Tuesday 6 October 2015

Stupid fucking gun-toting Yanks.

Since the Umpqua shooting, there have been the usual calls — from Obama (who never leaves home without heavily armed guards), from the left-wing US media, from Hollywood stars who live behind electric fences, and from everyone outside the US — for Americans to abandon the Second Amendment and ban guns. A lot of people want guns banned in America, and use every American mass shooting as an opportunity to remind us all.

I don't want to get into the gun-control argument itself here, because life's too short — I live in the UK, so what would be the point? It's really not my fight. No, I want to talk about condescending sanctimonious self-absorbed arrogance instead.

Because the argument I see, again and again and again, goes something like this:

1. Guns must be banned because guns equals bad.
2. There has just been a mass shooting.
3. 2 proves 1.
4. 3 is so overwhelmingly obvious that anyone who still opposes a gun ban after 2 must be stupid or evil or both.
5. There simply is no plausible alternative to 4. Evil or stupid. That's it. OBVIOUSLY.

I see this argument deployed endlessly by non-Americans. They talk about how American politicians are all in the pocket of the NRA — which would be big news to the NRA, and is obvious nonsense when you consider that the most stringent gun ban in the US is in Washington DC — i.e. exactly the place where politicians have the most power and influence. They talk about how Americans love guns because of cowboy films or all wanting to pretend to be Bruce Willis or something. They derisively mock the phrase "from my cold dead hands." They talk about how stupid it is to use assault rifles to hunt ducks, as if anyone's doing that. They complain that the stupid Americans gun nuts won't even allow automatic weapons to be banned, unaware that automatic weapons have been banned in the US since before World War 2.* They claim that mass shootings are increasing and the Evil American Gun Lobby just don't care about dead children. They claim, erroneously, that mass killings don't happen outside the US.

What all these arguments are based on, or are just simple rewordings of, is that one idea that never goes out of fashion in Europe: Americans are stupid.

It's worth reading all of this piece by Larry Correia in response to Sandy Hook, but here are the two little bits I want to mention:

The average number of people shot in a mass shooting event when the shooter is stopped by law enforcement: 14. The average number of people shot in a mass shooting event when the shooter is stopped by civilians: 2.5.

Secondly, there are 10,000 homicides committed with guns per year in the US. It's difficult to estimate the number of times guns are used defensively to prevent crime, because obviously prevented crimes don't end up in the crime statistics. The high estimate is 2,500,000. The lowest estimate, from the Brady Center, who want to ban guns, is 108,000. That's an order of magnitude greater than the homicides.

Or to put it another way, the Brady Center hates guns so much that they are totally cool with the population of a decent sized city getting raped and murdered every year as collateral damage in order to get what they want.

Now have a look at this graph:

The number of guns in the United States has increased by 62% since 1994 but gun violence has decreased by 49% since 1993

That graph is by time, but you get similar results if you break down American gun laws by state: the more gun control, the higher the violent crime rate.

And, finally, bear in mind that there are about 300,000,000 firearms in the US. They have more guns than people. Every time one of these evil bastards goes out and shoots up a school or a cinema, literally millions of gun-owning Americans do no such thing.

Look, like I said, I'm not wanting to get into the actual American gun-control argument, because it's not my country. I just wish some of my compatriots would show that same basic respect. Why this obsession with banning guns in America if you don't live there? What's it to you? And would you be welcoming of Americans' criticism of your country's laws? Yeah, quite.

But, if you must get involved, all I ask is that you look at those stats and have enough basic intelligence and humility to realise that there really is another side to the argument, and that that other side is not mere fuckwittery. You might not think the fact that armed civilians make mass shootings so dramatically less dangerous is a strong enough argument to arm civilians, because you might think other factors outweigh that consideration. Fair enough: make that argument. You might think firearms are so extraordinarily evil that the fact that their ownership correlates inversely with gun violence is immaterial. OK: explain why. But those facts are still facts. And there is nothing stupid about observing the consistent way that liberalising gun laws has always led to a reduction in violent crime in every American jurisdiction it's ever been tried in and concluding that maybe banning guns is, all things considered, quite a bad idea.

In short, it should occur to you that American laws might to some extent be based on American votes, and that Americans might know just a teeeensy bit more about living in America than some wanker from Haringey who once spent a week in Orlando but doesn't want to go back because he found it crass.

Meanwhile, while I read all this self-congratulatory bollocks about how much more violent Americans are than the peaceful gun-loathing British, I am sitting somewhere in Tower Hamlets, one of the world centres of ISIS recruitment. One of Britain's most important exports right now is young men who are performing beheadings and crucifixions, for fuck's sake, in the cause of committing actual genocide. They are killing and torturing and enslaving innocent people by the tens of thousands.

But yeah, nine people dead, and it's America that has the big violence problem.


Thanks to Ritchie in the comments for pointing out that automatic weapons are not in fact banned in the US but are heavily regulated. Larry Correia again:

The National Firearms Act of 1934 made it so that you had to pay a $200 tax on a machinegun and register it with the government. In 1986 that registry was closed and there have been no new legal machineguns for civilians to own since then.

Which still contradicts the point I hear again and again from British people butting into the American gun debate, that any American can easily legally purchase an automatic weapon. No, they can't.