Freedom and evil


I tend to favour more freedom and less government. My critics favour more government, because they think that people, if left to their own devices, will behave badly and create misery and injustice.


Those of us who believe in freedom do need to answer questions about what should happen when people perform evil deeds, when society is marred by evil features. I am not a freedom lover as a result of having a starry eyed view of the moral good of all men and women left to their own devices. I have read enough history to know that evil stalks the planet and has often disfigured the past. I have had enough encounters with unpleasant people to know that we cannot rely all the time on the assumption that left to themselves people will always do the decent and correct thing.

That same combination of reading history and reflecting on personal experience has also taught me that we cannot rely on government, on the exercise of state power, to correct and prevent all the wrongs that people may wish to do. Sometimes government is well intentioned, but ineffective. Large extra quantities of banking regulation did not prevent or lessen the crisis of 2007-8. Gun controls in Norway and the UK have not prevented some mass murders by people using weapons. Sometimes government itself attracts people who wish to use its power for bad ends. Governments can be corrupted by power and by evil officials and politicians. The Nazi state and the Stalinist Soviet state were just the most public dreadful examples of how much harm a rotten state can do if it puts its mind to it. Better intentioned democratic states can make errors of judgement or employ evil people who commit crimes under cover of the state whilst breaking its rules.

It sounds as if the USA in the wake of the recent tragedy will embark on a new debate around gun control. I am not going to intrude in their argument. It is for US democracy to settle the issue. The natural reaction after such an event is to recoil in horror, and to demand that the state does something to stop it happening again. The US will decide what, if anything, that something should be. I can understand those who say they must try gun control, because it might remove some evil people from access to guns. I can understand others saying mass murderers may get a gun permit before they murder, or they might buy illicit guns.

The problem most of us have is we cannot understand why someone would want to shoot so many people. We do not know how to identify people likely to carry out such a deed. We respond either by condemning them as pure evil, or by saying they are mentally ill and in need of restraint and treatment. Usually the authorities are spared the question of what to do with them, as they kill themselves at the scene of their crimes. In Norway a mass murderer was imprisoned. In jurisdictions with the death penalty if one survived he or she would probably be executed.

The truth is a free society is open to abuse and worse by the bad and the mad. All agree we need a rule of law. The bad break those laws. We actively debate how much law we need, and how free we can leave people to do as they will. Deterrence is the better part of enforcement. Some people by their evil or their madness put themselves beyond the power of the state to deter or to punish. That is what makes it so hard to understand, so hard for the grieving families to bear, and so hard for the rest of us to respond.

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  1. lifelogic
    Posted December 16, 2012 at 6:40 am | Permalink

    Wiki tell me there were 52,447 deliberate and 23,237 accidental non-fatal gunshot injuries in the United States during 2000. The majority of gun-related deaths in the United States are suicides with 17,352 (55.6%) of the total 31,224 firearm-related deaths in 2007 due to suicide, while 12,632 (40.5%) were homicide deaths.

    The gun death rate in the UK is thankfully only about one 1/36th of this rate per head. One cannot help think that much of this is due to the relative lack guns availability. A mad man with a knife, or even a shotgun, is likely to cause fewer deaths than one with an automatic gun. If he has to find an illegal gun it is an extra barrier to his crime and an opportunity to catch him, before the murder is committed.

    I too am usually in favour of freedom and crimes by the state can indeed by horrendous.
    Nevertheless, surely some of those horrendous US deaths could be prevented by better gun controls – certainly the many accidental ones would if nothing else. I also think the general level of violence on video games, films, the interned and the likes contributes greatly to sending some vulnerable people over the edge of sanity.

    • APL
      Posted December 16, 2012 at 9:25 am | Permalink

      lifelogic: “One cannot help think that much of this is due to the relative lack guns availability.”

      Guns are freely available in this country, go to the right place in any of the larger conurbations and for a stiff fee you can have yourself a operational weapon. As is bourn witness by the gun crime statistics, criminals who choose to break the law are hardly likely to worry if they break one law or two!

      lifelogic: “A mad man with a knife, or even a shotgun, … ”

      And a mad man (or woman) with a car or driving a lorry or bus could cause as much mayhem and death on your average high street as a maniac with a gun. It’s all down to the imagination and ingenuity of the terrorist, as we found out during the 7/7 London attacks.

      By the way, in China recently a man has walked into a school and stabbed twenty children, no guns, and consequently not so much hysterical publicity.

      Lifelogic: “an opportunity to catch him, ”

      Which judging by the gun crime statistics, handguns being illegal and all, the police pass on that opportunity, or it doesn’t actually exist.

      Normally, LL I agree with much that you say, but this time you are wrong in the conclusions you draw.

      Lifelogic: “sending some vulnerable people over the edge of sanity.”

      These murderers, Michael Ryan, Thomas Hamilton, the madmen in the US are predominantly inadequate low achieving males, Anders Breivik for instance apparently suffered significant abuse at the hands of his mother all through his childhood, his parents were divorced. This will very likely have affected his personality during his formative years.

      (goes on to attribute blame without evidence and in a very contentious way-ed)

      • zorro
        Posted December 16, 2012 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

        After Dunblane and the resultant restrictions gun crime doubled in the UK by 2003…..


        • lifelogic
          Posted December 17, 2012 at 11:10 am | Permalink

          Yes but strong gun laws were already in place and only strengthened somewhat. Gun availability is one of may factors but it surely helps prevent some gun use.

        • uanime5
          Posted December 17, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

          Is that crimes per thousand people or overall crimes? If the latter than could this be because of the larger population since 1996?

        • Derek W
          Posted December 17, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

          When you mentioned Dunblane when infants were massacred, the attention was only on the guns Hamilton owned.I wonder if ‘Dunblane’ could be re=visited with a different set of judges who would take into account the Savile inquiry amongst other considerations.A 100 years embargo is still rather strange and yet our vociferous media were very subdued.

          • zorro
            Posted December 17, 2012 at 11:10 pm | Permalink

            I would certainly like to take notes at that enquiry….


      • APL
        Posted December 17, 2012 at 10:30 am | Permalink

        JR: “(goes on to attribute blame without evidence and in a very contentious way-ed)”

        Mr Redwood, there are many factors contributing to the rise of lone male mass murder, I agree no one factor should be looked at as the cause, but you are wrong to disregard the impact that the movement I identified may be having on this type of event.

        Reply: I just do not know enough to be able to stand up your point.

    • Cliff. Wokingham.
      Posted December 16, 2012 at 10:48 am | Permalink


      I personally am not a fan of guns but, given your remarks regarding the number of guns and their improper use in the USA, how do you explain the fact that although Switzerland have one of the largest number of guns per capita in the world, they do not appear to have the same problems as the USA? Is it a problem of the USA’s culture or social structure? Is it just sections of the USA’s population that has the problem? Are we going the same way in our major population centres? Is it more common within certain communities within those population centres/cities?

      I favour smaller government but, society has to have a set of rules and a clear sense of morality in order to function well. At a basic level, we all surender some of our freedoms in order to live within the protection of the state. In the past, that sense of morality was set through the churches however, today the church, in all its guises, plays far less of a role in many people’s lives as people have moved away from traditional religions. Now the state tries to set out what is and is not moral; for example, through equality legislation, the “fairness” agenda, propaganda on tax avoidance etc: Is this type of role for government, a good or bad thing and can it be open to abuse by politically motivated politicians and are we already seeing the fruits of such action?

      Note to our lefties and secularists: I do NOT think that the church alone has a monopoly on morality and that societies could not set out their own sense of morality, I am merely saying that we have been a Christian country for many decades and that as we, as a society, have turned away from the Christian churches, so our society has declined. I do not know whether this is a coincidence or not: as a Catholic, I have my opinion, but this is not the place for such a discussion.

      • uanime5
        Posted December 16, 2012 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

        Switzerland has one of the largest number of guns per capita in the world because they have a militia rather than an army. Perhaps if everyone in the USA had to pass military training in order possess an assault rifle (soldiers don’t use hand guns, even though they’re easier to conceal) the might have fewer crimes.

        Unsure when the people of the UK started turning away from Christianity. Was it when:

        1) People didn’t go to church every Sunday.
        2) When people started eating meat on a Friday and women didn’t apologise for giving birth (giving birth was considered part of the original sin).
        3) During the Age of Enlightenment when people started questioning religion.
        4) When the Bible was translated from Latin into English (very controversial).
        5) When Britain adopted Protestantism rather than Catholicism (Protestants weren’t considered Christians by the Pope when this happened).

        Depending on how you define what it means to be a Christian causes the length of time the UK has turned away from Christianity to vary from years to centuries.

        • Cliff. Wokingham
          Posted December 17, 2012 at 11:01 am | Permalink


          More semantics…Sigh.

          I am sure you know what I mean.

          I would suggest that people attending Christian churches on a regular basis diminished rapidly in the last thirty years. I would also suggest that this timescale coincides with the increase in the size of the state; in other words, as the state increased its influence, so the influence of the church diminished. I have no intention of debating with you whether this is a good or bad thing.

          The Holy Father decreed that Catholics no longer had to give up meat on Fridays but, some other act of contiction should be performed. Last year, The Holy Father suggested that Catholics should consider re-adopting the no meat on Friday practice.

          The Catholic church teaches that pain in child birth is a consequence of original sin, not child birth itself.

          This country became protestant when the King wanted to do something the church taught was immoral. He created his own church with him at the head. We have a saying in the Catholic church: We have a sortage of those that want to be priests but no shortage of those that want to be Pope. Henry VIII was a devout Catholic and both a friend and a major benefactor to the Pope before he was no longer prepared to accept all the rules of the club.

          Personally, I would like to see the end of the link between the established church and the state and see the UK become a secular society however, I do feel that the heavy hand of the state, often on politically motivated ideological grounds, should not use the law to force people and organisations to act contary to their moral teachings and faith: For example; I do not think it would be right for the state to force medical staff to take part in abortion proceedures and I think it was very short sighted for Mr Blairs government to force Catholic adoption agencies to go against their church’s moral teachings which has led to children suffering because, Catholic adoption services were far more successful than those of the state.

      • zorro
        Posted December 16, 2012 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

        You make some good points with regards to Switzerland and the high incidence of firearms available. It is totalitarian socialist wannabe countries which want to control ownership of guns and disarm the populace because they are far easier to control. The Nazis did it before their attack on the Jews.


    • MickC
      Posted December 16, 2012 at 10:56 am | Permalink

      There are no gun controls for criminals-only for the law abiding.

      Should I choose to do so, I could have an AK47 within an hour.

      • StevenL
        Posted December 17, 2012 at 1:43 am | Permalink

        What nice friends you must have.

    • John B
      Posted December 16, 2012 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

      You overlook that the USA is by population five times bigger than the UK and the latter does not have the same large population densities in cities with their mutually hostile, ghettoised, multiple ethnic, gang culture, mostly linked to drugs, and many of the shooting are in those war zones.

      Of course under such circumstances per capita shooting rates will be higher since there is a bigger population able and willing to use guns.

      Separate gang/drug related shootings and then see what per capita rate you get for the rest of the population.

      So called gun control would make no difference there, as indeed it has not in the UK’s much smaller gang/drugs warfare.

      • zorro
        Posted December 16, 2012 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

        Some interesting statistics on Wikipedia…….’In 2009, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, 66.9% of all homicides in the United States were perpetrated using a firearm. There were 52,447 deliberate and 23,237 accidental non-fatal gunshot injuries in the United States during 2000. The majority of gun-related deaths in the United States are suicides, with 17,352 (55.6%) of the total 31,224 firearm-related deaths in 2007 due to suicide, while 12,632 (40.5%) were homicide deaths.’


        • John Doran
          Posted December 19, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

          A society is truly sick when it has suicides on this scale.

    • Bazman
      Posted December 16, 2012 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

      I find it hard to believe you are against the freedom of choice for every citizen to own at least one battle field weapon in their house to defend themselves. The next thing you will be talking about is axe controls. leading to the banning of unhealthy foods and regulation haircuts. Thin end of the very thick nanny state wedge.

      • Edward
        Posted December 16, 2012 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

        Bazman, a very cheap political point, inappropriately made.

        • Bazman
          Posted December 17, 2012 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

          I don’t need you to run at me from the high moral ground. That for sure.

          • Edward
            Posted December 17, 2012 at 11:49 pm | Permalink

            Oh I think you do

      • APL
        Posted December 16, 2012 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

        Bazman: “I find it hard to believe you are against the freedom of choice for every citizen to own at least one battle field weapon in their house to defend themselves.”

        That was funny Bazman!

      • cosmic
        Posted December 16, 2012 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

        The first sensible post of yours I’ve come acros although I’ve no doubt it was tongue in cheek.

    • libertarian
      Posted December 16, 2012 at 3:06 pm | Permalink


      Please explain how gun control would have prevented 9/11 or the Oklahoma bomber etc. Its all too easy to ban things but if you stand back and look its not as simple as that. We’ve had gun controls in the United Kingdom for many many years, how did that stop the IRA ? The biggest single murderous death tolls have been caused by aeroplanes ( 9/11, Lockerbie etc etc), should they be banned?

      Meanwhile Switzerland has one of the highest gun owneships and lowest gun murder rates.

      Sometimes there is very little that can be done to prevent these awful acts. Banning one thing will lead to a different approach next time.

      Having said all that attacking schools seems to be a phenomena that seems to me to require some deep analysis and investigation. Why ? what is it that the perpetuator seeks to achieve. My guess would be maximum publicity and a lasting legacy of infamy by slaughtering innocents.

      I’m not trying to support the gun lobby here either I just think that the knee jerk banning reaction is a pointless argument and is missing the point of WHY these things happen in order to focus entirely on HOW

      • uanime5
        Posted December 16, 2012 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

        I thought the IRA got guns from the Republic of Ireland, which had far more lax gun controls.

        Switzerland has a militia and they won’t give an assault rifle to anyone who doesn’t pass their training.

        • APL
          Posted December 17, 2012 at 10:11 am | Permalink

          uanime5: “I thought the IRA got guns from the Republic of Ireland, which had far more lax gun controls.”

          You mean the Republican government sympathized with the aims of the terrorist Republican movement?

          • John Doran
            Posted December 19, 2012 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

            If only it were that simple U5.
            The IRA were basically a (left wing) organisation, funded (in part) by sentimental Americans of Irish heritage until massacres like Omagh pushed them beyond the pale.

            They were also funded with shedloads of money & shiploads of arms by the troublemaker Ghaddafi in Libya.

            (Members of the IRA and the militant loyalist organisaitons sometimes resorted to crime to pay for their violent activities-ed)

            The Southern government, & most of the southern population would dearly like to see a united Ireland,(which will never happen) but they do not want to see children slaughtered.

            The Irish problem can be traced back to just after the Norman invasion, if you wish.

            It can certainly be seen as a problem when Henry VIII turned England Protestant, relieving the Roman Catholic Church of vast land & property, & leading Elizabeth I to fear a Spanish Catholic invasion from Ireland. England was lucky the Spanish Armada met terrible weather.

            All major Irish estates were confiscated & given to new Protestant owners. While catholic farmers were relegated to the poorer hill farms, & forced by law to divide those farms amongst all their sons, a policy designed to reduce catholics to poverty or emigration, the English law of primogeniture ensured that large estates went to the eldest son, preserving wealth & power. Second son went into the army, third into the Church, fourth into the bureaucracy of Empire.

            Cromwell unleashed a fury on Ireland that is deeply resented to this day. He called Ireland a fine country, “with plenty of trees to hang a man from”.
            A God fearing man, Cromwell. A parliamentarian who tried to set his son on the English throne.
            They do say power corrupts.

            The problem was made worse by the industrial revolution. English industrialists established factories & shipyards etc, favouring protestant workers, whose wages were held down by the large numbers of catholic unemployed men. It’s called divide & rule.

      • zorro
        Posted December 16, 2012 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

        Indeed, in the vast majority of these incidents, the assailant appears to have mental health issues, or appear to be under the influence of drugs or some other form of control….


        • APL
          Posted December 17, 2012 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

          zorro: “the assailant appears to have mental health issues, or appear to be under the influence of drugs or some other form of control….”

          Another commonality, the murderer is frequently from a post nuclear family, in other words a broken home with out adult male influence.

      • lifelogic
        Posted December 16, 2012 at 11:25 pm | Permalink

        Many gun deaths are pure accidents, children playing or reactions during a heated drunken argument if the guns were not there the deaths would probably not have happened.

        Clearly it cannot prevent all incidents and clearly there are plenty of other methods of murder, but gun control must prevent quite a few deaths. Even if only the incidents/accidents among people who would not have had a gun to hand were it is illegal.

        Mind you as Freakonomics points out children in the US are about 100 time more likely to drown in a swimming pool than to be shot.

    • uanime5
      Posted December 16, 2012 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

      I wouldn’t say violence in films, games, and the Internet are responsible for gun violence as people have been violent long before these things existed.

      Charles Manson said he killed because of the Beatles song Helter Skelter and the book Catcher in the Rye was associated with the shootings of Rebecca Schaeffer, Ronald Reagan, and John Lennon. Would any of these crimes justify banning these things? If not then why would crimes involving violent movies or games justify banning either of these?

      • APL
        Posted December 17, 2012 at 10:46 pm | Permalink

        “Charles Manson”

        Single mother, biological father unknown, adopted by his stepfather.

        • APL
          Posted December 21, 2012 at 9:50 am | Permalink

          This post is factual and relevant to the topic.

          It’s you blog and you can censor in anyway you see fit, I just wonder what the criteria is in this instance?

          “Charles Manson”

          Single mother, biological father unknown, adopted by his stepfather.

          Reply: I have been extremely busy over the oast two weeks. I do not know Mr Manson’s personal history and have only just been able to check it out.

    • zorro
      Posted December 16, 2012 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

      ‘If he has to find an illegal gun it is an extra barrier to his crime and an opportunity to catch him, before the murder is committed.’…….It is not that difficult to get an illegal gun and quite cheap actually if someone wanted to do so. A lot of the gangs around have access to a serious number of firearms.


      • lifelogic
        Posted December 17, 2012 at 11:15 am | Permalink

        I agree but it is one more barrier, never the less, more chance of them being caught and stopped before the crime.

    • Bob
      Posted December 17, 2012 at 10:41 am | Permalink


      Apart from guns, the other common factors in many of these incidents are prescription drugs.

      This aspect seems to have been completely ignored by the government experts and commentators, apart from the indefatigable Peter Hitchens.

    • lifelogic
      Posted December 18, 2012 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

      Some may argue that guns in legal hands are a deterrent for criminals with guns but in these tragic cases so often the gunman is not rational and kills themselves anyway – so it is not very likely to deter them.

  2. Steve Cox
    Posted December 16, 2012 at 6:59 am | Permalink

    Please tell me how many poor pensioners and elderly or infirm people have died in recent years as a result of not being able to afford to heat their homes adequately during the cold winter months? I believe the number of such unfortunates runs into the tens of thousands each year, though it is hard to find reliable figures. Many if not most of these deaths are a direct result of government policy: extra green taxes pushing up fuel bills; high imported inflation due to a deliberate policy to weaken the pound alarmingly; the destruction of savings income which may have saved some of these lives if interest rates had been allowed to normalise, instead of the government-backed ZIRP policy pursued at the BoE; and the destruction of the pension streams of those on fixed incomes (and who, outside of a final salary pension scheme, can possibly afford an index-linked pension nowadays?) due to inflation partly caused by QE and/or ultra-low annuity rates entirely caused by QE. I would call this annual mass cull, which is nothing short of state-directed manslaughter, an extreme example of evil, and yet it is happening all across the UK even as you read this. No doubt the government could come up with lots of fine-sounding platitudes about having to make hard choices and so on, but the simple truth is that some 5 years of high inflation, ZIRP, QE, and ever-higher green taxes have failed to deliver an economic recovery as they were supposed to, yet there is no doubt that they have actively contributed to the slow and painful deaths of many of the most vulnerable members of society. So here’s a nice moral dilemma for you: when do we start to show our human face, start caring about the old and helpless, and recognise the evil that these policies cause and, as good and decent human beings, admit that we got it wrong and abandon them?

    • Mike Stallard
      Posted December 16, 2012 at 10:07 am | Permalink

      I am an OAP and we live in a house which is considerably colder than most public buildings. Indeed the warmest building in which I have been recently is actually the Polish Embassy! We were brought up, you see, before central heating. So to us it is natural.
      Yup there are a few inadequates.
      But do you know what? There are a few inadequate people of every age!

    • Derek Buxton
      Posted December 16, 2012 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

      Good comment, it does put things into perspective unlike the howls from the press.

    • John Doran
      Posted December 19, 2012 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

      Steve Cox, (this) is deliberate, not accidental.
      Google UN Agenda 21.
      Behind a cloak of Green “Sustainable Development”, the aims are:
      An 80% reduction in world population. To sustainable numbers. (surely not -ed)
      The impoverishment of the first world to parity with the third. We are seeing this.
      The abolition of nations, & the establishment of one world govt.
      Untold immigration is assisting the former, the EU is the forerunner for the latter.
      The abolition of private property, & the abolition of the family are also major aims. Taxing the rich is gathering steam, though it will come nowhere near the debts built up by our profligate govts running deficits for 30 of the last 34 years. Subsidising unmarried mothers is on the way to achieving the latter.

      How complicit our politicians are, or how duped, I do not know.

      Google it, the info is on the web, which Obama & the UN both are most anxious to gain control of.

      We live in interesting times.

  3. Leslie Singleton
    Posted December 16, 2012 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    Anyone who has lived in America must know that there is little hope of gun control. One aspect of the problem is that not only do even the sanest and most respected people want to have guns, they want them to be loaded and of ready, instant, access (under the pillow for example or in a drawer next the bed) meaning no question of their being locked away, because they believe, with some justice, that that is the only way to protect themselves against the likes of marauding, usually armed, burglars in the middle of the night. So if someone goes barking mad and wants as he sees it revenge on society (specifically, apparently, revenge on a school where he was perhaps a failure and felt humiliated) obtaining a loaded gun is simplicity itself–this apart from how easy weapons are to buy in any event.

    • Mike Stallard
      Posted December 16, 2012 at 10:09 am | Permalink

      I am very sad to say this, but I wonder if it was made even worse by being humiliated by a woman – or lots of women? This terrible crime seems to have strong overtones of that – lots of women shot, for instance. Maybe we ought, over here, to make a drive for more men in Primary Schools.

      Reply: There is no excuse for the conduct.

      • zorro
        Posted December 16, 2012 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

        As John says there is no excuse, however I do feel that a lot of males are struggling to adapt psychologically to a changing world and this could explain why some of these episodes have happened.


        • Bazman
          Posted December 17, 2012 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

          The world is always changing and some men cannot deal with this. You think it has ever been any different? The modern gun facilitates the crime much more than any other weapon. Doing the same with a knife or axe is not feasible. The availability is the problem. The argument that if everyone had one is not a real argument. The theater shooting would have been much worse had everyone been armed. How would you know who is the original shooter? He is suicidal and just using the large caliber and large capacity gun to spray everyone. The bullets will pass through many things and many bodies. This hiding behind a car or a seat is only going to disturbed the shooters line of sight the bullet will just pass through either of these things. In some places like South Africa where almost everyone is armed the outcome is often decided by who shoots first. Bullet proof jackets are for films. Nothing that can be worn will stop a bullet from killing you. The Rambo fantasy is very much a cause of the problem.

          • zorro
            Posted December 17, 2012 at 11:28 pm | Permalink

            Interestingly, the Aurora theatre had a ‘no conceal gun carry’ policy, and the only cinema in the immediate area like that. I suppose the shooter thought that he was unlikely to be challenged….Gun control will not stop these crimes, they will make them more likely.


          • APL
            Posted December 18, 2012 at 10:42 am | Permalink

            Bazman: “Doing the same with a knife or axe is not feasible.”

            China – 22 school children and one adult injured by a knife wielding assailant.

            It is amusing that nearly anything Bazman or Uanime5 say can be refuted in about 35 seconds.

            PS. I can’t be bothered to post the url to the BBC story, tired of doing you guys research for you.

          • Bazman
            Posted December 18, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

            Remind us of how many died in that Chinese knife incident APL? Exactly. Injured by a modern high powered rifle? You would be very lucky to survive or not be left without a limb. Get with it.

          • APL
            Posted December 19, 2012 at 8:50 am | Permalink

            Bazman: “Remind us of how many died in that Chinese knife incident APL?”

            Firstly, let me remind you what you asserted quote “Doing the same with a knife or axe is not feasible.” unquote, that is right, ‘not feasable’. Clearly you are wrong, just accept it.

            Now the only thing missing from the Chinese attack was the desire to actually kill the victims, the opportunity and ability was there, no one stopped him until he had physically attacked twenty one children and one adult, with a knife that means within arms reach.

            Bazman: “Exactly. Injured by a modern high powered rifle?”

            In this instance at the proximity of the victims to the assailant, it makes not much difference if it was a high powered rifle or a colt 45, each would be deadly at close range.

            But finally, and everyone seems to be overlooking this issue. The man in the US case, seems to have been prescribed psychotropic medication for either schizophrenia or some other medical mental condition.

            So instead of your hysterical assertion, we need to ban all assault rifles , no, you simply need to stop allowing mentally unstable individuals from obtaining any weapons at all.

          • Bazman
            Posted December 23, 2012 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

            Maybe we could ask anyone if they are mentally unstable or ever likely to be in the future so we do not facilitate them with arms. An axe would be a messy and personal job. You are in effect supporting the policies of a failed state by arming everyone with high powered weapons.

      • Jon Burgess
        Posted December 16, 2012 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

        I read today that the perpetrator was or had been on medication for a form of autism. Maybe there are some other drug connections that will be uncovered in the weeks ahead. This line of enquiry should command at least the same focus as tighter gun control.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted December 17, 2012 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

        Comment on Reply–That’s a politician’s reply if I ever saw one and I don’t mean it as a compliment. Mike’s point was that there might very well be less of such conduct if more men were teachers (as used to be the case) and I agree with him that there very well might. My memory of the TV pictures from America was that all literally all of the teachers were women. My memory of my own schooling is that most teachers were men. I agree in advance that even if my fading memory is correct, correlation is not causation, but it is an indication of the need for research on the subject. It might be possible that in schools everywhere that have had these ghastly problems there were indeed few male teachers, perhaps none at all. Would this if it were the case be swept under the carpet as non P.C? Men and women may be equal, but identical, including intheir effects, they certainly are not.

        • APL
          Posted December 18, 2012 at 8:10 am | Permalink

          Leslie Singleton: “Would this if it were the case be swept under the carpet as non P.C? Men and women may be equal, but identical, including intheir effects, they certainly are not.”

          That comment falls into the category politically incorrect. Probably bordering on ‘hate speech’.

    • Bazman
      Posted December 16, 2012 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

      Gat in every room. It’s the only way son.

  4. Kevin R. Lohse
    Posted December 16, 2012 at 7:40 am | Permalink

    Nice to see a politician who is prepared to risk public ridicule writing about good and evil. WHY use the tired example of Nazi Germany? Stalinist Russia was every bit as evil if not more so than Hitler’s Germany. The Jews suffered more than any other race in Stalin’s Gulags and the hatred lives on in the Left’s anti-jewish rhetoric, hypocritically disguised as principled anti-Zionism. Vasily Grossman’s powerful classic,”Life and Fate”, compares the effect of National Socialism and International Socialism upon those subject to the two ideologies and draws the conclusion that both are equally evil. The effects of Marxism upon the subject populations deserve more publicity.

    Reply I agree

    • Mike Stallard
      Posted December 16, 2012 at 10:10 am | Permalink

      And the last Labour Government is a good example too: always in there telling us what to do and how to do it. The delight when they were caught with a driving infringement, and the hoots of derision over the expenses scandal bear this out.

    • Bazman
      Posted December 16, 2012 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

      Both sides of the same coin.

    • zorro
      Posted December 16, 2012 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

      Also Mao and Pol Pot.


    • Bob
      Posted December 16, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

      I would like to add Mao, Pol Pot and the Kim dynasty to your list of lefty dictators.
      It appears that socialism/communism is something that has to be imposed on people by force, a bit like the TV License.

      • Bazman
        Posted December 17, 2012 at 11:54 am | Permalink

        Children sharing sweets Bob. Thats where communism begins.

        • APL
          Posted December 17, 2012 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

          Bazman: “Thats where communism begins.”

          Perhaps, but it always ends in the gulag or the concentration camp.

    • Credible
      Posted December 16, 2012 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

      Hitler and Stalin had a very similar approach to running their countries. I don’t think it has much to do with left or right ideology. They were ruthless men seeking power using whatever means they thought worked best. There are some about in the world today and we should always be on our guard that it doesn’t happen here. The risk is greater in times of economic difficulty and when unfairness and social divide increase.

  5. colliemum
    Posted December 16, 2012 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    There is one aspect which has been studiously avoided in this debate, and which you also do not address. That is the question about the change in our culture.
    It is not by accident that we see these mass massacres, be they in the USA, Norway, here in our own country (Hungerford, Dunblane, Cumbia), or in German and Finnish schools, happening in the last quarter of a century.

    This change in culture has been promoted by the mass media, the availability of 24/7 news on TV anywhere and everywhere, with the shocking news of such killings available on all TVs across the world for days and weeks. Add the rise in a coarsening of the minds of young people through certain pop cultures (gangsta rap), the coarsening and titllation in popular TV programmes, even to some extent the availability of violent computer games, and we do have an unholy brew.
    Then there is the question of the whole post-modern culture of relativism, where right is whatever I feel it to be at that time, where values are old-fashioned and restrictive, and where there is only one point of reference, and that is my own ego.

    But there is one more point to add: for the last forty years or so the anti-Americanism has been pervasive in our media. Even the so-called pundits here in the UK have apparently not the faintest idea why there is this ‘gun culture’ they so bemoan. Not one mentions the American Constitution, the two Amendments – free speech and freedom to bear arms – are never mentioned, and the thoughts of Jefferson, Washington, and others as to why they thought this necessary are never addressed. Well, no wonder, because these same pundits have apparently never heard about our own Bill of Rights of 1689, under which we also have the right to bear arms.
    Instead the Europeans and we seem to want the USA to become ‘more like us’, i.e. modern, softly socialist, with citizens turned into obedient entities which need the hand of the state and the elites to tell us what to do, when to wash our hands, what to eat, and never ever even think of defending ourselves against criminals.

    Thank you, John, for taking up the problems and questions which we all need to answer in view of such tragedy.

    • Alan
      Posted December 16, 2012 at 8:52 am | Permalink

      The Bill of Rights only gives us the right to possess arms “as allowed by Law”.

      And even that only applies to protestants.

      • APL
        Posted December 17, 2012 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

        Alan: “The Bill of Rights only gives us the right to possess arms “as allowed by Law”.”

        The Bill of Rights is the codified (statute law) version of the rights enumerated in Magna Carta.

      • APL
        Posted December 23, 2012 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

        Alan: “And even that only applies to protestants.”

        By the way, it specifically cited Protestants because under King James II, Protestantism had been a persecuted sect. Catholics already had the right to bear arms.

        So in this instance, you assertion gives a mistaken impression of Protestant privilege, when in fact it was a measure of equality.

    • backofanenvelope
      Posted December 16, 2012 at 9:58 am | Permalink

      It is interesting that hatred of America and love of all things American seem to exist together. A really good example is France; they are virulent in their opinions about America – but have more MacDonalds than any other west European country.

    • zorro
      Posted December 16, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

      Good stuff, I will comment later today.


    • Derek Buxton
      Posted December 16, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

      What you say is very true, unfortunately by and large our political class are not that clever. Few even seem to know that we have a Bill of Rights, even less that they should obey its rules.

    • libertarian
      Posted December 16, 2012 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

      Thank you for your post it clarified a point in my mind that I made earlier in the thread.

      This is a question more than anything. I wonder what the effect would be if a news blackout with very few details was imposed when these things happen. I wonder if a future perpetuator may think that by NOT reporting his name/background/grievance etc that he doesn’t achieve his aim of infamy it would be less likely to happen. We will never know for sure of course as there is no rationale or logic to these acts.

    • uanime5
      Posted December 16, 2012 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

      Well it’s clear you’ve never studied any history. If you had bothered to look further back that the past 20 years you’d realise that before rap, titillation on TV, and violent video games there was still violence in society. Let’s not forget about punks, mods, rockers, and teddy boys who all managed to be violent and self centred without being exposed to all the things puritans don’t like.

      Things get worse as you go back further in time. Remember the estates full of criminals in Oliver Twist, that’s not artistic license as back in Victorian times there were areas of London that even the police wouldn’t go to.

    • zorro
      Posted December 16, 2012 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

      And Obama is trying to take the USA in the European socialist direction with his policies (both economic and social). It is no coincidence that the pressure is being ramped up on the 1st and 2nd amendments because they are the key components of a free society which controls its government otherwise the government will control the people. If the US government tries to amend the Constitution on these issues, there will be trouble.


      • John Doran
        Posted December 19, 2012 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

        The US has previous on unconstitutional actions. WWII was the last war voted on by the US Congress.
        Korea, Vietnam, Grenada, Kosovo, Iraq & Afghanistan, have all been unconstitutional wars, termed “police actions”.
        America now works more & more by “executive order”, most dangerous for it’e citizens freedoms.
        http://www.thenewamerican is a good read.

  6. Gary
    Posted December 16, 2012 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    The bad and the mad are, thank God, in the minority, and the state should not govern on the assumption that everyone is bad or mad until proven otherwise.

    So govt should , stop proposing general surveillance laws, stop invading and interfering in other sovereign countries, stop plans to censor the media, stop preventing people from protecting themselves, stop propping up failing businesses, stop trying to plan a market.

    • Nick
      Posted December 16, 2012 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

      Notice too that they are playing the scapegoat game.


      1930s verison, it’s the Jews that are to blame
      2010 version, its the Bankers
      2012 version, its purveyors of coffee that are to blame.

      • Bazman
        Posted December 17, 2012 at 11:59 am | Permalink

        Corporations feeding off society without contributing to it and in some cases like making a small minority rich at the expense of the many is no paranoia. If a company does not exist for the benefit of this country them maybe you could tell us why they should be allowed to operate here?

        • APL
          Posted December 17, 2012 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

          Bazman: “Corporations feeding off society without contributing to it

          You clearly don’t understand the setup that the likes of Starbucks, Amazon and (other mnewsworthy examples), take advantage of. These companies are exploiting the laws of the European Union to pay tax in the least onerous jurisdiction, in this case Luxembourg.

          That is legal and aligned with the agreements our political class have put in place.

          • John Doran
            Posted December 19, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

            Spot on.
            Our media is diverting the blame, to shield our politicos.
            Cosy eh?

    • Muddyman
      Posted December 16, 2012 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

      Well Said!.

  7. Pete the Bike
    Posted December 16, 2012 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    There is an argument that if more people had been carrying guns during this recent incident the gunman might well have been stopped earlier. This is a plausible argument. However I’d say the reason that there are so many mass murders in the US is the extremely violent culture. That applies not only to films, tv and books but also to their police and most especially their government. How can you expect to have a peaceful country when it’d government routinely murders at will across the globe? Or expect people to not want guns when they are subject to “no knock” raids by squads of uniformed thugs using automatic weapons against old women? This is a daily occurrence in America. It is an extremely violent and unpleasant society from top to bottom and politicians making laws that don’t apply to their own goons will not change that.

    • zorro
      Posted December 16, 2012 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

      Quite possibly, but is organised gangs which contribute heavily to the statistics…..The government also employs violence abroad. It is hardly setting a good example with its missile attacks on sovereign countries which have killed many innocent women and children in the past.


  8. alan jutson
    Posted December 16, 2012 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    The real trick is to get the balance right, between allowing the majority their freedom, whilst detering those who wish to do unpleasant acts with laws and punishment which fits their crime.

    Far too often with good intentions we legislate for the few, but end up penalising the majority with over enthusiastic application of the law.

    Perhaps if we had real deterent sentencing in our courts which took convicted people off the streets who commit serious crime and put them in prison for lengthy periods, then it may eventually act as a deterent to others.

    Yes we may need to build more prisons, but just get on with it.

    For those who say prison does not work, all I say is, it does while they are in there.

    The disturbing nature of recent government is the growing “you are guilty until you prove yourself innocent”.
    A mantra operated by Customs and Revenue and other government departments which goes completelyagainst the law of the land, where you are supposed to be innocent until proven guilty.

    • uanime5
      Posted December 16, 2012 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

      Given how the death penalty doesn’t deter criminals I doubt long sentences will.

      Unless you want to pay more taxes to build more prisons and keep more prisoners in them prison isn’t financially viable.

      • alan jutson
        Posted December 17, 2012 at 7:53 am | Permalink


        The purpose of long sentences is to keep them out of public circulation so they cannot commit more crime.

        If it deters others, then so be it, a benefit in kind.

      • zorro
        Posted December 17, 2012 at 11:31 pm | Permalink

        ‘Given how the death penalty doesn’t deter criminals I doubt long sentences will….’……Really? Why has the murder rate gone up astronomically since the abolition of hanging?


        • John Doran
          Posted December 19, 2012 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

          In the days before the abolition of the Death Penalty, criminals would search each other to ensure no weapons were being carried. They knew that one of them carrying made them all liable for the ultimate penalty.
          Bet your boots that doesn’t happen now.
          Peter Hitchens is good on this.
          Gun crime doubles after guns are banned?
          Hard to argue with simple facts.

  9. Alan
    Posted December 16, 2012 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    The general lesson that I will try to draw is that we none of us can be trusted with untrammelled power. We will in the end make bad use of it. All human organisations need to be set up in such a way that there are others who can restrain us when we act badly. That applies to governments, to parliamentarians, to bureaucracies, to armies, to police, to newspapers, to people who own weapons, and to each of us as we go about our daily lives. We all have to be ready to prevent one another from injuring others.

  10. Roger Farmer
    Posted December 16, 2012 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    Personal freedom is valid until it encroaches on a second persons personal freedom. Put in practical terms, playing your transistor radio in the privacy of your home or car is freedom, but playing it loudly on a beach or in your open windowed car is an affront to other peoples freedom. Do as you wish to be done by.

  11. The PrangWizard
    Posted December 16, 2012 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    We must not jump in and lecture the Americans, as is the BBC again now, on gun control. The US has a different history, they are not crazy and understand the issues better than we do. It is an example of freedom of the individual versus the dangers of State oppression. I could ask for example why we have so many police here armed to the teeth, are they to be trusted with their machine guns? When have they been useful against criminals? They’ve killed innocent people though.

    I see more danger in State control and manipulation of thought and deed, than in freedom of thought and association which we have seen eroded here in recent years, and in the suppression of facts and truths. We know what happens when ‘the State knows best’, millions die, Soviet and Chinese communism are examples.

    States see dissenting individuals as troublesome opponents.

    Even here thousands die, they are controlled in State Institutions and die of neglect by the thousand, ‘cared for’ by people who are have State Institutionalised mindsets. Do any of these people get punished? No, they are protected by the State system.

    • uanime5
      Posted December 16, 2012 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

      I would not say the Americans understand the issue of gun control well. Most seem to support gun control simply because it’s in the constitution.

      We do not have policemen armed to the teeth and only specially trained officers are allowed any firearms.

  12. Rebecca Hanson
    Posted December 16, 2012 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    What do you do if someone you love has schizophrenia and is making death threats against people and the police and health authorities won’t do anything?

    • Edward
      Posted December 16, 2012 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

      Rebecca, your comment is a very pertinent one.
      For example, the Zitto Trust is just one fine charitable organisation that helps families bereaved by people who should never have been left to live in the strange world that is called “care in the community”.
      Many familes have cried out for help for their family members who have gone onto suicide or have damaged strangers they have come into random contact with.

      It is a mistaken UK policy that should be urgently re-examined in the light of this awful USA event.

    • libertarian
      Posted December 16, 2012 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

      Rebecca you are right

      I really think this is the nub of the problem as far as mental health issues are concerned. For a parent of an “adult” or spouse or partner of someone with mental health issues it is impossible to seek treatment , get help or advice UNLESS that person hurts themselves or another or commits a crime.

      Of course it is a hard problem to solve as getting someone sectioned isn’t the answer either. I really do feel that rather than bleat about gun control etc as a society we need to actually look for far better ways of dealing with mental health issues.

      • Rebecca Hanson
        Posted December 17, 2012 at 9:28 am | Permalink

        Thank you for this libertarian.

      • John Doran
        Posted December 19, 2012 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

        The police are fed up to the back teeth with dealing with people with mental health issues, when our social services knock off at 4pm.
        They hoot with derision when Teresa May proclaims grandly & wrongly that their mission is to “Cut crime, nothing more”

        I know a fine young man who had to be sectioned. He became unbalanced when he lost both parents at a young age. He calmed down when sectioned, & is now making good progress in a career in New Zealand, thank God.

        Care in the community is a way of saying “We’re broke, can’t afford to take care of you, don’t care, go away.”

    • Bazman
      Posted December 17, 2012 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

      In America the sensible thing to do would be to get a gun and shoot them first it would seem? Judged by twelve or carried by six?

    • sm
      Posted December 18, 2012 at 12:25 am | Permalink

      Reach out for help, for you & family…not just your loved one. By drawing on any support you can you will be helping your loved one even indirectly.

      for example

      • Rebecca Hanson
        Posted December 19, 2012 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

        Thanks for the suggestion sm.

    • Lindsay McDougall
      Posted December 18, 2012 at 2:41 am | Permalink

      The answer is that the schitzophrenic is persuaded to take suitable medicines to calm them down, but not so high a dose that the drugs harm them. If that doesn’t work (and remember there are many drugs on the market) then you have to consider depriving the person of his/her liberty. Believe me, there is no shortage of power crazy psychiatrists in the NHS simply itching to bang people up and administer drug coshes.

      • Rebecca Hanson
        Posted December 19, 2012 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

        “Believe me, there is no shortage of power crazy psychiatrists in the NHS simply itching to bang people up and administer drug coshes.”

        This is not true.

    • Rebecca Hanson
      Posted December 19, 2012 at 1:32 pm | Permalink
  13. A Different Simon
    Posted December 16, 2012 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    You could kill as many people with a car as a firearm if you weren’t looking to be selective .

    The problem for me is not the competence or capability of the state but trusting the people who run it and their successors .

    You only have to look at the proceedings in the European Parliament with the dreadful autocratic Baroness Ashton and Barrosso to see that you let these people take an inch at your peril .

  14. oldtimer
    Posted December 16, 2012 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    Steve Cox, above, raises important points about the role of the state. It has now grown to be overbearing and punitive in many ways. Furthermore it is a monopoly power, more often than not captured by a small minority who manipulate it to their own ends (think single issue pressure groups), usually to tell other people what they must and must not do and how much they must pay for the privilege of their effective enslavement.

  15. John B
    Posted December 16, 2012 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    Removing the possibility to do evil, must as a necessity remove the possibility to do good.

    Oppression has its modest and laudable start preventing evil, but no good ever comes of it because it knows no limits as it is the work of ideological minds, not reason.

  16. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted December 16, 2012 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    You echo my sentiments. However much we put into society in the form of honesty,reasonableness, gentleness, we don’t get it back. What we get is a mixed version of those who take the top off our earnings, abuse us , steal from us , make us pay for their crimes and then put themselves on a pedestal as they attempt to look down from some 4 wheel concocotion of steel which is an attempt to convey some sort of superiority.

    The financial wars are as cruel as the physical wars as we watch children suffer from starvation , families break each other up to get at the spoils of marriages and partnerships.As the British constitution is systematically wrenched apart year after year, the self discipline which sustained us , because post war we knew right from wrong , is now being wheltered away into the pockets of tiny greedy spivs, who can speak over the top of someone on the phone to collect monies , property , intellectual credit, so on and so forth.
    I need to be free and know that I will never do any harm , but the harm which has been done to me over the years exemplifies the confidence tricks which are ruining this country.

    It is now almost 30 years ago since fraud was committed against me in the form of forged documents for loans and second mortgages , which left me homeless and paying for the criminals debts . I have not been able to get justice and myself in attempts to get police help have been accused of being mad. I watched a collection of various people laughing and salivating at the spoils of my hard worked for life and these were fairly powerful people, who have managed to put their foot down on me for all this time. If these are the type of people who are to govern us then we have little chance of surviving as the decent , wiser people are put down to fill the pockets of the greedy.

  17. Bazman
    Posted December 16, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    Anyone want to put forward the argument that the latest of many massacres was caused by over regulation of gun ownership in the USA and had the teachers been allowed to use assault rifles as blackboard pointers this would never have happened. Putting the blame fairly and squarely on the anti gun lobby? Thought not. Funny that, as it seems to apply to all other problems…

    • Anthony Harrison
      Posted December 16, 2012 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

      You seem to have a neurotic preoccupation with guns and their ownership. Fear not: no-one will ever compel you to own a gun. If I thought there were the least chance of my suffering a home invasion or violent assault I would want to be armed – I mean, nobody else is going to be around to defend me so I’d have to do it myself. But you, as a free individual, should be entirely at liberty to throw yourself on the mercy of an attacker, or try to run away, or offer your wife/daughter as a distraction, or whatever.
      Self respect and personal pride, plus the courage to stand up for these with deadly force, are not everyone’s cup of tea.

    • Edward
      Posted December 16, 2012 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

      Your comment crosses the line Bazman.
      This is not the time to make cheap political points.
      Have some thought for those who lost their lives… please.

    • APL
      Posted December 16, 2012 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

      Bazman: “Anyone want to put forward the argument that the latest of many massacres was caused by over regulation of gun ownership in the USA .. ”

      Would you care to put the counter argument that a criminal once embarked on a criminal path will ignore one law but observe another?

      Murder is already a criminal act.

      • Bazman
        Posted December 17, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

        Ready access to guns is the problem causing more murders than it prevents. Silly frontier fantasies operating in a modern society have no place. The idea that id everyone was armed to the teeth and in full body amour would make society a safer place is just stupid and without basis.

        • APL
          Posted December 17, 2012 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

          Bazman: bla bla bla,

          So no.

          P.S. there is no ready access to guns in the UK but gun crime is higher than prior to Michael Ryan’s 1986 bloody rampage through Hungerford.

          So just pass another law that the criminal element will ignore, utterly futile but I’m sure you’ll feel better.

          • Bazman
            Posted December 17, 2012 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

            This falls down on the fact that the weapon is not readily available in the home for the majority to use on impulse such as through drinking and would not be a pimped up high powered assault rifle with large capacity magazines and a choice of various ammunitions ranging from armour/concrete piercing to hollow point. Far from perfect the gun laws are, in the main do stop this. The person is prevented in some way. Nitroglycerine is surprisingly easy to make if you are hell bent but few people make it or use it They lack the facilities and knowledge of how to do it. Same applies to guns. Do you propose making explosives more accessible in order to prevent bombings?

          • APL
            Posted December 18, 2012 at 7:58 am | Permalink

            Bazman: “Far from perfect the gun laws are, in the main do stop this.”

            I suppose you are obsessing about America, another country (I assume you are British and domiciled in Britian ) where you have little or no interest in its domestic affairs?

            It is interesting that you don’t much seem to care about Africa where at any time of the week you can find a spot where people are being mained and murdered.

            I was referring to the situation in the UK where the circumstances you describe have never applied, however hand guns and rifles were freely available at the beginning of the last century, gun crime was at the lowest ever – yet we can see a situation where increasing gun crime has gone hand in hand with ever more restrictive gun laws & regulations.

            Also of course in 1910 we were a relatively homogenous society and by 2012 of course the population of the UK bears next to no resemblance to that of 1910.

            As you have declined to make the case that a criminal once embarked on a criminal endeavor would restrict himself to only one crime – that i, in this case choose to murder but not to use a proscribed weapon* to do so ….

            Perhaps you would explain within the context of the UK leglislation, how laws you claim would ‘stop this*’ would stop a situation that never existed in the first place.

            *I believe any tool used for an illegal purpose would constitute a violation of the law. For example an hammer used in the commission of an assault would be an offensive weapon.

          • Bazman
            Posted December 18, 2012 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

            It’s little to do with nationality. It’s like building a road without safety features and then blaming the motorists and lack of care of pedestrians on the resulting deaths. Third world countries being a place to be run over by a vehicle or a gun having much a much higher rate. America is unique in its lack of gun control in industrialised countries leading to the high rate of death in modern times.

          • APL
            Posted December 19, 2012 at 10:16 am | Permalink

            “Perhaps you would explain within the context of the UK leglislation,”

            Bazman: irrelevant wittering about roads ..

            So no, again.

  18. forthurst
    Posted December 16, 2012 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    It is would be unwise to rush to judgement on this school killing; we can be certain that the gun grabbers who are known to be in control of Obama’s presidency, were getting ready to institute gun control with Obama’s second term (since he would not have been re-elected otherwise). This event is very convenient for them, almost too convenient. We can only hope that the full unvarnished truth behind this horrible crime will emerge.

    America is a place with too many guns in the wrong hands, but also too many prescriptions for psychotropic drugs, a culture that celebrates gratuitous violence against ‘evildoers’, a culture in which similar acts of mass murder are frequently replicated by American forces and their surrogates in the Middle East without actually being reported by the MSM.

    The Department of Homeland Security which was created, as with the phony war on terror, as a cynical response to the 9/11 false flag, has received 450 million rounds of .40 calibre hollow point ammunition (banned under international law, although only for shooting foreigners); a further 750 million rounds is on order. Who would they intend to kill? The TSA are extending their searching and groping activities to the whole transport infrastructure; are they trying to prevent people from moving and assembling for some reason?

    The second paragraph of The Declaration of Independence states “…that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends [enabling all Men’s unalienable Rights of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness], it is the right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government….” Under the Second Amendment, “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” When the state arms itself against the people, the people need to arm themselves against the state, otherwise they might become the victims of a new ‘Red Terror’ or a new Holodomor or Mao’s own versions of the same events. Individual criminal acts however horrifying can never approach those that occur when criminals achieve control of the full resources of a state.

    • zorro
      Posted December 16, 2012 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

      Let me complement your words…As you say, there are some troubling influences who appear to have the ear of Mr Obama. I am thinking about (named people I have not checked out) who some may remember were principally behind the ‘Weather Underground’ movement (revolutionary communists) in the USA in the late 60’s/early 70’s……There are too many unanswered questions about Mr Obama’s past which have been put beyond public scrutiny…..

      There is also the worrying growth in the number of seemingly unaccountable ‘fusion’ (intelligence) centres in the USA and the massive number of FEMA camps which seem to have grown exponentially in the last few years.


      • forthurst
        Posted December 17, 2012 at 11:57 am | Permalink

        It looks like an attempt to recreate some myths of WWII as reality with the ‘roles’ reversed.

      • John Doran
        Posted December 19, 2012 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

        Weather Underground?
        (expresses strong and colourful dislike of them-ed)
        It totally amazes me that these control freaks cannot take in the central facts of 20th century history: that a centrally planned economy will fail, as ours is failing now; that big govt, trying to control everything from the center, will fail, as ours is failing now.

        This meshes perfectly with what I have learned about UN Agenda 21 . etc etc
        We live in interesting times.

        • John Doran
          Posted December 19, 2012 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

          I’ll bet a £ to a pinch of sh1te that they will all have been hiding in govt or UN bureaucracies. Not a one with the brains or balls to start a company & meet a payroll, but all determined to run the world.

  19. Nick
    Posted December 16, 2012 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    There is the evil of government taking trillions from people. Then they hide the debt. Then they con people into paying for pensions they will never receive.

    The state pension pays out 20p in the pound.

    You’re in favour of this aren’t you? After all, its the way it works.

  20. Horatio McSherry
    Posted December 16, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    John, another excellent post, and again demonstrating why you are one of the best constituency and national MP’s.

    What I honestly can’t understand is what is it that draws these people to schools? If I were to go mad with a gun it would be somewhere the general public gather – supermarkets, public transport, shopping malls – as they are the people that can daily enduse someone to homicide. But schools? I honestly don’t understand.

    Reply: Please do not go mad with a gun anywhere.

    • Adam5x5
      Posted December 16, 2012 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

      What draws them to schools is that the rest of the population there is not armed.
      I work for an American company and have had conversations with many of my American colleagues about events like this.

      These events are terrible, but you do not hear about the ones in the street. These are not reported here because the body count is very small as normally a passing citizen will pull their own firearm and stop the perpetrator.

      • uanime5
        Posted December 17, 2012 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

        That’s not what happened in the 2012 Aurora shootings (James Eagan Holmes) as they had to wait for the police to arrive.

        • zorro
          Posted December 17, 2012 at 11:41 pm | Permalink

          As I said above, that’s because the Aurora theatre didn’t allow people to carry guns in the theatre……And people with concealed weapons have previously intervened when people have attempted to undertake multiple killings in public places. If there was ‘gun control’ for the lawful population, but not of course for the criminal, what would have happened?


          • Bazman
            Posted December 19, 2012 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

            How do you propose to ‘intervene’ in a dark theater? Who is the original shooter? There would have been even more chaos and death. Last man standing. Get real Rambo and don’t tell me about night vision.

          • zorro
            Posted December 20, 2012 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

            Nonsense, lawful holders of guns have stopped people trying to commit outrages in shopping centres.


          • Bazman
            Posted December 23, 2012 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

            Not needed very often here in shopping centres is it? Have a think why and get back to us.

    • uanime5
      Posted December 16, 2012 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

      Well school shootings do get more media coverage. Another reason is that the school shooters are usually attending this school or have been recently expelled.

    • zorro
      Posted December 16, 2012 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

      Indeed, it must be to cause maximum effect and make sure that a mood is created to try and stop anything similar occurring.


  21. Bernard Juby
    Posted December 16, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    Alas, the UK went down the route of a knee-jerk reaction on gun laws after Dunblane. No laws on earth can psychically determine if one will go off the rails and kill some-one with a gun. The rules were tight enough as it was before the knees started to jerk! Even the then Olympic shooting team had to train abroad because of the restrictions. Utter nonsense!
    Fims & TV have played their parts showing indiscriminate shootings. It is always stupid, to me, when the “hero” gets knocked out and comes round with all guns blazing – all within the all-too-short allotted time span. What happened to concussion and feeling giddy, sick and disorientated for a day or so? Producers should show the reality and forget the glamour – but that would not help the Box Office.

    • uanime5
      Posted December 16, 2012 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

      Guns use in movies bears no resemblance to reality. The bad guys can’t aim, the good guys can hit their target in one shot, almost anything can stop a bullet, there’s no blood, and no one ever needs to reload or aim. Yet despite all these inaccuracies people still blame movies for real life shootings.

      • APL
        Posted December 17, 2012 at 10:21 am | Permalink

        uanime5: “The bad guys can’t aim, the good guys can hit their target in one shot, ”

        True, but it does plant the idea in one’s mind that the quickest most satisfying method to resolve a dispute is with a gun.

        Yes too, film portrayal of gun use is highly inaccurate – except lock stock and two smoking barrels, perhaps. But even the real life bad guys probably identify with the fictional good guy.

      • Bernard Juby
        Posted December 17, 2012 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

        Agreed – up to a point. There are some people who forget that they are watching fantasy (e.g. Rambo) and think that it’s for real.

  22. Neil Craig
    Posted December 16, 2012 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    All the murders carried out by individuals do not match those carried out by governments.

    All the various massacres in America come to only just over 100 people.

    The killings in the bombing of Yugoslavia alone killed 5,000 people (80% civilian) & and (there were also too many deaths and injuries in Kosovo etc)

    • zorro
      Posted December 16, 2012 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

      The killing of civilians has continued in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan……


  23. They Work for Us
    Posted December 16, 2012 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    Us feelings on guns go deep and are tied up in the Second Amendment aimed at limiting the power of the state. They agree to be ruled by the State in a limited way, hence most laws have sunset clauses (why don’t ours?).

    The concept of being ruled by jobsworths, being told “you will need a licence for that” and the concept of being hampered by Socialist political correctness (and taxation and expenditure) is an anathema to them. Many would be horrified at living under the UK laws where the Police often can’t protect you, your home is not your castle and there is nothing you can do about it.

    I have not put it very well but their is a deep unspoken philosophical reason that opposes gun control which is seen as a symbol of a controlling state.

  24. Pleb
    Posted December 16, 2012 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    I must point out that the EU is not a democracy and is in danger of over dominating its subject countries.

  25. Barbara
    Posted December 16, 2012 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    Well Steve Cox’s makes some good points, we all need to reflect on good and bad, but evil, many never touch. Our governments don’t exceed their remit for they know they would be short lived; however, Mr R, this government altered the NHS, and created GPs consortimums to run local services, we are having effects of this in Dudley. They have now begun stopping for eg. testing strips for type 2 diabetis, which one is forced to buy @ £24 per 50 pack. Not a lot if you can afford it, but many people with this desease are elderly and cannot. I’m one of them. They are according to NICE, allowed for prescription, but it as been decided by these so called doctors a blood test every 3 months is good enough. By then damage could be done to internal organs and cost the NHS a lot more money. Self monitoring as been the corner stone of helping diabetics manage their condition, thus saving them developing further complications.
    So, everything is not fair, and in a democratic country where health care is provided at the point of need, where health tourists have their bills met without question, there seems something seriously wrong when doctors implement such schemes.
    We have been lucky we haven’t had governments like Hitler’s or Stalins, we nearly did under Socialist Labour, but we saved ourselves from them with our democracy system. I hope we can save ourselves the cost which this idea above will cost the taxpayer, with this short sighted which is will be ineffective and costly, and not counting the emotional stress it is causing.

  26. Credible
    Posted December 16, 2012 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    Speculation in food markets for profit has caused increased prices and hunger or starvation for millions. ‘Respectable’ people can do evil things in a feee market.

    • APL
      Posted December 17, 2012 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

      Credible: “Speculation in food markets for profit has caused increased prices and hunger or starvation for millions.”

      If you look a little deeper you may just come to the conclusion that as most world commodity markets are denominated in US$, the devaluation of the US$ under the auspices of one Ben Bernanke has been responsible for the increasing commodity prices and have been a direct factor triggering the so called ‘Arab Spring’.

  27. Anthony Harrison
    Posted December 16, 2012 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    I am glad to read Mr Redwood’s measured, sane, sensible post, not least because on such dreadfully untypical occasions we are treated instantly to a torrent of predictable invective against guns, America, an excess of liberty, and so on.
    One’s first reaction is of shock and sadness, as we sympathise with the barely imaginable grief of people whose small children – or whose wives or mothers – were gunned down so cruelly.
    A problem is that for all too many, this reaction appears to disengage other equally important faculties of discrimination, logic, reason and common sense. Shooting as a recreation in this country is important, but most people know little or nothing about guns and shooting; all too few have any knowledge of history, of traditional liberties, of the part played by personal self-defence weapons in the ages-old relationship between the individual and the State, of firearms legislation in their own country – and in other countries.
    Leslie Singleton (above) mentions the widespread keeping of guns at home, or on the person, for defensive purposes in the USA, implying that this is a “problem”: he/she neglects to mention, probably through lack of knowledge, that this is one of the reasons for burglary against homes that are occupied is several times less frequent in the USA than it is in Britain. US burglars know there is a good chance of confronting an armed householder….
    None of those crying out for more “gun control” in the USA mentions – probably again through lack of knowledge – that there is an awful lot of “gun control” there, varying between jurisdictions, and that by and large the places with the most relaxed gun laws are those with the lowest rates of gun crime – comparable very often with similar rates in the UK. (Until the 1997 Firearms Act it was in some ways easier to own a handgun lawfully in the UK than in New York City…)
    Mr Redwood’s words, “The truth is a free society is open to abuse and worse by the bad and the mad. All agree we need a rule of law. The bad break those laws,” are key: criminals and the mentally ill do not obey laws. Criminals certainly take no notice of gun laws – which is why gun crime here has accelerated steadily for the past century, at the same time as ever-stiffer laws have made it progressively harder to own guns legally.
    Most of our “gun control” laws are arguably pointless, and very little evidence can be presented for their having any effectuality whatsoever. Much the same applies elsewhere including the USA. For the most part, such laws result from moral panic, prejudice, and emotional kneejerk reactions such as we are seeing all over again.
    More “gun control” laws will have no effect except to satisfy (temporarily) the thirst of thoughtless people for repression & restriction for their own sake.

    • uanime5
      Posted December 16, 2012 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

      Just because US criminals are less likely to burgle someone’s house when this person is at home isn’t a good thing if there’s more burglaries overall.

      What’s your source for your claim that low gun control = low gun crime? Most studies seem to find that the opposite is true in the USA.

      Given how many criminals legally acquired guns it seems that criminals are quite happy to work within gun laws rather than buy guns illegally.

      • Anthony Harrison
        Posted December 16, 2012 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

        Your para 1 is incoherent.
        Your para 2: which studies? Citation please. In the meantime, look at such places as Washington DC, Los Angeles – and the firearms controls there v rates of gun crime. Then look at other places like Vermont, the Dakotas, New Hampshire, and the contrasting figures.
        Your para 3 is also incoherent.

        • uanime5
          Posted December 17, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

          Pretending you don’t understand something doesn’t make your argument right. Allow me to clarify.

          1) Does the USA have less burglaries per thousand people than the UK? If not then it’s irrelevant whether people are burgled when the residents are at home or not because overall people are burgled more in the USA.

          2) I’ll post why studies once you post yours. Vague claims don’t count.

          3) Guns are so easy to buy in the USA that criminals prefer to legally buy guns then get them illegally.

          • Anthony Harrison
            Posted December 17, 2012 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

            1. Yours is a complete non-sequitur: the significantly greater unwillingness of US burglars to raid occupied homes, compared with Brit burglars, is just one instance of armed citizens having a beneficial effect. The figures come from US Dep’t of Justice and/or Int’l Crime Surveys – the same as for
            3. The sort of vague claim you criticise me for…
            I’ve been interested in this subject for a long time but I doubt sincerely that my taking the trouble to append detailed citations for your benefit would be a productive use of my time. In my experience the anti-gun lobby is fuelled by emotion, not by evidence and argument.

          • zorro
            Posted December 17, 2012 at 11:44 pm | Permalink

            Go on uanime5, for a change post yours first, take the moral high ground……But then, you totally ignore the points made by Anthony.


  28. Mohammed Amin
    Posted December 16, 2012 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    I agree that it is impossible to prevent all instances of evil people using guns to kill people. However the harder society makes it to get hold of guns, the lower the frequency of such incidents.

    In this context, it is not the hardened criminal who buys guns from underworld sources that we are seeking to protect ourselves against. It is the previously law abiding citizen who “loses it” and uses a conveniently available legally held weapon to commit mayhem. It is much harder to kill lots of people if your only weapon is a knife.

    • Anthony Harrison
      Posted December 16, 2012 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

      History has disproved your second sentence. Until the 1920 Firearms Act, we had no real “gun control” and British subjects were pretty much free to buy whatever and however many guns they wanted, including automatic weapons. Gun crime in this country was at a very much lower rate than it is now, in fact by modern standards it was barely visible on the radar.
      Ninety-two years later, a succession of further Firearms Acts has made it very much harder to own guns lawfully, and gun ownership is far less widespread than it was in my grandfather’s youth – but gun crime has increased exponentially. And the first mass shooting was Hungerford, in 1987 – after many years of progressively tighter restrictions on gun ownership.
      If you think that “the harder society makes it to get hold of guns…(etc)” then ultimately perhaps you believe they should be banned altogether from private hands – ? If this extreme step were taken, would you guarantee that no further mass-murder atrocities might occur? Do you suggest that such hideously authoritarian controls are compatible with a free society?

      • APL
        Posted December 17, 2012 at 10:26 am | Permalink

        Anthony Harrison: “Ninety-two years later, a succession of further Firearms Acts has made it very much harder to own guns lawfully … ”

        And despite the evermore stringent gun control laws, the criminals don’t seem to care that once they have decided to break one law, another one ( owning an illegal gun ) really doesn’t make much different.

        Perhaps we should make it illegal for a criminal to break more than one law? That would clearly address this type of problem.

        Of course to a deranged mind, one two or three contraventions of the law doesn’t matter.

        • Robert Christopher
          Posted December 18, 2012 at 1:42 am | Permalink

          But are criminals numerate?

          • APL
            Posted December 19, 2012 at 8:59 am | Permalink

            Robert Christopher: “But are criminals numerate?”


            I don’t know Robert, when demanding protection money, they certainly seem to know about percentages.

            Perhaps they are just good with fractions and %, but not so good with integral and differential calculus.

            If they have passed through the state school system, it’s a good chance they are in the 25% who leave school illiterate and innumerate.

        • John Doran
          Posted December 19, 2012 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

          Concurrent sentences mean that criminals serve the same time for multiple offences. Consecutive sentences would be a greater deterrent as crims do not like being away for long stretches.

          Our ridiculous laws mean we cannot deport illegal foreign crims, who disproportionately fill our jails, till we know that the jails they will be going to are soft enough. Our criminal justice system is not about punishing or deterring crime, it is about pretending to do so.

      • uanime5
        Posted December 17, 2012 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

        What’s your source for gun crime statistics? Does it take into account the types of guns that are now available compared to 1920? Does it take into account the rise in population since 1920?

        All of the above factors can lead to any comparison being inaccurate.

        • zorro
          Posted December 17, 2012 at 11:48 pm | Permalink

          Why don’t you look at the facts and the population numbers before spouting such weak arguments? Gun crime has risen exponentially since those days even when comparing population numbers. You’ll need to try a lot harder than that!


    • APL
      Posted December 16, 2012 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

      Mohammed Amin: “it is not the hardened criminal who buys guns from underworld sources that we are seeking to protect ourselves against.”

      Quite right, we are not protected against such people at all. Our only hope is that we are fortunate enough never to encounter them during our lifetime.

    • lifelogic
      Posted December 16, 2012 at 11:35 pm | Permalink

      Indeed gun control will clearly save some lives.

      • APL
        Posted December 19, 2012 at 9:02 am | Permalink

        lifelogic: “Indeed gun control will clearly save some lives.”

        Now you have made that assertion, kindly address the issue that criminals are very likely to ignore the gun control laws/regulations.

        The only people gun control impacts are the law abiding. And they would already be complying with the gun and ammunition storage regulations that are in force as a condition of a gun licence being issued.

  29. Span Ows
    Posted December 16, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    Evil doesn’t obey laws.

  30. rd
    Posted December 16, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    100% agree with this.

  31. nemesis
    Posted December 16, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    If the State has powers to corrupt and do bad things – then surely we should dilute that power to the individual.

  32. Glenn Vaughan
    Posted December 16, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    So what follows after the latest shootings in the U.S.?

    Children of 6, 7 and 8 attending school with guns in holsters strapped to their hips, to feel safer perhaps – just in case?

    The right to bear arms and associated claptrap – ugh!

    • Anthony Harrison
      Posted December 16, 2012 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

      Affectations of disgust aside, what rational steps might you suggest, likely to have a genuinely beneficial effect without horribly compromising liberty – ?

      • Glenn Vaughan
        Posted December 17, 2012 at 10:34 am | Permalink

        Clearly there is no shortage of gun freaks masquerading as libertarians.

        • Anthony Harrison
          Posted December 17, 2012 at 10:37 pm | Permalink

          Your response is crass, insulting and evasive – but not persuasive.

    • Adam5x5
      Posted December 16, 2012 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

      Or you might see a move to a system like in Israel, where schools have armed guards.
      A more sensible and measured response than arming children methinks…

  33. English Pensioner
    Posted December 16, 2012 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

    If it was a choice between British and US gun laws, I’d prefer the American version. As it is, apart from the police, the only people here who have guns are the criminals.
    It is all right for the government to say that I am allowed to defend myself in my own home, but how? I’m not even allowed a pepper spray or whatever it is that the police use for self defence. You can’t stop a killing like that at the school in America by banning guns, if someone is determined to kill like that there are many other ways it could be done, a car bomb being the first thing that comes to mind.

    • uanime5
      Posted December 16, 2012 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

      Crime statistics show that even criminals have trouble getting hold of guns due to the British gun laws.

      Spree killers don’t use car bombs because they’re too slow. Spree killers want to kill people as quickly as possible, then die; while terrorist want to kill specific people for ideological reasons and often want to survive. You shouldn’t assume that mass murderers have the same motives.

      • Anthony Harrison
        Posted December 16, 2012 at 10:55 pm | Permalink

        Utter nonsense, totally wild assertion with no foundation in fact! I challenge you to produce the “statistics” you claim.
        In fact, the number of unlicenced firearms out there is by definition not ascertainable, but attempts to put a figure on it have varied hugely and even the most conservative estimate is somewhere in the upper tens of thousands; the half-dozen or so firearms amnesties since WW2 netted around a quarter-million weapons – and those can safely be assumed to have been handed in by benign sources, not criminals….

        • uanime5
          Posted December 17, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

          What statistics are you referring to? I trust you’re not confusing criminal profiling with statistics.

          What estimates are you referring to regarding the number of unlicensed firearms and who made them? You seem to be making a lot of claims without any evidence to back them up.

          • Anthony Harrison
            Posted December 17, 2012 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

            Very sly. Rather than delve into my filing cabinet for the original sources, for the benefit of someone whose readiness to study pro-gun evidence I find highly improbable, I refer you to a couple of handy summary volumes that might educate you a little – were you ever to bother to obtain them, which I doubt very much.
            1. “Firearms Control”, Greenwood, R&KP [London] 1972, ISBN 0 7100 7435 2
            2. “Guns & Violence”, Munday & Stevenson, Piedmont [Brightlingsea] 1996, ISBN 1 871134 11 0

          • Edward
            Posted December 17, 2012 at 11:54 pm | Permalink

            “You seem to be making a lot of claims without any evidence to back them up”
            Got any mirrors handy Uni?

        • zorro
          Posted December 17, 2012 at 11:51 pm | Permalink

          You’re more likely to see ET, than see uanime5 ever quote statistics to back up his arguments (he will always insist that you do though)….


          • Edward
            Posted December 19, 2012 at 10:44 pm | Permalink

            The only trouble with statistics zorro, is that 61.2 % of all statistics are made up by the person quoting them.

  34. Alte Fritz
    Posted December 16, 2012 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

    There is something about Americans that prompts them to massacre each other with alarming regularity. No other country seems to manage it.

    Reply: I am afraid there have been all too many examples of multiple murders elsewhere as well.

    • libertarian
      Posted December 16, 2012 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

      Dear Alte Fritz

      I guess you missed the UK in 70’s 80’s and 90’s and the bombings, shootings and knee capping. I guess you missed Dunblane, Hungerford, 7/7 Lockerbie etc. Thats just the UK. There are 100’s of other examples in almost every country. Oh and the top 15 worst countries for murder are ALL African

      • Alte Fritz
        Posted December 17, 2012 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

        No, and this is an important point. In no other “first world” country are there reported, several times each year, massacres of citizens by another citizen. Dunblane and Hungerford happened in 1996 and 1987.

    • Christopher Ekstrom
      Posted December 16, 2012 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

      “From my cold dead hands”. That sentiment is a bedrock conviction of American gun owners. There is not much I am certain of in today’s PC/Franfurt School warped Anglo-Sphere (the rest of the late, great Western Civilization is dead) but should the Federal government of the USA unwisely attempt (& an “attempt” it would be) to ban guns it will be very, very bloody & finally, impossible. Enough citizens would break any “law” (including political leaders) foolishly imposed. Prohibition of alcohol would look like a total success. Of course future technology will make such an attempt ever more threatening; so if the Federal authorities are inevitably to attempt such an acktion; let’s get it on!

  35. davidb
    Posted December 16, 2012 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps the biggest single problem is not gun ownership, but the desire to have ones name “immortalised”. America has a culture of “veneration” of criminals. From Jesse James through Al Capone to the lunatic who murdered those children. They are all famous.

    Maybe the US should ban reporting of mass murders. Ah but that would be unconstitutional – like restricting guns. Why is this story running and running here? In the end was the reporting at the bottom of page 9 of an Irish bombing as much a cause of their cessation as any other?

    • John Doran
      Posted December 19, 2012 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

      Or was it Maggie’s determination to use the SAS that turned them to political rather than paramilitary paths?

  36. uanime5
    Posted December 16, 2012 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

    Companies, if left to their own devices, will try to reduce their costs even if they have to behave badly, or create misery and injustice. Government control is needed to prevent those with power abusing those who lack it.

    The purpose of regulations is not to make something impossible but to make it much rarer. That mass murder using a gun occurred in a country with gun control does not mean that this crime wouldn’t have occurred if there was no gun control.

    One problem with trying to understand why people go on killing sprees is assuming that they all have the same reason. While there are many spree killers who are depressed and as a result try to kill as many people as possible before killing themselves (Columbine and Virgina Tech) there are also some people who commit crimes for ideological reasons and are seeking publicity for their cause (Norway massacre and zealots that kill doctors who perform abortion). The latter are far more likely to be taken alive than the former because they have a reason to keep living. This makes it very difficult to determine the motivations of the former.

  37. Bert Young
    Posted December 16, 2012 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

    Just imagine what would happen at Hyde Park corner if drivers drove where and how they liked — mayhem , no-one would be able to get anywhere . A sensible society chose to drive on the left and give priority to the right , the result of this order and discipline keeps the traffic moving in a predictable fashion . Human nature requires a reliable discipline and its enforcement must be consistent and unrelentingly strict . I don’t think I need to spell out in more detail what the moral is behind my illustration. Dr.JR , yours was a timely and admirable post .

  38. Adam5x5
    Posted December 16, 2012 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

    The firearm restrictions in this country should be reduced significantly.

    At the present, the only people (outside the military) with guns are the criminals and police.
    Criminals are an obvious danger, but the police seem to be intent on getting ever more potent weapons – first pepper spray, then tazers, now multi-shot tazers are being requested. Next they’ll all be wanting guns.
    Meanwhile the government is getting ever more controlling – do this, don’t do that, drink less, eat less meat…

    Combined these two trends are extremely worrying. An increasingly controlling government and an increasingly well armed police force. Such trends historically have not ended well.
    Removing the bans on firearms would allow the balance of power to return to the individuals. What you have to remember is that just because a person has a gun, does not mean they are going to suddenly murder a lot of people.

    Firearms are a force equaliser. How many times do we read in the papers about people being beaten to/nearly to death on their doorstep in the street by gangs of youths? Or the elderly being beaten up and robbed in their homes by younger people? It wouldn’t happen nearly as often as a firearm brings the balance of power closer to level. Also the perpetrators would think twice about attacking someone if they didn’t know if they were armed or not…

    There should be gun controls. No violent criminals or people with mental health problems should be allowed a gun as they are too much of a risk. A law abiding citizen? Why should they not own a gun and be allowed to defend themselves?
    You could even limit the types of firearm available to semi-auto. Require a permit for concealed carry (as a lot of places do in America).
    But the permit should be issued unless there is a good reason not to.

    We need to be able to defend ourselves.

    • uanime5
      Posted December 17, 2012 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

      Another rant based on delusions rather than facts.

      The police are using pepper spray and tazers because they are an effective way to incapacitate people without permanently injuring them.

      According to the Police Federation 82% of police officer don’t want to carry guns, so your claim that all police officers want guns is clearly nonsense.

      You then go onto a paranoid rant about how people need guns in order to prevent the police doing their job. How exactly is this going to improve anything?

      You trot out the tired old claim that firearms are a “great equaliser” without mentioning that a group of young people with guns have a clear advantage over a single person or an old person with guns. More guns doesn’t magically protect people from criminals and many times it makes the situation worse.

      • Anthony Harrison
        Posted December 17, 2012 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

        You presume to offer speciously authoritative advice based on a level of study of the subject in question that I very much doubt amounts to more than hours. I do not believe you know anything about the subject at all. Not that this stops you….

      • Adam5x5
        Posted December 19, 2012 at 2:28 am | Permalink

        Tasers are not as safe as they would have you believe.

        Not sure where I said the police should be prevented from doing their job…
        What I actually said was that the trend is towards a better armed force and controlling government – which I consider to be a bad trend.

        Also, quoting from the Policing Federation website:
        As the figures for gun and knife crime continue to soar in the UK, the Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) continues to push for more police officers to be trained specifically as Authorised Firearms Officers (AFOs).

        The Police Federation want to see a 5% rise in the total number of officers in England and Wales trained in the AFO role and this appears to represent the views of our members with 43% of officers supporting moves to increase the numbers of officers trained to use firearms.

        When asked if a decision was made to train and arm all police officers whilst on duty, 70% of officers would be prepared to do so.

        Seems like a steady increase to me…

        Also “great equaliser” implies that the force available to each side is equal. I said “force equaliser”, which admittedly could be construed that way.
        Obviously a group of people with guns have more firepower than a single person. My point is that it would still be more equal than without. I wouldn’t fancy the chances of an elderly person investigating a sound from downstairs in the night if it happens to be a criminal, but it would be more even if they had a semi-auto pistol.

    • John Doran
      Posted December 19, 2012 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

      Hear hear 5X5.
      Or should that be Here Here?

      • John Doran
        Posted December 19, 2012 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

        U5, you have neglected to say that 72% of the British public would like to see more armed police officers.

        This from the BBC report you so selectively quote.

        Speaking of quoting the BBC as a source of fact rather than propaganda, after 28gate, when the BBC tried to pretend they’d consulted a panel of “scientists & experts” to determine the science behind global warming was ” settled” when we now know that at that date (Jan 2006) there had been no global warming for 10 years, & now for 16 years, I think I’d rather believe in the tooth fairy, or that Santi Claus is going to bring my new socks & pants this year.


  39. Antisthenes
    Posted December 16, 2012 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

    It is the way of things. Humans are evolving genetically all of the time. That evolution is influenced by environment and mutation at the same time humans are making much faster changes to their social environment than evolution can keep up with. This is throwing up all sort of anomalies and conditions that many humans have difficulty coping with leading to odd reasoning, unusual behaviour and irrational actions. Coupled with which the humans are increasing in numbers at an alarming rate and modern science is muting the natural selection process of evolution. Taking this all into account it can be no wonder that many more bad apples are making it into world barrel (just based on population numbers if nothing else) with all the terribly tragic and evil consequences that implies. However unfortunately natural forces are always at work and will work towards correcting dislocations in nature. For lemmings when food is scare and numbers too great mass suicide occurs. How the problems of too many humans and slow adaptability (although not true in all environmental areas) will work out is difficult to asses but nature will one way or another find a solution.

  40. Jon
    Posted December 16, 2012 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

    Being part of the pan European continent which has caused the deaths of over hundred million probably just in the last century I don’t feel I can criticise a nation that has a tiny fraction of that horror.

    I do like the fact that these fascist, socialist or communist despots would never get trackion in America because so many 10s of millions are armed there.

    There is an issue even allowing for their population. I don’t think its about the high profile multi murders that we hear about, its about the 10s of thousands of the others that happen each year. But they have done a much better job than Europeans have of preventing mass atrocities through the right of their population to bear arms.

    • uanime5
      Posted December 17, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

      You seem to have forgotten that many despots gained control of their country with the support of their people. You’ve also forgotten that the USA committed mass atrocities against the natives of the Americas.

      Also the USA nearly had a fascist despot when certain wealthy individuals tried to overthrow Franklin D. Roosevelt.

  41. Conrad Jones (Cheam)
    Posted December 16, 2012 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

    The nightmare of seeing someone gun down small children in a school setting is beyond normal human experience.

    Unfortunately, children and women are routinely killed in Drone Attacks in Pakistan, and coldly explained away as Colateral Damage.

    Now that American Children have been – yet again; killed in an isolated incident, the solution to this is to take away every American’s right to bear arms. In a Country which has the right to bear arms, why weren’t there any at the School? Where were the security staff ? Instead of Liberal Americans arguing for more intrusive Gun Control, perhaps if the Teacher’s had access to a Gun Safe and/or Armed Security Staff (this was America afterall), the Death Toll could have greatly been reduced.

  42. Iain Gill
    Posted December 16, 2012 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

    its easy to get a gun in this country if you really really want one.

    i lived in Chicago for a few years. things are so different in many ways. some better and some worse. the routine carrying of guns by much of the citizenry does change the dynamics somewhat, for instance you can leave your expensive car stereo in full view with absolute certainty it wont be stolen because any potential car stereo thief knows anyone seeing them do it will feel perfectly happy to shoot them AND THE LAW WILL SUPPORT THE CITIZEN INTERVENING AGAINST THE CRIMINAL (which doesnt happen here even in less dramtic interventions). The risk benefit equation for car stereo theft is therefore dramtically different to here. On the other hand petrol station attendants are regularly shot for some reason.

    I should have stayed in Chicago, I could have bought a house out of loose change, paid a lot less tax, and so on. All I get in this country is grief. Speed Cameras, out of control immigration, taxed to the hilt, forced to send my children to the worst schools in Europe, rubbish GP’s and no real access to private GP’s in much of the country.

    We have a lot to learn.

  43. Conrad Jones (Cheam)
    Posted December 16, 2012 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

    Another argument for not taking the easy political decision of reducing access to firearms is an analogy with motor vehicles.

    If a Driver ploughs his vehicle into a Crowd of people, and kills twenty of them, and it is later found that he did it out of rage or someother motive, should we then ban ALL motor vehicles?

    Americans have legitimate reasons for owning and keeping firearms; Sport, Home Defence, Reasons of Self Determination from oppressive outside influences.

    I’m sure the British would have been overjoyed if – in the 1700s; all Firearms were banned and no American had Access to them. No doubt, the War of Independence would have been a lot quicker, but that doesn’t mean that the Americans would have been safer or happier.

  44. Bazman
    Posted December 16, 2012 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

    Very glad to see all you right wing fantasists are ramming it and so you should, insulting young and old people, conservatives and labour alike! You need to ram it and so you do. Ram it.

    • Anthony Harrison
      Posted December 16, 2012 at 10:57 pm | Permalink

      You actually seem more insulting than practically everyone else here.

      • Bazman
        Posted December 17, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

        I do my best to insult right wing fantasists and Daily Mail believers in particular Haz. I will do my best to insult you you can be sure if you tow this line. Maybe you could explain why Britain has such a low rate of gun related deaths given that our gun restrictions are so out of touch with reality. The idea that the death rate would in some way fall or not even rise if the restrictions where removed beggars belief. This being one of your right wing fantasies no doubt? Ram it

        • Anthony Harrison
          Posted December 17, 2012 at 10:52 pm | Permalink

          Yes, you’ve certainly confirmed your ability to insult. Your third sentence is incoherent, but I believe you’ve misunderstood something badly: our gun restrictions are indeed out of touch with reality, since although we have a relatively low rate of gun crime, this is nevertheless proprtionately much higher than it was in the days when we had virtually no gun controls at all. Do you follow this? It tends to undermine facile suggestions that tougher gun laws make for less gun crime.

          • Bazman
            Posted December 18, 2012 at 11:20 am | Permalink

            Pretending you do not understand something does not make the point go away. Did you understand that? Society has moved on since the start of the century and expectations are higher in all areas. This harping back to previous times as if nothing has changed is indeed right wing fantasy and a common belief amongst fools. You could say the same with the current drug laws that prior to any restrictions drug addiction was less common. Following this argument do you propose to have heroin, cocaine and the means to administer them avalible in the local supermarkets in any quantities in order to reduce drug use? What would be the result of such an insane policy? Mass drug addiction would be the only outcome despite any arguments from pro or anti drug lobbies. Arming everyone in Britain with any weapon would reduce gun crime? Give us all a laugh and argue these points and any other that fit in with your silly view of a Britain that never was and never will be.

        • zorro
          Posted December 18, 2012 at 12:01 am | Permalink

          So why did gun crime double from 1996 to 2003 after the more draconian Dunblane restrictions….oh sorry I forgot professor of mathematics uanime5 thinks that it’s probably because the UK population doubled to about 120 million in 6 years….. 😉


          • Bazman
            Posted December 18, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

            Weasel words. The gun laws did not cover the assassins choice of weapon. The shotgun or the .22 caliber. Difficult commit mass murder with either of these weapons though innit..?

        • Edward
          Posted December 18, 2012 at 12:09 am | Permalink

          Just a quick reminder for you Baz,
          We live in a democracy not a dictatorship, and it may come as a surprise but some people hold views on many current political subjects that do not agree with your own honestly held views.

          You need to relax and accept this very basic fact of political life.
          There will always be an opposition.

          You will only annoy yourself interminably if you dont come to realise how politics works.

          • Bazman
            Posted December 18, 2012 at 11:23 am | Permalink

            Thanks again for you moral and political guidance Edward. If you can prove my points wrong than I’m glad to be wrong. If you cannot then just ram it.

          • Edward
            Posted December 19, 2012 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

            Glad to be of service to you Baz.
            Actually, some of your posts have been more interesting and analytical lately, but I wont claim any of the credit.
            Shame you lapsed back into your rudeness and childishness at the end, above.
            It is impossible to prove you wrong, your mind is made up. Your views are the only correct ones.You are always right and anyone who dares to put forward an alternative view is to be abused and insulted.

          • Bazman
            Posted December 19, 2012 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

            If you want to prove me wrong then you will have to come up with some credible points. Feeling something is right is not evidence ask your boss who will point for point evidence. You of course should ask the same.

          • Edward
            Posted December 20, 2012 at 9:43 am | Permalink

            You just don’t get it do you.
            Shouting fool, fantasy, idiot, rubbish, and other words of general abuse in response to views you just happen to disagree with, isn’t exactly proof that you are right in your views either.
            You dont seem notice that what you keep criticising in others is excactly what you do all the time, just from the other side of the political spectrum.

          • Bazman
            Posted December 20, 2012 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

            You are arguing about arguing Edward. Might work, though I doubt it, with your girlfriend or wife, but not with me. Could you please analyze a ram it and then ram it.

  45. Conrad Jones (Cheam)
    Posted December 16, 2012 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

    The issue of Gun Control is not that there are too many in America, but that it can be argued that there aren’t enough. If the Staff at the School in Newtown, Connecticut had access to Firearms (possibly with some regular training on how to use them), the maniac shooting children could have been shot and many innocent lives could have been saved.

    “One aspect of the terrible tragedy in Norway has not been mentioned in the media. Since it took 90 minutes for the police to arrive on Utoy Island (and the long response time ought to be a matter for investigation), what difference might it have made if one person, just one, had been armed and trained in the use of a weapon and had been able to stop the mass murderer in his tracks, preventing him from killing so many young people?

    Certain individuals don’t like to talk about what they call a “cowboy mentality,” but think about it. If there had been an adult security guard present with the skill to properly use a a weapon and if the killer had been shot after he shot the first of the teenagers, the mourning now taking place in Norway would be far less, though the loss of even a single innocent life is tragic enough.”

    • uanime5
      Posted December 17, 2012 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

      Are you recommending that firearms should be in a classroom full of children? If so then expect these children to one day get the gun and accidentally shoot themselves.

      If you’re recommending that the firearms should be kept in a secure location in the school how will you ensure that the teachers are able to get to the firearms in time to prevent the shooting? Also how will your prevent students getting into this room?

      Let’s not forget that if the criminal is better trained than the member of staff then all this system will do is give the criminal extra weapons. It’s little more than a naive fantasy to believe that a random person with a gun would have changed anything. Even the police won’t engage a lone gunman without superior numbers.

      • zorro
        Posted December 18, 2012 at 12:03 am | Permalink

        It’s OK though because the criminals won’t be able to get guns because of your new gun restrictions…..


        • Bazman
          Posted December 20, 2012 at 11:20 am | Permalink

          The criminal who might be the security guard or the teacher?

          • Bazman
            Posted December 23, 2012 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

            This does require a reply from the fantasists as it is a fundamental question.

      • Bazman
        Posted December 18, 2012 at 11:27 am | Permalink

        You have to admit uanime5 that in America the crazy gun laws make you want to keep a trusty sawn-off to hand and this would be the weapon of choice when the barbarians are at the gate. This being a contributing factor to gun crime.

      • Adam5x5
        Posted December 19, 2012 at 2:46 am | Permalink

        Yet in Israel, every school is fenced in and has an armed guard.

        When was the last time you heard of a tragedy like this in Israel?

        They also (in Israel) ensure that guns are licensed. If you apply for a license you are tested and if it flags up possible mental health issues, you don’t get one.

        A system similar to the one I was proposing…

  46. Conrad Jones (Cheam)
    Posted December 16, 2012 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

    The “Ban all Guns” campaign will be trying to use this event to lobby Congress to increase Gun Control in the U.S. Although I have certain sympathy for their aims (i.e. to reduce the likelyhood of further massacres), I am skeptical that reducing the ratio of Legal Gun ownership to Illegal Gun ownership is a way of achieving greater safety in the community.

  47. Conrad Jones (Cheam)
    Posted December 16, 2012 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

    One story about Adam Lanza is that he was taught at home due to “”battles” with education authorities over Adam’s education.”, by his mother.

    He was regarded as above average intelligence and suffered from Asperger’s Syndrome and was sociopathic. He was able to engage in Activities where he could sustain injuries and not feel pain.

    He was basically a perfect candidate for Army or Navy Special Forces – he appeared to be one of the 2% of the Population who can inflict pain on others without feelings of guilt, the the other 98% of us would feel guilt and hesitate to shoot back.

    It is interesting to recall that Sirhan Sirhan (the gunman who shot Robert F Kennedy in 1968) could never remember shooting RFK, except under hypnosis. Sirhan Sirhan also had psychological problems.

    Perhaps this is a strong argument for tighter Gun Control?

    Perhaps Mr Redwood is right – best not get into the pros and cons of American Gun Control.

  48. Conrad Jones (Cheam)
    Posted December 16, 2012 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

    I think that if Barack Obama is going to put to the American people that they will now be restricted from buying deadly weapons, those same deadly weapons should not be sold by American Companies to dictators around the World, especially in the Middle East.

    Israel uses American made Assault Rifles – they also shoot Children with them.
    Perhaps the gun control laws should apply to arming regimes who are likely to kill unarmed Women and Children. If the Obama argument centres around – restrict the flow of weapons to restrict the likelyhood of violence, why don’t thye apply that to their foregn weapons exports? Profit?

    Why is it fine for Western Countries to dictate to its population that they are not fit to carry weapons when European and American Arms Manufacturers regularly sell anti personnel weapons and cattle prods to “Friendly” Dictators.

    Why did Tony Blair accept that it was perfectly acceptable for a European Company to sell Cluster Bombs to Colonel Gadaffi? What did they think he was going to do with them ?

    • uanime5
      Posted December 17, 2012 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

      I trust you’re not comparing trained soldiers having guns to the average person without any training being allowed the same guns.

    • APL
      Posted December 17, 2012 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

      (There are allegations against the US Attorney…)

      And now the US administration gets on its soap box to agitate against the constitution that rightfully puts restraints on its own authority.

  49. Max Dunbar
    Posted December 17, 2012 at 12:20 am | Permalink

    The gun is the tool between the killer and the lethal bullet. A gun is as useless without ammunition as a car without fuel. Too much emotion about the gun.

    • uanime5
      Posted December 17, 2012 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

      Without the gun the killer can’t do much with the bullets. The focus is rightly on the gun.

      • Max Dunbar
        Posted December 19, 2012 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

        Ammunition is freely available without ID. Guns require ID. Either is useless without the other but ammo is available in very large quantities in the US. Normally the gun is purchased followed by the ammo, not the other way around.

  50. Electro-Kevin
    Posted December 17, 2012 at 12:32 am | Permalink

    Mass killings in the west are virtually always committed by deranged white men with legally held firearms.

    I expect that I will be able to say this without censure on this site. I would also feel uninhibited by political correctness or any threat to my job or liberty in saying so if I used my real name. (It is not Kevin btw)

    This is an important distinction to make in our so called ‘free’ society.

    • Electro-Kevin
      Posted December 17, 2012 at 12:55 am | Permalink

      It is also the case that deranged white men feature most prominently in cases where fathers have murdered their own small children to spite their partners.

      Now can we be fair about other crime profiling and the real reasons for making drugs legal ? Which – in my view – is not just because white upper middle-class Boomers dabble in them but mainly to de-criminalise a large percentage of the prison population who happen to share a common racial profile.

      This is as close as I’d sail to the wind on this statement. However the curtailment of free speech (truth) is, in the long run, a far greater threat to life than any of these awful killings.

      • Bazman
        Posted December 18, 2012 at 11:40 am | Permalink

        The truth is of what we are dealing with in the pro gun lobby is a form of doomsday cult and like many other right wing organisations believe in the fatalistic belief that everything is preordained. This is the greatest threat to truth and life. Right wing religious nutcases hiding behind freedom when they by default do not believe in freedom because everything is preordained.

        • Edward
          Posted December 19, 2012 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

          Ah! its them red neck, right wing Christians to blame for everything after all.
          I suppose North Korea and Iran are what you would call pro life and sane.
          Youve bee reading too many conspiracy theories baz.

          • Bazman
            Posted December 20, 2012 at 11:14 am | Permalink

            Same script. Suicide states, though you can be sure they fear for their own skins. Religious fatalism is prevalent in right wing Christians though especially those who want to maintain the status quo.

  51. Ian
    Posted December 17, 2012 at 12:59 am | Permalink

    There have been more school shootings in the USA since 1999 than in the rest of the world combined. There is something toxic in American culture which facilitates these terrible crimes.

    Unfortunately, firearms control legislation alone could only lower the frequency of tragedies like this from occurring. However, there is little chance of effective national gun control legislation being passed in the USA since a large and vocal section of their Society regard civilian possession of firearms as an intrinsic cornerstone of freedom.

  52. Bazman
    Posted December 17, 2012 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

    There is a future weapon called DREAD or Multiple Projectile Delivery System (MPDS) an electrically powered gun, with no powder, no recoil, no sound, no heat, no visible firing signature and no stoppages or jams of any kind. With no theoretical limit on rates of fire. 120000 round of up to .50 cal at the moment The American gun lobby will be against any legislation of this for the home owner of course. What does that tell us?

    • Edward
      Posted December 19, 2012 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

      Are you sure you havn’t read this story in “The Onion”?

      • Bazman
        Posted December 20, 2012 at 11:28 am | Permalink

        It’s a weapon based on the principal of centrifugal force. If you have ever seen anything fly off a rotating machine it is easy to imagine the idea. Pretending it cannot exist or be possible does not make the idea go away. Whether it is this or something else, weapons technology is advancing and the gun lobby just think anything should go.

  53. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted December 18, 2012 at 2:43 am | Permalink

    I would like to see fewer laws and more rigorous enforcement of those that remain.

  54. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted December 18, 2012 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    Of all the gun killings in the US over, say, the last 20 years, how many have been in the acts of self defence or law enforcement? How many have been by companies or individuals thwarting a crime? None of the rest are justified, are they? As always, we need to know the numbers.

  55. Jerry
    Posted December 19, 2012 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    John, in case you have not noticed, at the time of my sending this comment this (freedom-and-evil) blog entry seems to have been hacked, there is a string of HTML code that is displaying a URL to what looks like a essay writing website. It is within the second paragraph and is splitting the word “of”.

  56. Bazman
    Posted December 20, 2012 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

    The mass killings of the likes of Derrick Bird cannot be prevented, but at least he only had a shotgun and a small calibre rifle. You might have some chance with either of these weapons. Relying on assault rifles being difficult to use is not better.
    The fire arm is often just used as a threat. Once the weapon has been fired it is a liability especially if the bullet is recovered.
    The problem it is said for criminals is often not obtaining a firearm, but getting the bullets. If you think about it a crude firearm could be quite readily made, the bullet would be a much greater problem. Though with some effort even this could be fabricated. It would not have to be good, but to just work as in any other piece of equipment. All arguments are correct, but having the population armed to the teeth with assault rifles is just another silly right wing fantasy.
    Sensible enough for you Edward?

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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