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Shootings in Canada

Canada has much stricter gun laws than in the United States, and so, one would assume, is a far safer place if one believes in the idea that the way to make society safer is to reduce access to items that can be used to kill. Well, generalisations are of course always dangerous, but I am not quite sure how this horrific story from Canada quite fits inside the gun-control argument. On the BBC television news this evening, the news announcer explicitly referred to the contrast between laws in Canada and the United States and expressed great puzzlement over the Canadian shootings.

UPDATE: here is another account of the story, with an update on the number of injured.

50 comments to Shootings in Canada

  • Quenton

    No suprise here. Canada’s Lib party promised a Gun registration database to keep it citizens “safe” from “mean ole guns” for the low-low price of just $1 Million USD. In reality the price tag was $1 Billion (US) by the time it was completed.

    The database has not led to the capture of a single criminal. Now they need a new scape-goat to shift the blame.

    Already the Candian and US Libs are harping on CNN about these guns comming from the US and that it’s our fault that Canada contains criminals that kill people.

    Mark my words, law-abiding Canadians will be as disarmed as Brits and Aussies within a year. After all, they already have a database that will tell the authorities where all the legally owned guns are, the rest is academic.

  • Alfred E. Neuman

    You can always get a gun illegally if you really want one. It’s not hard. It can range from borrowing a legally owned one from a friend, to stealing one, to buying one on the street.

    The government can’t make a dent in drugs no matter how hard they try, and they’re going to control guns? Politicians are such morons.

  • The usual excuse by liberal Canadian politicians for why crime hasn’t been reduced because of reduced availability of guns is, “It’s all the Americans’ fault!”

  • Midwesterner

    When did Canada go so very wrong? Back when I was a child in the ’50s and 60’s Canadians were perceived, by people I knew at least, as strong, independent, self reliant, sensible, durable, no-nonsense yet know how to have a good time sort-of people.

    When I watched Monty Python as a teenager, I suspected that the Lumberjack Song was an allegory of Canada’s evolution but couldn’t understand why Python would think so. I’ve seen nothing to suggest that this was their intention, but I still think it was and now I think Python knew what they were about.

    And if one views the western provinces as The Mounties and Ottawa as The Lumberjack, it is even more interesting and perhaps apropos.

  • M4-10

    It’s a damned shame there wasn’t at least one armed student, teacher, or bystander in the crowd. This may have had a less horrifying conclusion.

    It does sound like the police got there promptly and didn’t hesitate to put the gunman down.

  • I like Mark Steyn’s description of his home country,

    Canada, like New Zealand, sees itself not as a country but as an NGO

  • Worse yet, voluntary compliance with the database registration has been minimal, with people registering only those firearms that they regularly use in shooting matches or hunting, and keeping the rest securely locked away. Compliance has been estimated at between 10-20%.

  • guy herbert

    Neither side of the argument is very keen on the null hypothesis – that most gun-control laws don’t make much difference.

    Armed maniacs might do less damage in the face of a casually armed public, as M4-10 suggests (though query if that’s really plausible in the instant case, since a casual public is unlikely to be carrying suitable weaponry to counter a machine-gun and would probably cause even more mayhem if it did); but that’s offset by accidents and the casualties of casual gun use in “ordinary” violent situations.

  • Julian Taylor

    Slightly OTT but …

    On Tuesday an acquaintance of mine, one Mick Shepherd, (very occasionally do clay [skeet] shoots at his shooting club) was arrested in South London in connection with Operation Trident (an ongoing Met Police operation that specifically targets only black criminals … the Met Police isn’t racist of course). Police gave a whole raft of reasons for his arrest, namely:

    1) He’s an international arms dealer. Yes he is, he deals in antique firearms on a worldwide basis. You might as well arrest Sotheby’s and Christie’s firearms experts as well.

    2) He had weapons lying around loose in all rooms, except the bathroom and ammunition lying loose on the floors. Again he is an antique firearms dealer. He has lots of antique firearms in his house, certainly no ammunition. He does have a very secure repository for weapons (lots of photos available online through his website) and a number of scoped air rifles.

    3) (and my personal favourite) A dozen plain-clothes police officers raided the house, which has a large US flag hanging over the front porch. The fact that Monday was the 11th September and that Mick is pretty much pro-USA wouldn’t have anything to do with that, would it? I guess that makes all UK terrorist and drug dealer operations really simple now – just look for the Stars and Stripes over the front door and all you need then is to arrest everyone inside.

  • J

    Another argument in favour of gun ownership. An armed society is a polite society,
    which is why the Somalis — wait. Well, we need to bear arms because
    only the worlds most heavily armed populations, Sweden and Switzerland,
    are free of the oppressive hand of Big Gover — no, that’s not it
    either. We need guns because otherwise we won’t be able to defend our
    property, like the Japanese — argh, darnit.

    No, seriously, I do not support restricting gun ownership. After all,
    when guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns — and everyone
    knows there are more gun deaths from criminal activity than from —
    wait, I messed up again.

    No, seriously, I am pro-gun because guns are cool and I want one. Specifically I want a 303 Enfield SLR like we had in school!

    …hey, that time it worked.

  • Johnathan

    J, whatever. I take it you are familiar with the figures showing that the highest gun crime in the States tends to be focussed on the big cities that, frequently, have tougher gun laws than in the rural heartlands? The gun crime problems in the USA are largely linked to drugs, as far as I can tell.

  • J

    Jonathan –

    I’m afraid I can’t resist the urge to bait gun control zealots (both pro and anti). Guy Herbert reflects my actual opinion, which is that legislation is rather by-the-by when it comes to preventing or encouraging people to kill each other with guns. All of the common arguments on each side have rather glaring counterexamples, as I’ve attempted to trollishly demonstrate above.

    Many (most?) people in the UK take a bizarre quasi-religious view that guns are the incarnation of evil. However, you don’t hear much about it, because they’ve basically managed to get their way. Contrast with those, mainly in the US who consider guns to be an actual physical manifestation of the spirit of freedom. They never seem to shut up. Or maybe it’s just the parts of the internet I hang out on seem to attract them. Not sure.

  • The Wobbly Guy

    Tougher gun laws in the cities? I laugh. You know what’s a tough gun control law?

    Try the automatic death sentence in Singapore. That should make most people sit up and notice.

    It’s not about whether the laws are just or not. One thing is to consider whether the laws can even be enforced effectively.

  • Well,the fact like these are very common these days, government cant indeed stop them from commiting crimes

  • Johnathan Pearce

    I’m afraid I can’t resist the urge to bait gun control zealots (both pro and anti). Guy Herbert reflects my actual opinion, which is that legislation is rather by-the-by when it comes to preventing or encouraging people to kill each other with guns. All of the common arguments on each side have rather glaring counterexamples, as I’ve attempted to trollishly demonstrate above.

    Trollish is indeed the right word for how you chose to frame it, J. I happen to think that background factors make a lot of difference. Law-abiding cultures that do not have absurdities like the War on Drugs, or sharp intra-ethnic hatreds, tend to be freer of crimes, including guns crimes, than those that do. These factors need to be borne in mind when comparing the USA, Canada, Britain, or for that matter, most of Africa.

    The Swiss are armed to the teeth and have had few major shootings, ditto some other parts of continental Europe. Britain has incredibly tough laws, and yet hardly a week goes by without reading of another killing in Nottingham, Manchester or the crappier parts of London.

    Joyce Lee Malcolm’s book on violence and changes to the law is worth reading as it exhaustively tracks through the murder rates in England and Wales and puts those alongside changes to the criminal law and rules on self defence. However hard folk try to parse the crime stats or make points about reporting of crimes, the evidence seems to be pretty clear: beyond a certain point, gun control does not reduce murder and may even make the likelihood of assault worse, and also increases the likelihood of aggravated burglaries.

  • Paul Marks

    One does not counter the “machine gun” Guy – one counters the person fireing it (by shooting him – one round can deal with him).

    As for people not carrying weapons in ordinary life, not true. Remember a case from British social history – a couple of years before the First World War some policemen were chasing some armed robbers in London. As the policeman were unarmed they were rather concerned about would happen when they caught up with the criminals – so they borrowed some firearms from passers by (no one regarded this as odd at the time).

    As for Canada, I am glad that most people are not registering their firearms – the main reason government has for seeking this information is a plan to confiscate firearms later on (as was done with various types of firearm in Australia).

    As so often “paranoia” turns out to be correct “enternal vigilance in the defence of liberty”.

    It is a pity this November is a midterm election in the United States (although the Democrats may still mess up a natural “mid term blues” advantage) as the disgusting Governor Doyle is up for reelection in Wisconsin – and if he was defeated one of the last State governments to ban “concealed carry” would fall with him (Governor Doyle vetoed a bill to allow the private carrying of firearms in Wisconsin).

    “Concealed carry” is good because it means that criminals can not be sure who is carrying a firearm – so they leave unarmed people alone as well (out of the fear that they might be armed). Contrary to the Hollywood myth, criminals do not tend to be very brave.

  • Andrew Milner

    This happened not because there were too many guns in society, but because there were too few. If more responsible, trained citizens had been carrying the outcome might have been quite different. Could never have happened in UK with all the restrictions on firearms, right. When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns. Banning firearms ownership in UK was, in retrospect, an important and necessary prerequisite to introduction of the Police Super State. Beats me why you guys don’t emigrate. Anyone with any get up and go would have flown the coop ages ago. But perhaps I’ve answered my own question.

  • ‘m afraid I can’t resist the urge to bait gun control zealots (both pro and anti). Guy Herbert reflects my actual opinion, which is that legislation is rather by-the-by when it comes to preventing or encouraging people to kill each other with guns. All of the common arguments on each side have rather glaring counterexamples, as I’ve attempted to trollishly demonstrate above.

    The one argument that’s left out of your list of examples is, however, the winning one: that people have a right to defend themselves. The gun issue and gun policies may be ineffective in some global sense as a crime-reduction policy (though I found Jonathan’s response to your post convincing, especially the bit at the end about how gun control leads to increases in other forms of violent crime), but this is irrelevant to me and my personal right to defend my home from invasion. If someone smashes in my window at night, the last thing I will be interested in is what the general crime rate is and how well the government is controling it. What will matter to me is that I have a gun to even the score and the willingness to use it that makes it effective, and that I am acting with full legal and moral right to defend my life and property when the police are not available to do so. Violent crime happens regardless of government policy. Any one of us could someday be a victim. Taking away a citizen’s best defense in such situations in full knowledge that criminals will blissfully ignore the law — I simply cannot understand how a person of conscience supports such a policy.

  • Guy and J are wrong and Joshua is right. I think Guy’s null hypothesis might well be more or less accurate, but that’s all very pragmatic and not the point. Taking away my means of self defense is wrong.

    It’s bizarre that the only reason I don’t carry a gun is that I’m more afraid of the police than I am of criminals.

    Anyway, I heard some radio interviews of the people at that Canadian shooting and they were all people who had run away to safety until the police “eventually” arrived. M4-10 is right. I don’t know why no-one didn’t shoot back. Is carrying a gun for self defense illegal in Canada? If so, and it was me, I’d have something to say about the people who prevented me from shooting back.

  • Rather than revelling in “I told you so!” arguments, has anyone found verifiable stats regarding the number of “nutter goes off his head, shoots lots of people” incidents in Canada, versus the USA?

    In the interest of logical debate I would be interested to know whether or not the event being discussed is typical enough (pro-rata per-capita?) to warrant equating Canada and the USA with regard to such events.

    Sorry to be a spoilsport, but I studied statistics in quite some depth, and am not easily convinced by “but it happens there too!” arguments.

  • mike

    Well said Joshua. Except I wouldn’t be thinking about my legal right (or otherwise) to use firearms if someone were to break into my home.

    I’d rather successfully defend my family and property at the risk of a jail sentance than risk the death of my family and violation of property in the hope of avoiding a jail sentance.

  • ramster

    well said alecm. before everyone runs of formulating grand ideologically theories based on anecdote (oops…too late), here’s some data:

    gun deaths per 100000 people
    Canada: 2.7 (2002 data, source RCMP/Canadian Firearms Centre)
    USA: 10.3 (2003 data, source CDC)

    Interestingly, the fraction of these deaths caused by homicides (as opposed to suicude or accidents) is 38% in the US and 18% in Canada (so the firearm homicide rate in the US is 8 times that of Canada). Most non-homicides in both countries are suicudes (the number of accidents is pretty small in both countries).

    I’m inclined to think that gun control laws don’t make much difference. I think Canada has more gun control than the US because Canadians are less violent than Americans and hence they like the idea of gun control. Gun control is an effect, not a cause.

    As to why Americans are more violent than Canadians, who the hell knows. All I know is that as a Canadian, I find the idea of a heavily armed populace bizarre and undesireable (though I do consider gun control in general and the Canadian firearms registry in particular to be highly dubious exercises). However, I cheerfully accept Americans’ desire to blow each other away to their hearts’ content.

  • Midwesterner

    ramster,

    Since the USA has an extremely varied mixture of gun laws, you need to factor out crime from areas of the US that are gun banned. Essentially, the vast majority of gun crime occurs in citys which are gun banned. Places like Washington DC, Chicago, etc, etc.

    To get a more accurate picture, you need to compare crime in areas of the US where private citizens may carry concealed weapons with crime in Canada.

    I’m not sure if this data is available from our government sources and it would need to come from second party sources that process government raw data. Does anyone out there know of any?

  • ramster – As if you or anyone else here doesn’t know why the US is more violent than Canada. Next you’re going to say you don’t know why Toronto has more violent gangs than it used to or why Detroit has more homocides per capita than Portland. I realise you don’t want to get banned but the “Soviet-speak” is really uncalled for.

  • Midwesterner: To get a more accurate picture, you need to compare crime in areas of the US where private citizens may carry concealed weapons with crime in Canada..

    That *can* be done, but then for balance would you not have to compare the rates of gun crime in US cities where guns are banned (you cite: Washington DC, Chicago…) with, for instance London?

    Or would that be a comparison too different?

  • Paul Marks

    America, it seems to be claimed, has more firearms (per head) than Canada and has more “gun crime” – therefore there should be “gun control”.

    Well a racist would say “the United States has more blacks than Canada and more violent crime – therefore there should be negro control, they should be banned”.

    Neither “argument” is valid.

  • guy herbert

    Rob Fisher:

    Taking away my means of self defense is wrong.

    I didn’t suggest it was right. I did and do suggest that the pseudo-pragmatic claim that “having guns makes us safer,” particularly beloved of American anti-gun-control advocates is probably either wrong or not so right that it will ever be made plausibly above the noise of other effects. (Those states that support agrressive gun-holding, tend also to be the most punitive, and are demographically different to the gun-unfriendly ones.) I agree that utilitarian arguments are unsatisfactory, but I submit that they can no more easily support a claim to a “right” any more than they can set it aside.

    I do think people ought to be entitled to own guns; and I do think they ought to be entitled to defend themselves – using a gun if it is reasonable to do so in the circumstances.

    However, I don’t want a gun. It seems to me about as much a waste of space and money as an espresso machine – with a few extra chances of serious injury.

  • Midwesterner

    I don’t know, Guy. Our neighbors house burned down on Christmas Eve a few years ago. The fire dept was able to extinguish it with enough evidence left to establish it was the automatic coffee maker what did it. Just goes to show that automatic weapons coffeemakers are even more dangerous. :)

    alecm, that would establish the difference in background crime tendencies of each city. (I’m assuming London also has strict gun laws.) And that could actually also be useful and interesting data. But, the question I am addressing is the effect gun laws of various degrees have on crime rates. To get a true picture of US crime in low gun restriction areas, we have to remove high gun restriction area data from the set.

  • ramster

    midwesterner, I would certainly expect that there is more gun crime in cities in the US but I question whether there’s a big variation in per capita rates…hmm let’s go find data in mod-comment…here’s some great data. it shows death stats (firearm, drowning, whatever) at county or state resolution.

    http://webappa.cdc.gov/cdc_mxt3/

    I took a look at state level stats for firearm homicides (hence omitting suicides and accidental shootings). Some states with big cities (New York, Penn, Michigan, Florida, Texas and California) were in the range above the median but below the 75th percentile. However, almost all the states between the 75th and 100th percentiles (i.e. the real gun totin loonies) are in the old confederacy (the others in the 75-100 range are Nevada, Arizona, Illinois and Maryland, of all places). The most peaceful places seemto be the great plains, New England and the Pacific Northwest.

    Now I don’t know much about gun laws in the US but my wild ass, dumb foreigner speculation is that the southern states, Nevada and Arizona don’t exactly have the strictest gun laws. I continue to suspect that gun laws don’t make any difference and that the presence (or absence) of strict gun control is a lagging, not a leading indicator about the violence of a place.

  • Midwesterner

    ramster, it’s been a while since I’ve been into CDC.gov.

    It’s looking a lot more usable. I did find this interesting finding which leads me to suspect politics considering that, like most long established goverment bureacracies, CDC leans left. Go down to document page 15, (pdf page 17) and look. In our decades of contention over gun laws, countless jurisdictions trying these differnent ‘interventions’ and of eleven possible interventions, in all eleven cases – all of them, the CDC bureaucrats reached the conclusion “evidence insufficient”. I gotta say, that raises my eyebrow just a little bit.

    They appear to be telling us that all of these over a century’s worth of gun laws have been enacted without one shred of supporting evidence. Can that really be?

  • Max

    One of my friends is a lawyer (OK, I’m not careful about my choice of friends.) who does some pro bono work in a big city court system in the U.S.A. What he sees is that there are far more guns in our suburban environment (collecters, hunters, target shooters) than in the city. However, while gun crime is non existent in our suburban area it is rampant in the city.

    So, where are these guys getting guns? Answer: They rent them. Guns are rented out, with ammunition by some neighborhood entrepeneur. One gun acounts for a lot of crimes.

    By the way, those who express an opinion on “American” crime rates or whatever are manifestly ignorant in presuming that America is a monolithic culture/economy/climate/etc. There is more variation across the U.S. than across Europe. The U.S. just had a common currency earlier.

  • kentuckyliz

    Quit using that doublespeak term “gun control” and use the correct, accurate term “victim disarmament.”

  • Guy, J, etc
    I live in New Hampshire, the Free State. We have possibly the 2nd or 3rd most liberal gun laws in the entire US. Our southern border is only a 45 minute drive from Boston, and we are 3 hours from New York City. The crime ridden hellhole of Lawrence, MA is almost smack on our border. The only gun free zones in this state are the courts.

    While our state is about 96% white (allegedly the 2nd most white state in the nation), this is not for lack of trying, as our Ivy League and other universities still practice affirmative action admission policies, and EEOC polices apply to hiring and leasing.

    Beyond that, the largest domestic manufacturer of firearms is located here (Sturm, Ruger), with 1100 employees in its primary facility. Employees enjoy a generous employee gun purchase program, such that local prices for Ruger firearms are depressed compared to the national average.

    Despite all of these factors which the left wings conventional wisdom says should result in sky high crime rates, NH is the safest state in the nation, with property crime rates several times lower than Britain and a murder rate slightly less than Britain.

    Criminals in Massachusetts simply don’t come across the border, for the most part, and when they do, it is to target individuals who they know are unarmed (asian gangs doing home invasions on asian families, for instance). This border jumping does account for most of our minimal violent crime.

    Conversely, cities like Washington DC, Chicago, New Orleans, LA, etc, which have much more stringent gun laws, have much higher rates of gun crime, as well as much higher rates of other crime as well.

    Meanwhile, the UN Human Rights Commission had decided that the right to self defense is a right only posessed by states (gag, cough) and not by individuals, because *to kill in self defense violates the right to life of their attacker*. Now, you and I know how much we give a damn about what the UN has to say, but this is the mentality that we are dealing with here, idiots who cannot get through their noggins that a criminal in commission of a crime is not merely a person *accused* of a crime by the state which the state did not witness, but affirmatively is engaged in the act when the victim exercises their self defense rights. A criminal in the act does not enjoy any “rights of the accused”.

    One of the distinctions between the US, Switzerland, and Sweden is in the latter two instances, citizens don’t really have much of a choice in the matter. Here in the US, citizens have the right to choose to be armed or not, so this does not breed the idea that the citizens need to be told what to do.

    I will note that much of our violent crime happens where guns are not allowed: big cities, airliners, schools, etc. The 9-11 hijackers succeeded specifically because the FAA restricts Americans right to fly armed without lawful justification.

    Then you have the issue of counting suicides and attempted suicides as criminal acts, here.

  • Paul

    “… pseudo-pragmatic claim that “having guns makes us safer,”

    Well, in forty years of reading up to 5 newspapers a day, and now a online addict, I have never, ever, once heard of someone robbing a known cop bar, or a real serious biker bar. Wonder why that is?

    I have to admit reading of gun stores being robbed, but never successfully.

    I’m ex Special Forces as are my like trained friends of Marines, State cops and such. We all are of the opinion that some training and a gun is safer than with out. Most of us have given females guns and basic instructions beginning with, ‘use it, and keep shooting.’ None of feel that an honest person going about their life is threatened anymore than pedestrians walking past armed cops. So, I guess you could say that those who swim in a sea of guns disagree with the left, politicians, Hitler, Mao and some Canadians.

  • Tedd McHenry

    Mark my words, law-abiding Canadians will be as disarmed as Brits and Aussies within a year.

    Quenton:

    I understand where you’re coming from, but you’ve overstated your case. Canada has had many such shooting sprees in the past and, although we have more restrictive gun laws than the U.S., they are still probably more liberal than in many other western countries. Also, we presently have a Conservative government that is at least mildly opposed to the gun registry and would probably rather return to the pre-registry gun-control regime.

    I grant you that the anti-gun lobby will exploit this spree as much as they can. And they will probably prevail, in the end. But it will take much longer than a year.

  • Midwesterner

    Well, we need to bear arms because
    only the worlds most heavily armed populations, Sweden and Switzerland,
    are free of the oppressive hand of Big Gover — no, that’s not it
    either. We need guns because otherwise we won’t be able to defend our
    property, like the Japanese — argh, darnit.

    said “J”, a self proclaimed troll, putting up a string of non statements intended to ridicule gun rights advocates without actually making a challangeable statement.

    On this page, look at document page 13, (pdf page 9). Citing Sweden was meaningless as it’s in the top 1/5 for freedom which probably corresponds to its placement for having weapons of personal defense. On the other hand, Switzerland undeniably does have a lot of weapons of all kinds. But, what’s that? Switzerland is tied for third on the freedom rankings? I guess that would be “oppressive hand of Big Gover — ” “J” is implying but not really saying.

    And, speaking of Japan, a lot of people, some in good faith, some with the deliberate intent to deceive, use Japan as an example of how it’s possible to be safe without guns. Before you believe them, you may want to consider the Japanese version of safety in light of this, from here

    Japan — Citizens have fewer protections of the right to privacy, and fewer rights for criminal suspects, than in America. Every person is the subject of a police dossier. Japanese police routinely search citizens at will and twice a year pay “home visits” to citizens` residences. Suspect confession rate is 95% and trial conviction rate is more than 99.9%. The Tokyo Bar Assn. has said that the Japanese police routinely engage in torture or illegal treatment. Even in cases where suspects claimed to have been tortured and their bodies bore the physical traces to back their claims, courts have still accepted their confessions. Amnesty International calls Japan`s police custody system “a flagrant violation of United Nations human rights principles.” Suspects can be held and interrogated for 28 days without being brought before a judge, compared with no more than two days in many other nations. They aren`t allowed legal counsel during interrogation, when in custody may be visited by only criminal defense lawyers, are not allowed to read confessions before they sign them, and have no right to trial by jury. (Kopel, 1991, pp. 23-26.)

  • Midwesterner is right on about Japan. The police are only the tip of the iceberg, really. They come by your house once or twice a year to catch up on gossip, etc. – but there are also neighborhood associations that watch you constantly. Police visits to most people’s houses are mere formalities – but they’ll spend hours a week talking to the neighborhood old woman gossip queen. You find that people you’ve never met know how much beer you bought at the store last week. It’s unbelievably creepy, but all done so politely and sincerely that it becomes “normal” in a surprisingly short amount of time.

    As for police brutality, however, I never heard of any. In fact, there was a bus hijacking while I was there that dominated the nightly news for roughly a week. The police finally decided to throw in some kind of a smoke bomb, storm the bus, take out the hijackers (disgruntled high school kids — who else?), and rescue the hostages. I’m not saying this would have been uncontroversial in the US, exactly, but I can’t imagine it taking a week for the decision to come (a bus isn’t exactly the Waco compound). And the criticism that followed in the media was simply unbelievable. Talk show after talk show went on and on about the police action, and the general conclusion was that this was something terrible. Maybe this sort of reaction is because they’re Japanese and know something we don’t about what goes on behind closed doors in prisons, etc. – but for me the American it was definitely one of those “man, this place is foreign” moments.

  • guy herbert

    Mike Lorrey:

    The 9-11 hijackers succeeded specifically because the FAA restricts Americans right to fly armed without lawful justification.

    Not so. 4 men armed with small knives could not seize control of an aircraft full of active resisters. They succeeded much more specifically because of the standard procedures to deal with hijacks, which were until 9/11 not to resist, keep calm, and wait for the plane to land, when well-established methods of negotiation would be brought to bear. That protocol would never now be followed, even if it were in effect. Hijackers (as opposed to simple bombers) have since ceased to exist.

    Paul:

    I have never, ever, once heard of someone robbing a known cop bar, or a real serious biker bar. Wonder why that is?

    For the same reason. Open bars of any kind are robbed astonishingly rarely in Britain, BTW. I can think of only one case in a decade. Which, if you like anecdote, perhaps supports the utilitarian case for gun bans.

    I submit that robbers mainly rely on their aggression producing psychological domination, not on superior firepower. A robbery with any resistence at all is a failure. The fact that armed people are likely to be present may be less important than that those are people without inhibitions about fighting back – cops because they are trained to, and used to semi-immunity; bikers because the culture is founded on mutual defense against outsiders regardless of proportion.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    I submit that robbers mainly rely on their aggression producing psychological domination, not on superior firepower.

    Absolutely. At the moment, householders live in the mindset that says, “If a guy bursts into your house, hope for the best, dial 999 (if you are in England), wait for the cops to arrive. Please do not defend yourself as you may wind up in jail. Have a nice evening.”

    Yep, that is the mindset that allows burglars to put one up psychologically on their victims. If householders were allowed to defend their property with deadly force, ie, blow the fuckers away, it might just equalise the scales a bit.

  • guy herbert

    Joshua,

    Maybe this sort of reaction is because they’re Japanese and know something we don’t about what goes on behind closed doors in prisons,

    My understanding is that Japanese prisons are astonishingly severe, but not in anything like the gang-dominated brutality of the US/Brazilian/Turkish approach or the arbitrary officialdom and myth of rehabilitation in Britain. The Japanese regard the role of prison as to ‘restore’ a proper sense of social compliance and conformity in the prisoner.

    On the whole I think there is a lot to be said for the Japanese understanding. Prisons in the West also inculcate social values in their inmates, but not realising that they do so, carelessly reproduce and amplify criminal culture (suffused in some places with a social-worker’s facility in the language of victimhood). I’m not keen on complete conformity as the Japanese are; and I think the beatings, humiliation, and demands for total obedience and subservience to warders, used to get it are unacceptible (and on hardened criminals with an interior model of endurance probably counterproductive). One standard Japanese technique that I would consider adopting is to isolate all prisoners until they’ve learned to behave in some basic ways, so that prison culture is not simply a reinforcement of the underclass worldview brought in from the outside. A prison system that sets out to teach criminals to think and behave like normal members of society – and understand life in the same ways – has some chance of being part of the solution rather than part of the problem.

  • A prison system that sets out to teach criminals to think and behave like normal members of society – and understand life in the same ways – has some chance of being part of the solution rather than part of the problem.

    I’m agnostic about whether prisons should be part of the solution – mostly, I guess, because I don’t really think there is a(n acceptable) “solution.” Prisons for me are just about getting known anti-socials off the streets. But I agree that at a minimum they should try not to exacerbate the problem, as they do in the US.

    One standard Japanese technique that I would consider adopting is to isolate all prisoners until they’ve learned to behave in some basic ways, so that prison culture is not simply a reinforcement of the underclass worldview brought in from the outside.

    I agree. This makes a lot of sense, doesn’t smack of over-optimistic psychobabble, and seems like a minimal sort of thing that prisons could do. It would cost a bit more, but more in the form of an initial investment (in prison structures that could accomodate) than in perpetual maintenence fees. And prisons just happen to be one of those things the government actually is responsible for maintaining, so it’s not the same as increasing spending on medicare (which isn’t to say BigGuv bureaucrats are free to spend ad libido on prisons either, just that arguments for increases in funding for prisons are not automatically irrelevant ).

  • Midwesterner

    Guy, if you read what I quoted, it was not about prisoners in prison. It was about suspects being forced to ‘confess’. We had a case of authorities knowingly created convictions without evidence in the Illinois and it created a huge upstir. It changed the outcome of elections and caused the governor to commute a load of death penalties.

    While conditions for our convicted criminals may be deplorable in the US, it is never acceptable outside the enforcement community to frame someone or force a false confession.

    These are two entirely different matters philosophically, practically. and morally.

  • Midwesterner

    Johnathan, you understand better than I would expect from someone in the UK.

    Yep, that is the mindset that allows burglars to put one up psychologically on their victims. If householders were allowed to defend their property with deadly force, ie, blow the fuckers away, it might just equalise the scales a bit.

    If a burgler breaks into an occupied house on my road, in at least 1/3 of them he will become a repository for varying quantities of lead. But he doesn’t know which 1/3 to avoid. Therefor, if a burgler unexpectedly encounters me in the course of his ‘work’, he’s the one who’s terrified.

    This is so much the case in most parts of the US that if someone knowingly breaks into an occupied house, everyone knows that the person in the house, not the property, was the target. Police accordingly respond very rapidly when there is a call from someone about an intruder in the house. Paradoxically, it seems response times are slowest where gun restrictions are highest.

  • Andrew Milner

    Well into my third decade in Japan, and I can advise that providing you are Caucasian and can get into character as an “English gentleman”, authority gives you a pretty easy time. Ages ago, one cop that dropped in for a chat, actually let me handle his S&W to see if was the same type I was familiar with. I am not making this up. Then some SforB Brit kid thug just off the boat took a swing at me for riding my bike on the pavement. That’s what everyone does here. Unfortunately for him he did it in front of the local “koban” (police office). His feet did not touch the ground on the way to the slammer. Guess it was the apology in triplicate routine for him. But if he gave the cops any lip, he’d be nursing a fat lip. I mean what’s the point of a police state when you can’t walk the streets in safety? So it’s all about you. I’d prefer to take my chances with the police in say Myanmar (Burma in BBC speak) than the UK. My “English idiot” act (“I say, you chaps are doing a splendid job. Keep up the good work” or alternatively “Take me to your leader”) gives local police the chance to show off their English speaking skills. All about face.

  • Well into my third decade in Japan, and I can advise that providing you are Caucasian and can get into character as an “English gentleman”, authority gives you a pretty easy time. Ages ago, one cop that dropped in for a chat, actually let me handle his S&W to see if was the same type I was familiar with. I am not making this up.

    I think they’re pretty nice to the locals too. My (Japanese) friends were routinely stopped for drunk driving and let off with warnings after giving “sincere” (= very polite) apologies. And by “let off” I mean “allowed to drive home” even (the cops followed, of course, to make sure no one came to harm). You can go to the police station and borrow pocket money if you need it for the bus or vending machine or whatever (there was even an article in the Yomiuri about it, about how the rates of people bothering to return these loans had dropped significantly since the 1960s), and they provide free boxed lunches (though not, I suspect, to people who try this daily) to people who (claim they) can’t get anything to eat. Japan is without a doubt a hard-core police state, but it’s also easily the friendliest, fairest, most “livable” one in history. This isn’t an endorsement by any means, just giving credit where it’s due.

    Of course, I have black friends with a very different impression of the Japanese police, so Andrew’s comment about being caucasian isn’t an incidental detail.

  • Paul Marks

    On New Hampshire:

    Manchester is a designated refugee centre – so watch out for the future (the city has also passed the 100, 000 population mark which means some other things may start to apply).

    Free migration is one thing – but subsidies and government programs are another.

    However, the history of New Hampshire is good – I believe that it was New Hampshire that pressed the hardest for what became the 2nd Amendment (although the final drafting of the Bill of Rights is mainly the work of James Madison of Virginia – at least so my memory tells me). The artcle in the New Hampshire Constitution reminding people of the right of revolution is also worth remembering.

    Then was that little bit of fun statism (there can be such a thing) back in the 1970’s – “liberals” had got into the habit of tapeing over the “Live Free or Die” (from General Stark I believe) State motto on car licence plates. The leftists were prosecuted for defacing public property (a nice irony).

    Of course, as has often been said, people who do not think that firearms deter crime are welcome to put up “This is a gun free home” signs in their windows – odd how few of these people do this.

  • Then was that little bit of fun statism (there can be such a thing) back in the 1970’s – “liberals” had got into the habit of tapeing over the “Live Free or Die” (from General Stark I believe) State motto on car licence plates. The leftists were prosecuted for defacing public property (a nice irony).

    Of course, as has often been said, people who do not think that firearms deter crime are welcome to put up “This is a gun free home” signs in their windows – odd how few of these people do this.

    HAHAHA! These are rich!!!

    The irony of leftists being prosecuted for defacing state property indeed! There’s also the irony of them admitting, thereby, in public that they do not really believe in freedom. Nice.

    As for the thing about the sign, I’ve never in my life heard this suggestion made to anyone in a debate, but it’s a nice comeback, and I’m going to start using it, thanks (and since I’m a graduate student, I should have daily opportunities).

  • Midwesterner

    Much as I respect and admire (and learn from) Paul Marks, I never expected him to have the best punch line of the week. “This is a gun free home.”

    Priceless. I can’t wait to suggest it next time I’m in (stark raving) Madison, Wisconsin AKA Berkeley-Central.

  • Jerry

    Midwesterner, not to detract from Paul Marks in any way, this is an OLD ‘premise’.

    Following is a typical ‘encounter’ !

    You don’t believe in guns ?
    Fine, put ‘there are NO firarms in this home’ on your front door ! I’ll even make the sign for you !!

    At this point, the sputtering/back peddling starts.

    But but but …….

    Follow up with –

    That is EXACTLY the sign YOU want to put on MY front door by outlawing firarms.

    Did it ever dawn on you that perhaps your home isn’t invaded because it MIGHT have firearms and ( as someone else above mentioned ) the thieves aren’t quite sure which ones do and which don’t ??

    Try this and see what happens. It may not convince anyone to rethink there position but they do tend to walk away muttering under their breath !!!

  • Midwesterner

    ( as someone else above mentioned )

    Actually, Jerry, that was me that said that.

    I’ve been arguing for fire arm rights all of my adult life and doing it in Madison on occasion and have not heard that line before.

    I did not say Paul created that argument, he himself says not. What I am saying is that I always prepare for very thoughtful, usually hard hitting and serious writing from Paul, not a one-liner that leaves me laughing out loud. While he is often funny in a subtle way, it’s nice to see some outright humor from him.