Tuesday, October 6

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.


Update:

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.

14 comments:

Ritchie said...

If I might offer a slight correction-fully automatic weapons are not banned in the U.S., but heavily regulated and taxed. There is a $200 tax on each change of ownership, along with a federal application and approval, fingerprint check, local police approval, and possibly posting a lung as security before one can take possession of the item. The aspiring purchaser gets an actual little paper stamp for his or her $200, which they are well advised to take good care of, and keep in the safe. Note that in 1934 this was obviously intended to be a prohibitive tax. In addition, the supply of civilian transferable automatics is fixed by administrative fiat, which has grossly distorted the market.

Richard, near Denver Colorado

blogger said...

Excellent post. And Richie is correct - there are around 100,000 automatic weapons in private hands here. As far as I can tell, the only one ever used in a murder (since 1934) was used by a police officer who shot his wife.

TheUnpaidBill said...

Bravo from Flyover Country USA.

Squander Two said...

Thanks for the correction, guys. I'll update the post.

Tom RKBA said...

Most people do not understand that there is only a ban upon transfers for automatic firearms made after a certain date between civilians. This means there is an ever diminishing pool of fully automatic firearms legally available to civilians. This is why an actual AK-47 in poor condition was listed at $18,000 around 10 years ago at a gun shows.

Police have no problem getting fully automatic rifles and pay standard prices for them.

Jerry The Geek said...

"They talk about how Americans love guns because of cowboy films or all wanting to pretend to be Bruce Willis or something."

Actually, it's usually a "John Wayne Syndrome" kind of thing. But you do have the right of it. People who think firearms are intrinsically evil tend to be dismissive (to the point of rudeness) about those who disagree with them.

I can only speak for myself: I've a number of firearms in my "arsenal", and I've never pointed one of them at another living being. Well .. some of them I used for hunting a few years back, but I'm more into competitive shooting now so no, not even as much as a chipmunk. (What are too cute to shoot, so I don't.)

I honestly don't know why those folks are so rude when they talk about me. I think they must be frightened much of the time, which is why they talk so loud. They think that just because I own firearms, I must want an excuse to shoot somebody.

Well, I have 'shot somebody', but I was drafted and sent to Viet Nam and this guy with a totally unregulated AK47 was shooting at me. I was frightened, and so I blew him up with a Claymore mine. Him, and his friends who were on their way to shoot up an ARVN base camp. We captured a couple of the VC assault team, and their mission was to infiltrate the 'friendly' base camp and kill everyone inside. Might I mention that the base camp was a permanent post, and the soldiers' families ... women and children ... were living there?

You see, this is why Americans went to fight in Viet Nam; to protect honest people who just wanted to protect their homeland. They needed a little help.

And this is why Americans are determined to protect our right to be armed ... because we don't want to depend on foreigners to provide "a little help" when we think we can do the job just fine by ourselves, thank you very much.

Unless, of course, local folks who think they know what they are talking about (even though they do not) get in the way.

Perhaps if our local busybodies get their way, we may someday have to call on our friends in the UK to come bail us out ... and help restore our freedoms.

And wouldn't THAT be an ironic moment!

ザイツェヴ said...

I used to live in a country where handguns were banned period and long guns were heavily regulated (to the extent that hunters kept their rifles locked at a police station and checked them out for the duration of a hunt). As a result, the street crime was absolutely hideous and played a major part in my decision to emigrate. In addition, rougher kids brought their -- grossly illegal - 5 years in slammer if found -- guns to school. America is vastly safer than a real gun-banner paradise, even in big cities, although it varies greatly by location, of course. But that's only my actual life experience, and not some slick arguments made by talking heads in a box.

Paul Bonneau said...

"Why this obsession with banning guns in America if you don't live there? What's it to you?"

I've often wondered about that. Maybe it hurts to see someone able to take care of himself and his family, when you can't? "Misery loves company?"

Here are some other thoughts on it:
http://jpfo.org/filegen-n-z/ragingagainstselfdefense.htm

Good article though!

By the way, American murder rates are high, but when you look at murder reports you begin to understand how many have to do with illegal drugs. So the War on Drugs, which is regulation of drugs, causes the murder rate that was created by regulation in the first place, is supposed to be fixed by regulation in another sphere, firearms?

What I don't understand is why Americans particularly murder over drugs. It's not like other countries don't have drug prohibitions. But there is a lot of money to be made in the drug trade...

Flaxen Saxon said...

To be honest, I love guns. I like the way they feel in my hands and I like the smell of bullet burning. Am I likely to go on a gun toting killer frenzy. Probably not. I'm a quiet middle class kind of guy living in a nice suburban neighbourhood. But you never know. My wife might get prissy with me. A co-worker could give me that 'Devil Eye.' Still, I wont kill folk unless severely provoked. Let this be our watch word.

Paul Bonneau said...

"What I don't understand is why Americans particularly murder over drugs."

My bad. I've been paying too much attention to propaganda again. The murder rate in America is not high after all:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_intentional_homicide_rate

It is, compared to certain European countries - but guess what folks? America (that is, USA) is not in Europe. It's in the Americas.

Anyway, murder rate is pretty irrelevant in normal life, until it gets way up there as in places like Honduras.

Crispin said...

As usual, so much sense here. This is the kind of rational argument you don't get on Question Time (or at Prime Minister's Questions, come to that). I very much regret the handgun ban in the UK, because I was a good target shooter, and it's a different discipline with handguns than with rifle, and the two balanced each other nicely. 'There has never been another Dunblane', you might say - but then there had never been another Dunblane in all the years before there was Dunblane. You might as well ban cars and kitchen knives to prevent another murder like Lee Rigby's. The way you prevent murder in a civilised society is, like every other crime, to have penalties for committing it, and rigorously enforcing those penalties when people transgress. 'But guns only have one purpose, and that's to kill', you might say - but they are a tool like any other, and the responsibility for how they are used lies with the user.

Furor Teutonicus said...

XX Look, like I said, I'm not wanting to get into the actual American gun-control argument, because it's not my country. XX

Considering the E.U dicatorships recent attempts to ban everything from hand guns to paint ball guns, and even replicas, it may be time to start TAKING an interest in the U.S debate. Because they will be using EXACTLY the tacticts that the fascist gun contol bastards in the U.S are using.

mamun hossain said...

Nice

Rolphen said...

Excellent post. And Richie is correct - there are around 100,000 automatic weapons in private hands here. As far as I can tell, the only one ever used in a murder (since 1934) was used by a police officer who shot his wife.