Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Note to Peter - it's not actually about the guns...

Peter King, writing in Monday Morning Quarterback:
Think we shouldn't do anything about gun violence in this country? Read this dispatch from Saturday's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
...((Horrible story omitted))...
I'm sick of stories like this getting ignored. We've got to do something to take guns out of the hands of gangs and other young criminals in this country. How many more of those idiotically horrible stories do there need to be on the front page of papers around the country before we do something tangible about gun violence?

Hey Peter - in England, they've done tangible things about gun violence. Guns are outlawed, and people who defend themselves against criminals are prosecuted. So that should fix everything, right?

Or not.

Toby Young, writing in the London Telegraph:
I’m writing this at 3.30am on Tuesday morning, unable to sleep thanks to the outbreak of lawlessness that has engulfed large parts of London. At around 10pm, a mob of several hundred youths ran amok in Ealing, about two miles from where I live in Acton, smashing shop windows, setting property ablaze and looting the local shopping centre. Sky News reported two separate incidents of homes in the area being broken into, with one elderly lady waking to find a masked boy at the end of her bed. According to eyewitnesses I’ve been corresponding with on Twitter, it took the police 90 minutes to respond, so overstretched are they.
Like hundreds of thousands of people all over London, I’m not relishing another night of feeling this vulnerable. David Cameron is going to have to come up with a suitably robust response at this morning’s COBRA meeting if he’s going to persuade ordinary Londoners not to organise themselves into vigilante squads to protect their families and their property on the nights ahead. It’s increasingly clear that the police are becoming overwhelmed by the sheer scale of the lawlessness.
The problem isn’t that the police aren’t equipped with effective enough weapons, it’s that the lawlessness is so widespread that the police aren’t able to get to the trouble spots in time.
Looking at the television pictures a few hours ago, I felt as if I was witnessing the collapse of Western civilisation as depicted in countless Hollywood disaster movies. We need to restore the rule of law by whatever means necessary and we need to do it now.
What is the cost to England of what's going on over there right now? The tangible monetary costs are going to end up being very large - the intangible costs are incalculable. And it's a populace that is unable to protect itself. How is that a good thing?

Obviously, the story he was reacting to in the Pittsburgh paper was horrendous, and no one wants to see it. But the question is, how do you avoid it? Banning guns may make people feel like they've done something, but the evidence that it's a practical and productive activity is non-existent. It's not the guns that are a problem, it's the culture in which the use of guns to harm innocents is accepted and/or glorified. If you look at an inner city culture of drugs and guns and blame the guns, you're missing the point. It's not the guns - it's the culture.

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