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MARK STEYN: This is what happens when governments try to ban guns
The Daily Telegraph ^ | January 5, 2003 | Mark Steyn

Posted on 01/04/2003 4:22:30 PM PST by MadIvan

You would think if "gun control" was going to work anywhere it would be on a small island. Particularly a small island at whose ports of entry the zealots of HM Customs like nothing better than performing intimate cavity searches on the off-chance you've got an extra bottle of duty-free Beaujolais tucked away up there. Surely, if you also had a Walther PPK parked out of sight, these exhaustive inspectors would be the first to notice.

But apparently not. Since the Government's "total ban" five years ago, there are more and more guns being used by more and more criminals in more and more crimes. Now, in the wake of Birmingham's New Year bloodbath, there are calls for the total ban to be made even more total: if the gangs refuse to obey the existing laws, we'll just pass more laws for them not to obey. According to a UN survey from last month, England and Wales now have the highest crime rate of the world's 20 leading nations. One can query the methodology of the survey while still recognising the peculiar genius by which British crime policy has wound up with every indicator going haywire - draconian gun control plus vastly increased gun violence plus stratospheric property crime.

What happened at that party in Aston? I don't mean "what happened?" in the sense of the piercing analysis of Chief Superintendent Dave Shaw, who concluded: "There has clearly been some sort of dispute which has resulted in people coming to the premises with guns, discharging their weapons and causing this incident." You can't put anything over on these coppers, can you? But my question is directed at the broader meaning of the event. Chief Supt Shaw went on: "We have never had to deal with anything like this. In terms of the nature of the incident, it's almost unprecedented in Birmingham." He didn't quite say Birmingham is one of those bucolic tightly-knit communities where everyone in the village knows everyone else and no one locks their doors, but you get the drift: this is some sort of bizarre aberration.

I think not. When those young men decided to open fire in Birchfield Road, they were making an entirely rational decision. One reason why Chief Supt Shaw has "never had to deal with anything like this" is because Aston was long ago ceded to the gangs. And, if you can deal drugs with impunity and burgle with impunity and assault with impunity and use guns with impunity, who's to say you can't murder with impunity? The West Midlands Police have offered a reward of £1,000 for information leading to the arrest of those involved. Think about that: would you name a known gang member for a thousand quid? Once the funerals have been held and the media's moved on, the constabulary will go back to forgetting about Aston. But you'll still have to live there.

When Dunblane occurred, all of us - even, if they're honest with themselves, the shrieking hysterics baying for pointless legislation - understood it was a freak event: a nut went nuts. It happens, and, when it does, the event has no broader implications. But what happened in Birchfield Road is of wider relevance: it's a glimpse of the day after tomorrow - not just in Aston, but in Edgbaston and Solihull and Leamington Spa.

After Dunblane, the police and politicians lapsed into their default position: it's your fault. We couldn't do anything about him, so we'll do something about you. You had your mobile nicked? You must be mad taking it out. Why not just keep it inside nice and safe on the telephone table? Had your car radio pinched? You shouldn't have left it in the car. House burgled? You should have had laser alarms and window bars installed. You did have laser alarms and window bars but they waited till you were home, kicked the door in and beat you up? You should have an armour-plated door and digital retinal-scan technology. It's your fault, always. The monumentally useless British police, with greater manpower per capita on higher rates of pay and with far more lavish resources than the Americans, haven't had an original idea in decades, so they cling ever more fiercely to their core ideology: the best way to deal with criminals is to impose ever greater restrictions and inconveniences on the law-abiding.

The gangs on Birmingham's streets instinctively understand this. They know, even if the Government doesn't, that the Blairite "total" ban, which sounds so butch and macho when you do your soundbite on the telly, is a cop-out: it makes the general population the target, not the criminals. And once that happens it's always easier to hassle the cranky farmer with the unlicensed shotgun than the Yardies with the Uzis. When you disarm the citizenry, when you prosecute them for being so foolish as to believe they have a right to self-defence, when you issue warnings that they should "walk on by" if they happen to see a burglary or rape in progress, the main beneficiaries will obviously be the criminals. Aston is the logical reductio of British policing: rival bad guys with state-of-the-art hardware, a cowed populace, and a remote constabulary tucked up in bed with the answering machine on.

I see I haven't yet mentioned the touchy social factor which even squeamish British Lefties have been forced to confront: Aston is yet more "black-on-black" violence. The reason I haven't mentioned it is because there hardly seems any point. What's new? Canada also had a Dunblane-like massacre, followed by Dunblane-like legislation, and, like Birmingham, boring, bland Toronto has lately been riven by gun violence from - wait for it - Jamaican gangs. But in neither Britain nor Canada is it politically feasible to suggest that perhaps Jamaicans should be subjected to special immigration scrutiny. As it happens, that Canadian massacre, of Montreal female students 12 years ago, was committed by the son of an Algerian Muslim wife-beater, but, although we all claim to be interested in the "root causes" of crime, they tend to involve awkward cultural judgments. It's easier, like Mr Blair, just to go "total": blame everyone, ban everything.

This basic approach of addressing any cultural factors apart from the ones that correlate was pioneered by American progressives. The corpulent provocateur Michael Moore, in his film Bowling for Columbine, currently delighting British audiences, spends an entire feature-length documentary investigating the "culture" of American gun violence without mentioning that blacks, who make up 13 per cent of the population, account for over half the murders (and murder victims, too). Once you factor them out, Americans kill at about the same rate as nancy-boy Canadians.

But, as I said, it's hardly worth mentioning in relation to Britain. In my part of New Hampshire, we're all armed to the hilt and any gangster who fancied holding up a gas station would be quickly ventilated by guys whose pick-ups are better equipped than most EU armies. The right of individual self-defence deters crime, constrains it, prevents it from spreading out of the drug-infested failed jurisdictions. In post-Dunblane, post-Tony Martin Britain, that constraint doesn't exist: that's why the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea now has a higher crime rate than Harlem.

Meanwhile, America's traditionally high and England and Wales's traditionally low murder rates are remorselessly converging. In 1981, the US rate was nine times higher than the English. By 1995, it was six times. Last year, it was down to 3.5. Given that US statistics, unlike the British ones, include manslaughter and other lesser charges, the real rate is much closer. New York has just recorded the lowest murder rate since the 19th century. I'll bet that in the next two years London's murder rate overtakes it.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; United Kingdom
KEYWORDS: ban; banglist; consequences; deathcultivation; failedpolicy; guns; marksteynlist; peoplekillnotguns; results
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Steyn, as per usual, nails it.

Regards, Ivan


1 posted on 01/04/2003 4:22:30 PM PST by MadIvan
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To: BigWaveBetty; widgysoft; Da_Shrimp; BlueAngel; JeanS; schmelvin; MJY1288; terilyn; Ryle; ...
Bump!
2 posted on 01/04/2003 4:22:59 PM PST by MadIvan
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To: *bang_list
Bump!
3 posted on 01/04/2003 4:23:14 PM PST by MadIvan
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To: MadIvan
...Americans kill at about the same rate as nancy-boy Canadians.

Love this guy!

4 posted on 01/04/2003 4:27:57 PM PST by facedown
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To: MadIvan
Excellent commentary! I've been looking for something just like this.
5 posted on 01/04/2003 4:29:14 PM PST by AntiGuv
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To: MadIvan
Oh come now! You mean they never heard of "midnight basketball" to end the violence?
6 posted on 01/04/2003 4:30:16 PM PST by Mark
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To: MadIvan
Nothing worries corrupt officials more than arms in the hands of angry citizens.
7 posted on 01/04/2003 4:33:40 PM PST by thinktwice
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To: MadIvan
Yes it is about time someone mentioned the demograpic breakdown of violent crime. Perhaps in the near future we can logically address the causes of violence.
8 posted on 01/04/2003 4:40:34 PM PST by junta
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To: MadIvan
Terribly politically incorrect, meaning that it's highly accurate.

The evidence is objective. It's out there. Those dumbass hicks in America with the bumper stickers reading When Guns Are Outlawed, Only Outlaws Will Have Guns are far smarter than the sissies who run Commonwealth countries.

9 posted on 01/04/2003 4:51:45 PM PST by Dog Gone
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To: MadIvan
When you disarm the citizenry, when you prosecute them for being so foolish as to believe they have a right to self-defence, when you issue warnings that they should "walk on by" if they happen to see a burglary or rape in progress, the main beneficiaries will obviously be the criminals.

Mind-boggling how the painfully obvious can be so relentlessly ignored.

It's as if some mass psychosis has seized huge segments of the populace.

10 posted on 01/04/2003 4:52:22 PM PST by Madame Dufarge
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To: MadIvan
Whew! Boy can Steyn make a point.
11 posted on 01/04/2003 4:56:49 PM PST by twntaipan
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To: Mark
No, you need child safety locks on guns. And no more violent toy guns at Christmas.

Mark Steyn Rules!!

12 posted on 01/04/2003 4:58:31 PM PST by nwrep
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To: Howlin; riley1992; Miss Marple; deport; Dane; sinkspur; steve; kattracks; JohnHuang2; ...

13 posted on 01/04/2003 5:00:25 PM PST by Pokey78
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To: Chad Fairbanks
In case you haven't been pinged. If you have, then...nevermind. : )
14 posted on 01/04/2003 5:00:34 PM PST by DaughterOfAnIwoJimaVet
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To: DaughterOfAnIwoJimaVet
Thankie fer der ping :0)
15 posted on 01/04/2003 5:01:45 PM PST by Chad Fairbanks
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To: MadIvan
In my part of New Hampshire, we're all armed to the hilt and any gangster who fancied holding up a gas station would be quickly ventilated by guys whose pick-ups are better equipped than most EU armies.

Heh Heh

16 posted on 01/04/2003 5:03:32 PM PST by NewHampshireDuo
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To: MadIvan
Steyn is willing to say what needs to be said. He really is a square. That's why we love him!
17 posted on 01/04/2003 5:07:51 PM PST by xm177e2
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To: Madame Dufarge
It has.

L

18 posted on 01/04/2003 5:08:29 PM PST by Lurker
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To: Madame Dufarge
their core ideology: the best way to deal with criminals is to impose ever greater restrictions and inconveniences on the law-abiding.

Mind-boggling how the painfully obvious can be so relentlessly ignored.

Worth repeating. Why do these socialists continue to fantasize that criminals will obey the law?

19 posted on 01/04/2003 5:17:32 PM PST by xsrdx
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To: MadIvan
For years, I've been arguing with European acquaintances that their much-vaunted low crime rates had nothing to do with their socialist governments and gun control laws and everything to do with their homogeneous populations. It's always a lot easier to get people to behave when they have all been brought up in the same culture with the same standards of behavior, and don't have to deal with the tension of racism or competition from other immigrant cultures, as America does. That's why there are so few gang killings among the Norwegian bachelor farmers of Minnesota.

Now, after opening their borders for so long and letting in so many Jamaicans, Arabs, etc., many with criminal backgrounds, and punishing law-abiding people for defending themselves, their violent crime rates are skyrocketing, as anyone with a functioning brain could've predicted. They refuse to deal with this reality because it disproves their premise, so their solution is to lard on ever more socialism, political correctness and gun control laws. If they were doctors, they'd be like Theodoric of York, Medieval Barber, prescribing more and more bleedings for anemia patients.

20 posted on 01/04/2003 5:20:57 PM PST by HHFi
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To: wardaddy; maica; harpseal; Squantos; Eaker; Living Stone; big ern; Karl B
Steyn nails it again!
21 posted on 01/04/2003 5:25:10 PM PST by Travis McGee
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To: HHFi
Your post #20 is worth an article and thread of its own! Bullseye!
22 posted on 01/04/2003 5:26:52 PM PST by Travis McGee
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To: MadIvan
Bump.
23 posted on 01/04/2003 5:27:49 PM PST by Rocko
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To: MadIvan
And once that happens it's always easier to hassle the cranky farmer with the unlicensed shotgun than the Yardies with the Uzis.

Ain't it the truth?

And some folks think there's no difference in political parties, that gun laws don't affect them, that the police will protect them.

24 posted on 01/04/2003 5:36:47 PM PST by DeFault User
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To: MadIvan
Thanks for the Steyn bump, Ivan.
25 posted on 01/04/2003 5:39:00 PM PST by The Iguana
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To: HHFi
prescribing more and more bleedings for anemia patients.

Amen and Amen!

26 posted on 01/04/2003 5:43:15 PM PST by Free State Four
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To: Mark
Did you forget all the daycare centers?
27 posted on 01/04/2003 5:51:33 PM PST by Inkie
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To: MadIvan
BTTT
28 posted on 01/04/2003 5:54:55 PM PST by Gritty
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BUMP for a later read ......
29 posted on 01/04/2003 5:59:13 PM PST by RedWhiteBlue
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To: xsrdx
Worth repeating. Why do these socialists continue to fantasize that criminals will obey the law?

Deep down, the socialists don't believe it. But they believe that criminals preying on the innocent is a "small price to pay" for advancing socialism even more. Get those "little people" used to the idea that their lives and property aren't safe from the criminals. Then they won't object when the socialist government itself replaces the criminal as their major predator.

30 posted on 01/04/2003 5:59:44 PM PST by 300winmag
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To: Pokey78
Steyn does it again!

Considering the inroads the Progressives have made on our written Constitution, imagine the horror of having an unwritten constitution as Great Britain does.

31 posted on 01/04/2003 6:00:33 PM PST by metesky
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To: MadIvan
I'd just LOVE to see Donahue take this guy on...now THAT I'd watch. Why doesn't he get tv time?
32 posted on 01/04/2003 6:10:02 PM PST by Puppage
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To: MadIvan
It's not just because America has more armed citizens. Our murder rate decline tracks well whereever we have ignored or defeated the ACLU and their fellow travelers by our increased use of the death penalty. Yep. New York just reinstituted the death penalty. (Well, on paper anyway. Give it a few years of non-application and NY's murder rate will turn up again. NY criminals will be fooled less long than most NY voters.)
33 posted on 01/04/2003 6:19:09 PM PST by Avoiding_Sulla
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To: MadIvan
The right of individual self-defence deters crime, constrains it, prevents it from spreading out of the drug-infested failed jurisdictions.

We're now acting to clean up failed states abroad. Why not failed jurisdictions at home (DC, Detroit, Chicago, LA, etc.)?

Place them under temporary fed jurisdiction, arrest the corrupt pols nad set up large numbers of penal batallions on the North Slope for the younger miscreants?

I know this modest proposal might start a few "German National Greeting" alerts, but is there a workable alternative?

34 posted on 01/04/2003 6:32:33 PM PST by pierrem15
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To: pierrem15
nad=and

I forgot to add: major kudos to MadIvan as usual!

35 posted on 01/04/2003 6:33:50 PM PST by pierrem15
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To: MadIvan
Bookmarked and BTTT
36 posted on 01/04/2003 6:43:15 PM PST by hattend
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To: HHFi
and everything to do with their homogeneous populations.

Pretty much every ethnic demographic in the U.S. has a lower murder rate than their counterpart in their native land. Americans of British descent had about half to a third the murder rate of the British in Britain in the 70s and 80s.

37 posted on 01/04/2003 6:45:55 PM PST by lepton
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To: facedown
...Americans kill at about the same rate as nancy-boy Canadians.

And we nancy-boys are damn proud of that fact!

38 posted on 01/04/2003 6:46:23 PM PST by NorthernRight
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To: pierrem15
But in neither Britain nor Canada is it politically feasible to suggest that perhaps Jamaicans should be subjected to special immigration scrutiny.

I watched a documentary about 2 Jamaicans who raped and murdered a Canadian tourist in Bermuda a couple of years ago. They do get around, these wogs.

39 posted on 01/04/2003 6:50:24 PM PST by doosee
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To: MadIvan
A terrific column, perhaps the best I've seen on this subject.
40 posted on 01/04/2003 6:52:01 PM PST by dighton
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To: MadIvan
The monumentally useless British police, with greater manpower per capita on higher rates of pay and with far more lavish resources than the Americans, haven't had an original idea in decades, so they cling ever more fiercely to their core ideology: the best way to deal with criminals is to impose ever greater restrictions and inconveniences on the law-abiding.

At the same time that all this rubbish is going on, I saw a program[me] (probably of BBC origin) a few weeks ago on our Discovery Channel about "bad drivers" in Britain. It showed some pretty egregious things, of course. But they also had plenty of instances of the Nanny State Constables pulling drivers over for the most trivial little nit-picking things -- taking a quick sip from a bottle of water while driving, instead of "keeping both hands firmly placed upon the steering column at all times", for example. It is apparently also a crime to be holding a map or written directions in one's hand while driving, even if you keep both hands on the steering wheel -- you apparently are supposed to either have a photographic memory or else just automatically know where to go at all times.

Meanwhile, as the British police are busy keeping drivers safe from themselves, the murder rate continues to rise.

41 posted on 01/04/2003 6:53:19 PM PST by Stefan Stackhouse
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To: Madame Dufarge
No only a change of demographics, my Gandmothers Grandfather was President of the LDS Mission in Birmingham in the 1840s', the out of work and the starving were the only worries then.

As an aside, we in Eastern NH have more guns than the commies in the Hannover area.

42 posted on 01/04/2003 6:55:55 PM PST by Little Bill
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To: MadIvan
You would think if "gun control" was going to work anywhere it would be on a small island. Particularly a small island at whose ports of entry the zealots of HM Customs like nothing better than performing intimate cavity searches on the off-chance you've got an extra bottle of duty-free Beaujolais tucked away up there.

Mark Steyn has never visited Northern Ireland, obviously! *LOL*

43 posted on 01/04/2003 6:59:37 PM PST by Happygal
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To: MadIvan
The biggest deterent to criminals is penalty.

Build more prisons.
Bring back the death penalty.

And sack all of the social workers and psychotherapists to pay for it.

Whatever happened to 'Commit the crime, do the time?'

Time to get tough!
44 posted on 01/04/2003 7:02:24 PM PST by Happygal
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To: Stefan Stackhouse
As a copper in the UK around '67 to '69, I look back and see that I was kind of brainwashed into thinking the the British bobby could do his job without ever arming. Then I came here 16yrs ago, thank God and I feel my plans about retiring there have gone up in flames a long time ago. Can't they get it through their thick skulls, "More guns = Less crime".
45 posted on 01/04/2003 7:06:01 PM PST by Never2baCrat
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To: HHFi
Excellent post!
46 posted on 01/04/2003 7:22:31 PM PST by Happygal
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To: NorthernRight
...Americans kill at about the same rate as nancy-boy Canadians.

"And we nancy-boys are damn proud of that fact!"

I hope you're being sarcastic but I'll take the opportunity to plug Free dominion for ya.

47 posted on 01/04/2003 7:32:42 PM PST by facedown
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To: scholar; Bullish; harpseal; Travis McGee; Squantos
Ping
48 posted on 01/04/2003 7:39:43 PM PST by knighthawk
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To: MadIvan
Delightful read. fabulously sarcastic and witty.
49 posted on 01/04/2003 7:55:53 PM PST by Bullish
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Comment #50 Removed by Moderator


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