but there isn’t any sheriff up here so we are left to our own devices. To complicate matters we have to deal with four legged predators too. Right now there’s a mountain lion on the loose so when we take the horses out Richard carries a shotgun in a saddle scabbard and I have a .30.06 in mine. It’s just part of life here.

    What’s crazy is many cities have buy back programs to reduce the number of guns but people just take the money and buy more powerful weapons. Personally I’d like to see all guns confiscated (except for mine of course!) Seriously, I like the gun laws in the UK – I feel so much safer over there. I’d hate to see your country follow our example because once guns are allowed it can’t be reversed. I once had a wonderful conversation with an old man at a diner who told me he used to train circus animals and when I asked what’s the hardest animal to train he said, “monkeys, because once you give’em a tie, the little f*ckers won’t give it back!” It’s the same with guns. The only thing they are good for is killing spiders.

    (ps: sorry for hogging your blog but you always raise intriguing topics!)

    • Stephanie says:

      it’s okay :p I find it interesting too because I’m very anti-gun but there do seem to be strongish arguments for having them. Although it seems hard to apply arguments between different countries for some reason. Like in Switzerland they have huge assault rifles in their homes but very low gun crime. Maybe because they are a bit inconvenient to rob a corner shop with. Or maybe because they have forced conscription and are a bit more responsible about them than the average redneck.

      Also, another argument often made is that criminals tend to use illegal guns so legal guns make no difference. In the UK as far as I know illegal guns aren’t trivially easy to get hold of (I’ve never tried but I’m pretty sure we wouldn’t have a knife crime ‘problem’ if people had the same access to guns, and every so often you hear about some teenagers being arrested for having a replica gun and using it to threaten or whatever, which they wouldn’t have if they could get hold of a real one). I’m sure you can get hold of them if you really want, but I am also pretty sure that the market for illegal ones would grow a lot if legal ones were more common and that would be bad.

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