Monday, January 29, 2007

On Being Down and Defenseless in Britain

This is a sad and insane story. The UK no longer makes sense - or at least its laws don’t.

I preface posting this story with a reference to the longs threads that developed on Gates of Vienna in response to the Baron’s question: “What If the Brits Packed Heat?” and his other post, “The Right to Keep and Bear Arms.”The comments were plentiful and lively, ranging across the spectrum of opinion on the morality, wisdom, and efficacy of private citizens’ gun ownership.

One commenter, who really got the thread going, said:

No thanks. We don’t want a gun culture like you have over there. You can keep it.

I couldn’t help but think of this remark when I read the following story - the sad, insane quandary of Dr. Chan:

The ordeal began when Dr Chan, a father of six, returned from a two-week holiday in France on December 30. In the early hours of New Year’s Eve as the family slept, thieves smashed through the back door of his home in Belsize Park, North London.

They grabbed three computers worth more than £3,000 and a pile of unopened Christmas presents.

The heist was especially heartbreaking because the laptops contained hundreds of precious photographs of his wife Zaide, 35, their children and his grandchild, as well as the text of more than 150 lectures on radiology.

Dr Chan said the Metropolitan Police did not send a single uniformed officer to investigate the crime, although a forensics expert paid a visit to dust for fingerprints and DNA evidence.

Well, that was nice of them - to dust for fingerprints, I mean. How…rigorous.

Dr. Chan said:

“When my wife and I discovered the burglary, we rang the police and they didn’t want to know.

Five hours afterwards, after complaining, they sent a single forensics expert round, but they said no police officer was available to investigate thefts or break-ins.

I was astonished because we are close to three police stations.

The forensics person was very nice but they effectively told me, ‘I wouldn’t hold your breath for your belongings’.

I didn’t hear anything else from them and I was appalled.

I have lost ten years of family photos and 20 years of work. It has been heartbreaking.”

So what did Dr. Chan do with his heartbreak? Did he go on a rampage? Did he steal in return? No, he did what any hog-tied, helpless person would do: he begged for his belongings to be returned and he even put up signs around his neighborhood offering to pay for their return, no questions asked:- - - - - - - - - -
“I put out an advert offering a reward on railings, in streets and even on trees locally.

I was offering a huge reward, no questions asked.”
And what did he get for his trouble? Well, let’s just say he got the British bobby treatment: they offered to arrest him if he didn’t take the notices down. Seems that making such appeals is against the law in Britain. Again, Dr. Chan says:

“Then a couple of weeks later I got a phone call from the police warning that I could be prosecuted for trying to buy stolen goods.

I said that they had not done very much to get my things back.

They said that they had everything under control, but I pointed out to them they had not even come round to take the serial numbers of the computers.”

Under section 23 of the Theft Act 1968, it is illegal to advertise rewards for return of goods stolen or lost using words to the effect that no questions will be asked.

Anyone convicted faces a fine of up to £100 and will get a criminal record.


“Everything under control” indeed! More like “everyone turned into sheep.” ‘Tis no wonder Dr. Dalrymple moved to France. Perhaps Dr. Chan will consider joining him.

Is there a point of no return in the journey down this path of compelled helplessness? Would any culture forced to walk that way know when they’d gone too far to return to a world of justice?

To our commenter I can only reply sadly:

No thanks. We don’t want a sheep culture like you have over there. You can keep it.

Even Orwell couldn’t have dreamed up Dr. Chan’s nightmare.

63 comments:

reliapundit said...

pc run amok, and pc is gramscian.

iow: pc is a deliberate tactic of the anti-Judeo-Christian anti-West Left.

Jeebie said...

Sad, but true. Although a second ammendment right could have helped Dr. Chan in this case, the response by the police was difficult to understand. Not having lived in London, I wonder, is that the best a British citizen can expect? Is that the normal response? On a much larger scale, there is a similar problem here in America on our southern border. We, too, have been "burglarized" by millions. Should you call the "authorities" to complain about (pick your own term...illegal alien, criminal invader, burglar), then the response is the same as Dr. Chan's experience. "We don't want to know, no one available, don't hold your breath". At the federal level, our law enforcement seems as impotent as Britain's. Or is negligent a better word? Sort of scary to think that those who should serve and protect, really aren't there, afterall. For that reason, I thank our founding fathers for the foresight that there might be such "voids" in law enforcement or national defense, and for our second ammendment.

Subvet said...

The UK doesn't have a monopoly on incompetence and indifference towards crime.

My wife and I exercised our 2nd Amendment rights this weekend and bought her a gun. This was after reporting an attempted breakin of our home last Monday.

The 911 operator treated it as a "welfare" call involving an Alzheimers patient. It took a full week of nagging and complaining to get someone to finally admit the system messed up. As you might guess, the police never caught the individual.

That's how things are here in North Texas, I don't want to know what the rest of the country is like.

Asger said...

Well tell your government to look at the new rules Denmark is making.

They officers are, among other things, going directly after young immigrants with tough fines from the beginning it is the only thing that works. Because they, according to the police, have at different culture than danes.

And throw them out of the country if they do not follow the law.

MrSmith said...

One of the many things I don't understand about cases like this is how people can describe PC as 'run amok' or 'gone mad'. It was born mad and only ever needs the faintest excuse to run amok. It's not a question of this amount being tolerable but that amount being 'gone mad', but of the litigation, literally, of the concept of thought crime. (If something is 'Correct', then logically everything which goes against it is Incorrect) The only reasonable alternative is to abolish the concept of Political Correctness altogether. Wouldn't fix everything, but it'd be a damn good start.

Ronald Barbour said...

An excellent article in TJP improved.

I used it as inspiration to do an article of my own with the same theme of the "Red-Green Coup" in the Weimar Republics that exist in Europe.

Hitler Comes To Power Today....In 1933

mellivora said...

Thinking with 20/20 hindsight, what could Mr. Chan have done?

Suppose he had had a pistol but no military training. He most likely would have ennervated or shirked at the last moment and missed with the shot. You get only one chance with a pistol. Given to the gun skills of the usual thugs, the chances are he too would have missed and there would have begun a wild firefight with many family members being hit and wounded - for life. The result would still have been the same - Mr. Chan being robbed. If you don't dare to shoot to kill, better not to shoot at all.

And if you want to shoot and really hit, a sawed-off shotgun provides the best neutralizing effect on punks. Too bad they are illegal.

Given to legislature of many EU countries, human life is a stronger judicial value than domestic untouchability. So if you defend yourself with lethal force without being threatened with it, it is you who go to prison - you are allowed to defend yourself with only the minimum force needed. Shooting the punk will earn you 1 to 4 years here in Finland in the federal custody.

What have I done? I have rigged my home.

Since this is Finland and computers are dime a dozen, I have myself built a surveillance system based on Linux, web cameras, microphones and SMS messaging to my mobile phone. Should someone cross the line and break in, the surveillance system sets in, the various web cameras record it all, microphones pick the noises and voices and everything is stored on a hard disk. The surveillance computer itself is an old laptop hidden. Should anyone enter my home without permission, he'd better smile since he is in candid camera.

Why throw your old computers away? They can be built into a surveillance system. Likewise, your old mobile phones can be rigged. Web camera is an easily hidden eye. Hard disks are cheap for storing evidence. There are myriads of ways of detecting and recognizing the punks and get them.

One gram of prevention is worth a kilo of treatment. Guns are treatment; the big question is how to prevent crime.

MK said...

Not sure that moving to France is a better idea, that might be like jumping from the boiling pot into the fire.

ZionistYoungster said...

It's everywhere, including Israel: farmer Shai Dromi under arrest after shooting at Bedouin thieves [1], [2].

We, the ones who gave the world G-d's Law, have traded it for the unjust system of political correctness! This is outrageous!

Fellow Peacekeeper said...

We, the ones who gave the world G-d's Law, have traded it for the unjust system of political correctness! This is outrageous!

Considering the ancestral roots of a strikingly disproportionate number of the founding fathers of PC .... :)

Well, I shall say no more.

ZionistYoungster said...

Fellow Peacekeeper,

No disagreement here. The worst enemies of the Jews are self-hurting Jews.

Tempers in Israel are reaching boiling point. There is the feeling our self-serving leaders have sold us out. Fjordman's Eurabia reports are, with some modifications, applicable to Israel as well. The trauma of Rabin's assassination is preventing civil war here, but make no mistake: Olmert and Peretz are reviled by the majority. Peretz was just screamed at by the citizens when visiting Eilat after the terrorist attack.

Rumpole said...

There are interesting parallels to the US. In the US we have a very large prision population and an historically low crime rate. The criminals are segregated and cannot commit future crimes. Our enforcement is by and large agressive. This is the result of the American people saying we aren't going to take this anymore and demanding that we deal harshly with criminals. As a people we have always reacted this way when enough is enough - our patience is limited and we are not hesitant to react with force when provoked to that point. (from the Barbary Pirates to WWII). Our foreign enemies should take note.

suxxes said...

Europe's assimilation of Islam, or Islam's assimilation of Europe?

Read this great article" target="_blank" about it.

Charro99 said...

Hey y'all,

Lived in England in 1993-1994 at the University of Sunderland. By and large, I loved it. However, the first week was rough. Most foreign students lived in a University apartment complex that had about 90 ground-floor rooms. Students were moving in over a one-week period, and nobody knew anybody. Obviously, local thieves had noticed this pattern before and took advantage of it. Something like 10 of the ground-floor rooms were broken into during that week. My own next-door neighbor's place was robbed and he lost every worldly possession on that side of the Atlantic (other than a few clothes). The cops came out and LAUGHED at him. ("3 rooms in one night--that's a hat trick!" Yuk yuk.) Naturally, he never got any of his stuff back. We went to the Uni honchos to complain about the ineffective security, but they basically said "Hey, we just work here." A normally mild-mannered preppy from New Jersey freaked out at this response, frothing on about how this kind of crap doesn't happen in 'Merca because we tend to blow the heads off perps.

Finally, us Yanks organized a vigilante squad armed with broom sticks, etc., which was led by an unlikely-looking sensitive-long-hair from Nebraska. One night, we chased a kid away who had been trying to break into my window. He hopped over the useless security fence before we got there, but the break-ins tapered off after that. Maybe because we responded, or maybe because all of the good rooms had been robbed. I dunno.

If there's a point to my post, I suppose that it's that an armed society is a polite society. There's no better sign that a government doesn't trust its citizens than when it disarms them.

Mark Steyn's new book has a passage where he recalls being at a dinner party in Paris. A woman asked him what was up with America's obsession with guns. He said "A lot of Americans simply like to have guns." She sniffed that "A lot of French would like to have guns, too." Steyn said "Exactly."

I have guns for self-defense. I also have fire extinguishers. I hope I never need either, but the notion that you have to have a gun in order to be killed by someone else's is absurd.

Anyway, despite that first week, still a huge fan of the UK, and of Brits. Hail Britannia! Any Brits out there, please quaff a pint of Theakston XB for me--can't get it on this side of the Sink.

Papa Bear said...

Regarding the reluctance of London police to investigate the crime: there are similar situations here in the US in big cities (Philadelphia comes to mind). It has to do with how police are judged through the use of crime statistics.

If a crime is reported, logged and put into the database, then it contributes to a negative statistic against the police dept. The police dept prefers a low crime statistic. There are two ways to achieve a low crime statistic: keep crime low, or discourage people from officially reporting crime. The latter is easier to accomplish than the former. By convincing crime victims that it is futile to report crimes, police crime statistics are improved.

Dymphna said...

Given to legislature of many EU countries, human life is a stronger judicial value than domestic untouchability.

Human life hasn't much judicial value if there is no rule of law protecting one's property and possessions. That's why we have encoded "life, liberty AND the pursuit of happiness." If law-breaking thieves take your work and research of twenty years, then they have indeed taken part of your life.

The idea of booby-trapping your house is a good one as long as you don't have children or pets to set off your alarms. And provided you can find a security company to help you install it. Not everyone is technically oriented, so professional help is invaluable.

Of course, if the company you hire is composed of domestic terrorists, as is at least one company in our area, then you have a problem, hmmm? Running a "security" business is a wonderful cover for people who intend to bring us down when the time comes.

We live in a rural area, down a long gravelled driveway. The police couldn't get here in time to do anything anyway. But fortunately, we have nothing our local brigands want --the computers are useless without the passwords and none of them have the skill or expertise to get past that. I suppose if we owned a television or any appliances of value, it would be another matter.

A neighbor, who is in law enforcement, rigged up his house (and the woods adjoining) with cameras, etc., because he doesn't live here full time. The local low-life came in while he was gone and took all his guns, equipment, etc. Except for the camera recording their actions -- they overlooked that. The man simply took the video to the sheriff and they're now in prison.

These are the same lovely fellows who, 15 years ago, had stolen all the timber on our back acres -- we didn't know until they were almost finished. Wood is valuable around here, and they even cut the large old boundary trees used to mark property divisions. They're so well-known for their thievery that local wood companies wouldn't buy from them without proof from the owner.

So we will probably put in security devices at some point, though in the country, the best security device is still one's neighbors. And we are beginning to get more of those as people begin to retire and want a place where they can live inexpensively.

The problem is that as property owners become more sophisticated, so do the theives. Next time, they'll take out his security cameras. All it needs is a rifle from a blind point outside for the cameras in the trees, and ripping a few wires inside before you take the recordings.

I do often wonder, since our neighbor is away a good deal, if his outdoor video has been looped over several times by intrusive deer. Of which we have many...in a state with a population of about 6 million, we have over 1 million deer. Not allowed to shoot them out of season, either.

The best protection noted here so far lies in organized groups of vigilant men--armed with sticks, if necessary.

People are beginning to realize that whatever the police are for, protecting your property is not one of their functions. And in America, the solutions for that -- with our history of pioneer life where there were no police -- is to take care of you and yours.

As we are coming to realize, we are on our own.

Dymphna said...

Papa Bear--

One of the legacies of Rudy Guiliani's tenure in NY is an aggressive police presence to prevent crime. I don't have the link to the City Journal article which portrays this (it is in one of the 2006 issues, on line), but the police in NYC are very active in preventing small crimes and investigating larger ones.

It's the main reason that NY has become safer and more liveable.

Houston has adopted some of their policies to deal with the large influx of New Orleans criminals in the wake of Katrina. The criminals complain about the Houston police beintg "meaner" than the corrupt ones they had in New Orleans.

In police work, it really is a top-down situation. If you have a competent chief and a good back-up from the city administration, police morale and energy stays high.

ZionistYoungster said...

Dymphna wrote:

"The best protection noted here so far lies in organized groups of vigilant men--armed with sticks, if necessary."

Villagers with pitchforks and torches...

Who could have imagined the 2000's, the long-awaited "Space Age", would look like that? A worldwide descent into medieval barbarism in the supposed "age of progress"...? *sigh*

eatyourbeans said...

I used to live in the Boston North End, where the mafia held great sway. Ironically, it was the one of the safest places to live in the city because the dons took a very dim view of street crime. Stalin once said it took a very brave man to be a coward in the red army; so it took a very brave man to commit a crime in the North End. Hope that hasn't changed.

Sticks and bats if that's all we have, but better to exercise the damn 2nd Amendment. To Mr Mellivora's point about having no training in the use of firearms, many cops earn extra $ teaching people like just you and me how to shoot like you mean business.

Dymphna said...

eat your beans--

Yes, I remember shopping for meat and veggies in the North End. It was like a different universe from the suburb, Wellesley, where we lived. But you're right: it was safe. And Mafia or no, there was real family and neighborhood solidarity. Everyone was Italian or married to...as in South Boston (Irish), you identified with the Catholic parish you attended, and these were drawn in strict geographical lines...I wonder what East Boston is like today...

Dymphna said...

BTW, the Kennedy clan arose from an alliance of two groups of the Irish Mafia. They don't have to trace very far back to the criminals and rum runners of the '30's.

It's one of the reasons the clan has such aense of entitlement.

Yorkshireminer said...

This happened in Scotland last year, it is what you get if you are a muslim and assault one of the Aboriginals


Amateur kick boxer Talha Tariq, 19, assaulted and racially abused Carol Marr, 55, as she returned from a trip to buy a birthday present for her daughter. Tariq, a biological sciences student at Stevenson College, was fined £500 at Edinburgh Sheriff Court yesterday after being found guilty following a two-day trial. The teenage thug was also ordered to pay his victim £100 in compensation. The assault took place in daylight in Whyte Place, Abbeyhill, on March 4.


Oh by the way I forgot to tell you that the lady in question was recovering from a cancer operation and had partially lost the use of one arm. He accused her of trying to strangle him. I also forgot to tell you that he kicked her in the face.

If the local Aboriginals assault a muslim or are thought to have assaulted a muslim this is what you get Kevin Hughs is an organiser for the BNP in Worcestershire was sentenced to 2 ½ years for a so called racial attack. He appealed his conviction at about the same time as the assault on the women took place. This is the only account of his appeal I can find on the Internet, allowing for BNP bias. I think you will find a startling difference. He is locked up in his cell for 24 hours a day because the prison authorities cannot guarantee his safety. His safety from whom I wonder.

This morning in Court number 5 at the Royal Courts of Justice in The Strand, Central London, Mr. Justice Holland heard the appeal of political prisoner Kevin Hughes. The proceedings took all of 10 mins, while Kevin was locked in a dock with bars sitting beside a prison officer. Mr. Justice Holland in his esteemed ‘wisdom’ reduced the racially motivated part of Kevin’s sentence by 6 months, (from 18 months to 12 months) indicating that the judge during the original trial at Worcester Crown Court had been a little bit severe, while the alleged assault part of his sentence (12 months) unfortunately stays the same. Incredibly during the original trial no doctor's notes were ever produced to substantiate the alleged assault that the Kurdish twice failed asylum-seeker had told police had taken place, (in fact no doctor had ever examined the man at the time of the incident or at any time after,) this was brought up at today’s appeal by Kevin’s barrister but this didn’t seem to sway the appeal judge. Kevin will now be released in May 2007. Such is the parlous state of British “justice” today a man will spend Christmas incarcerated away from his family and friends, based on the word of a man who was twice refused his application for asylum, who claimed he was verbally abused by our man but then later claimed he could not speak English during the original trial.

If any of you American readers want to know how I feel don't ask. I might be tempted to answer and the Baron has a strict rule about using foul language on his blogg

MikeZ said...

Formerly Great Britain does not disappoint us, with stories like this coming up all the time. (One of the latest: The graduating London constable, a Muslim lady, who would not shake hands with the Commissioner (part of the traditional graduating ceremony), because it violated her religious belief that she may only touch a man if he is her husband or relative. No-one asked what she'd do if she had to arrest a man. I suppose that's a moot question, as they don't arrest anybody there any more.)

The sad state of FGB's society did not happen overnight. It's part of the final stages that start with abandoning personal responsibility, of coddling criminals (read any of Teodore Dalrymple's columns at City Journal), and abandoning religion. When Christianity disappears, a vacuum is formed; nature still abhors those things, and there's Islam patiently waiting in the wings.

"Villagers with pitchforks" is a low, cheap shot. A better analogy would be - how about the defenders of Vienna, 1683? (I was going to go looking, but that one just about says it all. I could add Charles Martel. Look it up.)

It's a clash of civilizations, all right. More accurately, a clash of civilization against un-civilization.

But it's disheartening when the uncivilized are members of your own tribe. As the Professor asked, "What DO they teach them any more in school?".

Jauhara said...

I live in a small town whose police station is just one cop in a car parked at the town hall...which is a couple of folding chairs and a cash box.
One early morning, as I was doing my route delivery, I heard 5 gun shots. I could tell they were gunshots because they were evenly spaced, with one longer spot of silence where one chamber might have been empty. These were loud, and not random, like fireworks, either.
Suddenly, a car came careening around the corner and passed where I was standing on the porch of a house. The car slowed down and came to the stop sign, where it stopped and didn't move for an unusually long time. I was looking at the car, and they were definitely looking at me, too. Finally, this car turned the corner, and just as quickly came around the block again, where I was still standing on the porch.
Once again, the car stopped, and for an unnecessarily long period of time.
I was scared witless, and I had no cell phone. No one was awake at that hour, and I was just praying that whoever was driving this car would just go away....which he did.
I went over to the firechief's house and banged on his door, and he let me in and I was able to call 911. Well, the cops never interviewed me, and when they called my back to tell me that they thought I must have heard "trains coupling" I was really ticked off. Having grown up in Kansas City near the railyard I know all about trains coupling and uncoupling.
A week later, they finally reported an armed robbery and stolen vehicle...fools.

Old Peculier said...

Well, I'm glad I've stimulated a debate.

Of course the police handling of this is appalling, but it does not change my views on gun culture and why you are welcome to it one little bit.

Nor should it. It is completely irrelevant to the argument.

We don’t want a sheep culture like you have over there. You can keep it.

What a silly comment.

Old Peculier said...

Tis no wonder Dr. Dalrymple moved to France.

Well good luck to him, but it is a little odd, considering how dreadful the UK is supposed to be, that so many French people are coming to live here. And so many East Europeans. You'd think they'd avoid it like the plague, wouldn't you?

Old Peculier said...

And it's a bit rich you Americans having a go at our police when a bunch of police thugs in Atlanta wrestled a history professor to the ground, slung him in a van and banged him up in a cell. What for? For crossing the road.

Take the plank out of your own eye. The Brit-bashing here and elsewhere is just a way of enabling yourselves to feel complacent.

merrimacshores said...

Since one commenter has brought up the subject of the Battle at the Gates of Vienna in 1683, it might be sensible to recall the speech which the King of Poland made to his troops on the night of 11 September, 1683 before battle was joined:

"It is not a city alone that we have to save, but the whole of Christianity, of which the city of Vienna is the bulwark. This War is a holy one."

It still is. If we can but acknowledge it, cease the prattle about 'clash of civilisations' and reassert emphatically our Christian values, we may yet win it.

ZionistYoungster said...

MikeZ,

You called my use of "villagers with pitchforks [and torches...]" a "low, cheap shot". Perhaps there's some background story to the expression, "villagers with pitchforks" that I didn't know about, but my intention was to express my amazement at history's going in circles, not to make a low, cheap shot.

History buffs will recall how vigilantism, then feudalism, set in when there was no longer the authority of the Roman Empire to make its former territories safe. People became serfs of feudal lords just to stay alive, because of the chaos and anarchy. In our day, the "Road to Serfdom" looks more calculated: deny the citizens the protection you owe them so that they come to you begging for it and willing to pay you a high price. Vigilantism ("villagers with pitchforks") could actually guard against this, if only the populace keeps valuing their freedom and stays away from the enticement of outsourcing it to nanny-states like the EUSSR.

mellivora said...

First, the notation "armed society is a polite society" is bovine excrement. One look at Somalia is enough to prove it wrong. Likewise I do not consider South Africa, Bolivia, Lebanon or similar hellholes bristling with weapons as polite societies. Armed society is a polite society if it shows discipline and military code, such as chivalry or bushido. If not, it is nothing but a Hobbesian anarchy.

Second, if the police cannot maintain and impress the law and order, the society has failed. The regime has lost its legitimacy. Since the hallmark of a state and its legitimacy is monopoly of violence, the only logical step is to send the military in to keep discipline. If local militias and irregulars rise, it is a sign the state has failed - they contest the monopoly of violence of the state.

Third, there is no other difference between a mafia and a state except the legislature and maintaining the laws and judicial system. Each and every state is basically a mafia with its own land area. Likewise, a criminal organization becomes a state when it seizes the power at an area. The questions of "societal agreements" and "legitimacy" are in the end mere bullshit - it is the monopoly of violence what really determines a state. Yet mafias and other organized crime are seldom democratic systems. If people rather submit to organized crime or found their own vigilante patrols and lynching gangs, it is a clear sign the democracy has failed.

Fourth, I have spent enough time in the military to appreciate democracy, freedom and civilian rights. I know Finland is an army which has its own state, but if such irregular militias and vigilantes arise, it is a sign the state has failed. I can understand Warlordistan can fail, but failure of a democracy is an especially sad case. Yet I think each and every able-bodied male should get military training - it is the duty of each and every man to defend his family and what is dear to him.

Dymphna said...

Second, if the police cannot maintain and impress the law and order, the society has failed.

Exactly. You get my point.

As we have said repeatedly since 9/11, "we are on our own." In fact, we have been so for some time, but it wasn't necessary to deal with it until the global rise of militants who want to kill us because we exist.

Baron Bodissey said...

merrimacshores --

The problem is this: the values of civilzation have become not just Christian values, but also Jewish values, Hindu values, Buddhist values, and so forth.

Even atheist values might be at stake, if there weren't so many perverse atheists who seem to want to make common cause with the barbarians.

Modern civilization owes its origin and moral foundation to Judaism and Christianity, but folks from other religions have eagerly signed on. We need to include them. too.

Dymphna said...

Jauhara--

They ignored you because you were a gurrl. Same as here.

My elderly black neighbor is terrified of having to deal with the white administration in our rural county, so if she asks, I go with her. And she lived in NYC for forty years.

Go figure.

eatyourbeans said...

merrimac,

Sept 11th? Really? The enemy knows his history, let's give them that.

There was a favorite World War 2 song called "Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition", composed (I think) in honor of a Navy Chaplin who encouraged the anti-aircraft crews at Pearl Harbor with those words.

There, as the Manderinish Mr Mellivora might well see it, you have the USA's obnoxious blend of religion and gun love boiled down to 7 words.

Sneer if you want, but understand very clearly that in those 7 words are our history, our safety, our liberty.

troutjacki said...

I would like to point out to our friends in the UK that there are relatively few "hot" burglaries in the States. There are fewer still in states that place few restrictions on gun ownership. Here in Virginia our local lawbreakers know that a significant number of households are armed and they are not all that keen on entering a house where the householder may take action to solve his immediate crime problem. It takes a brave or foolish man to confront someone holding a 45 caliber automatic pistol loaded alternatively with a jacketed round and a hollow point and giving the appearance of someone who doesn't mind using it. It is far simpler to select a house that in currently not occupied by its owner. I have insurance to replace the items that might be stolen while my family is away but I cannot replace my family if they are killed in a home invasion.

Gun owners in the United States provide protection for themselves, their families and unarmed neighbors by creating a disincentive to for criminals to invade homes when people are present. Any patrolman in the States will tell you that more crimes are stopped by armed citizens then by police simply because the armed citizen is at the point of attack when he defends his home or property. Only rarely can the police intervene to stop a crime in progress. Americans are far safer in their homes then citizens of the UK. The violent crime rate in London far exceeds that of virtually all major American cities. I admit that there are many negative aspects to gun ownership but overall the benefits in having a safer environment outweigh the costs by a wide margin.

Random Lurker said...

Just to stir things a bit... just because I like reading the comments here.

The State isn't responsible for protecting individuals

From Warren v. District of Columbia -
Accordingly, courts have without exception concluded that when a municipality or other governmental entity undertakes to furnish police services, it assumes a duty only to the public at large and not to individual members of the community.

From another of Kevin's links, a couple of older stories from the UK

Regarding stories on civilian self defense, Clayton Cramer keeps a record. You'll note that most of the folks defending themselves are older and not as able to defend themselves otherwise. I find Clayton's efforts useful in that I can see how criminals tend to react when confronted by someone determined to protect themselves. His permalinks don't appear to be working, but if you scroll down a bit to Saturday, January 27, 2007 - Newberry, South Carolina, ask yourself what would have happened to that lady if she didn't happen to have a firearm?

Are you more "noble" if you allow someone else to kill you? Or create a situation where you are unable to properly defend yourself? Yes, young healthy men and women might be able to defend themselves with a ball bat... but what of the elderly? the infirm?

If you read through Clayton's site you'll find stories where just brandishing a firearm is enough to stop the threat. Not in all cases does one have to shoot. And, depending on where one lives, you'd better have an ironclad reason to shoot.

MrSmith said...

Problem is, though, for us in the UK, that we've been pretty much forced to hand over to the State the protection of self. Result - we're in a position where to defend oneself invites a lawsuit and possibly imprisonment, and the State doesn't keep its own end up either.

I believe this can be defined as a breach of Social Contract by the State. The question becomes what will be done. I doubt anything will be done until the mass of British people awake from their Celebrity Big Brother soma-trip and take notice.

mellivora said...

Eatyourbeans, serving in the military teaches some perspective and replaces idealism with pragmatism.

I can say of my country it works well. Corruption is low, police can resolve most crime cases, most crime is domestic and most criminals are nothing but losers with multitudes of problems (alcoholism, low intelligence, low education, mental problems etc) - people which you rather pity than hate. I experience I live in an organized society and not in frontiersland or combat zone.

As I mentioned, conscription does not necessarily produce good soldiers but it certainly produces an unified nation. I served my country and I did my duty - and I extended it abroad by keeping peace where it wasn't. Now I'm reservist and now it is someone else's duty to do what I once did.

Having experienced the havoc an armed and unrestrained society can produce when the state fails, I really don't desire it to anyone. Warlordistan is really not a nice place to live. That is why I am ready to bargain on pistols and revolvers to keep them off the reach of criminals (but keep rifles and shotguns, which are useless for crime).

Given to psychology of criminals, most criminals want to go unnoticed. Almost all are drunk or stoned. We have a term "kilikalikeikka" (clink-clank-gig) to denote a haphazard, quick burglary - you break in, take what you want, break places and hope nobody notices.

As I mentioned also, using a pistol requires both training ans skill. You can count you get only one shot, so you'd better hit. Usually both civilians and criminals are poor shots and miss at distances over 10 m. Likewise, only 1% of civilians really have determination to shoot to kill. Being able to kill must be taught - I was taught to shoot to kill. Also anything over 9 mm is awfully awkward to use for an untrained person. So the chances your .45 proves more a burden than real asset are too big. Guns as penis extensions do not work. I would rather either take a light pistol (SIG Sauer or like) since it is reasonably accurate and quick to use with just slight recoil - or a sawed-off shotgun since it does not miss. As home protection I have edged weapons - far better than guns at close distance, but require determination to use. Martial arts give you determination.

Statistically when a punk and civilian, both untrained and inexperienced with guns, encounter, the result is either getting nervous. Nervousness may result either in overanxiousness - and missing the shot - or being frozen from fear. If a punk is scared from someone having a gun, it is because he got nervous. Many punks are on alcohol or amphetamine to decrease the chances. If the nervousness results in overanxiousness, the consequence is usually a wild firefight with a lot of misses on both sides and damage from bullets and ricochets. Not nice. In such firefight the chances are 50-50 either dies or gets wounded.

That is why I advocate prevention rather than treatment. I rather live in a society which works and whose leaders and police I can trust - even if it means lesser living standards than somewhere else - than in combat zone.

mellivora said...

troutjacki, it doesn't take a brave or foolish punk to face a civilian armed with .45 pistol. All it needs is a drunken or stoned punk.

I mean, the chances the civilian either misses with that gun or doesn't dare to shoot to kill are too big. .45 is an awfully awkward weapon to use in distress - its recoil and long barrel make it quite tricky to shoot quickly and accurately. Its main value is that it is pretty intimidating to face, but that is what amphetamine is for...

It is always easier to go noticed than unnoticed. Any sane criminal will rather invade an unoccupied than occupied home, regardless of armament. That is why I have rigged mine, with web cameras, microphones and SMS alerts. It is easier for the authorities to deal with burglars since they are in candid camera.

mellivora said...

woops, I mean unnoticed than noticed.

mellivora said...

Random Lurker, I read your links.

It is a sad note that in US legislature it isn't the responsibility of the police to protect the individuals. In Finland it is, and it is written in the law text. The Warren vs. DC case would have been simply insubordination and criminal negligence in duty on behalf of the officers.

I now understand to certain extent the gun fetishism in US. If the society does not provide means to protect its members, it implies a) the society has failed and b) it is duty of the individuals to protect themselves. Nasty. If the state neglects or disdains professing and maintenance of its monopoly of violence, the state has lost its legitimacy.

On what comes to civilian self defense cases on the other link, some 90% of the cases were nothing but unnecessary tragedies - avoidable by a bit more psychology and a little less trigger finger. So many unnecessary deaths and so many unnecessary widows, orphans an kinsfolks.

In Finland almost all those cases (Cramer link) would have been either voluntary manslaughters or murders. Only those cases where there clearly was a gun vs gun situation with immediate danger to one's life might have passed as self-defence. That is rare here, but happens.

troutjacki said...

Mellivora:

The statistics in the US show that in confrontations between "civilians" and criminals the "civilians" are more likely to come out with the win. See the blog above.

Your assessment of the 45 automatic shows how European restrictions on gun ownership have reduced the population's knowledge of firearms. First of all you appear to be confusing the Colt 45 revolver with the Model 1911 45 caliber pistol traditionally used by the US military. The weapon was designed for close combat in confined areas. It is not awkward to use and the kick is overstated. The US military chose the 45 caliber round based upon our expierence fighting the Philippine Insursection. The 9mm/38 caliber round had insufficient stopping power. The 45 was the most feared weapon in trench fighting during WWI because of its devastating effects. Early in the Afghan campaign SOF forces began to discard their 9mm in favor of the 45 for the same reason.

In the old west they used to say that God created man but Sammuel Colt made them equal. It is still true today.


Let me apologize for not spending a lot of time on this post because I have to leave for work soon and I will not have time to respond today. Your post deseves a more detailed and thoughtful response then I gave here.

Random Lurker said...

mrsmith -

I'm aware of what the UK faces and it saddens me. Several of the blogs I browse are written by anglophiles.

But what really throws me off is the day to day meddling found here.

I think you're correct in that it is a breach of Social Contract. We have something similar happening in the States. Generally around the larger cities. Around such areas there is a strong view that the criminal (i.e. the initiator of the confrontation) is a "victim" too.


mellivora --

Have you shot a .45 before? Personally I find the recoil more manageable for quick firing than the 9mm pistols I've fired. More of a push back than a flip up.

Note too that the State has never been responsible for individuals. If I'm remembering correctly (I'm rushing to work as well), the matter only came to a head because plaintiff was denied a means to defend themselves because of restrictive gun laws in that city. The logic was this: if I may not protect myself, than the city (in this case) must.

"... tragedies - avoidable by a bit more psychology and a little less trigger finger"

That right there reminded me of the Theo van Gogh murder. Were you aware that after he was shot off his bike he tried using "psychology" with the killer? Tried talking with him? Fat lot of good it did him.

What good is the use of psychology when the person that is your house has a weapon on them only because they wouldn't mind using it?

More to the point: who initiated the confrontation? Who is at most risk? The homeowner who is protecting his family? Or the individual that chose to break in?

geekWithA.45 said...

I too must head out to work, but not before I commented on the word "vigillantism" as it was used in reference to the students who banded together to protect their property.

Vigillantism is a word that refers to "extrajudicial justice". A classic example would be those who track down cattle rustlers and hang them without trial, assuming a functioning judicial system exists somewhere nearby.

Like the phrase "taking the law into their own hands", it is also frequently misapplied to those who actively engage in the just defense of their person or property. It is your right, and in many traditions, your duty to protect yourself when faced with imminent threat to life and limb, and this is not vigillantism. Furthermore, there is nothing illegitimate about going about this with the assistance of your neighbors, as the students did.

They, quite reasonably, as no one can be in their room 24/7, banded together to detect the perpetrator of the crime, and prevent him from striking. When that happened, they drove him off, inspiring him not to do it again. They didn't catch and hang him without a trial.

The other point I'd like to quickly address is that there is a sentiment among some commenters here that due to lack of experience greatly overestimates the training necessary for competence with a handgun.

Assuming the correct mindset and at least a passing familiarity with firearms, the average person can be trained to minimal effective proficiency in about 8-12 hours of class and range time, spread out over 2 or 3 days. 2 or 3 days of martial arts training gets you sore muscles, and perhaps one badly performed kata.

Incidentally, the standards of "minimal effective proficiency" to which I refer exceed most civil and law enforcement requirements. The test involves dynamically neutralizing 6 simulated opponents in about a 15 second timeframe, during which they will have both reloaded and corrected an intentional gun failure. Most who pass this test attain the "competence that giveth the peace beyond all understanding".

I leave you with these final thoughts:

http://www.catb.org/~esr/guns/gun-ethics.html
--------------


To believe one is incompetent to bear arms is, therefore, to live in corroding and almost always needless fear of the self — in fact, to affirm oneself a moral coward. A state further from "the dignity of a free man" would be rather hard to imagine. It is as a way of exorcising this demon, of reclaiming for ourselves the dignity and courage and ethical self-confidence of free (wo)men that the bearing of personal arms, is, ultimately, most important.

This is the final ethical lesson of bearing arms: that right choices are possible, and the ordinary judgement of ordinary (wo)men is sufficient to make them.

We can, truly, embrace our power and our responsibility to make life-or-death decisions, rather than fearing both. We can accept our ultimate responsibility for our own actions. We can know (not just intellectually, but in the sinew of experience) that we are fit to choose.

And not only can we — we must. The Founding Fathers of the United States understood why. If we fail this test, we fail not only in private virtue but consequently in our capacity to make public choices. Rudderless, lacking an earned and grounded faith in ourselves, we can only drift — increasingly helpless to summon even the will to resist predators and tyrants (let alone the capability to do so).
--------------

gun-totin-wacko said...

I know some people that had their house broken into in my city. The guy pointed out to the officer that came out, a neighbor that he suspected was involved. Officer did nothing. He pointed out fingerprints in the house. Officer did nothing. Full story is on my blog here... http://gun-totin-wacko.blogspot.com/2006/11/police-protection_06.html

gun-totin-wacko said...

I just had another thought: Given that police take reports, and do nothing else, when property crime is reported, it would seem that law enforcement in the US has been reduced to an adjunct of the insurance industry. Scary thought that I'll have to contemplate further...

Dymphna said...

Here's a live link to Gun Totin' Wacko's post:

Police Protection

Poor gtw lives in Michigan.

A friend of ours moved many years ago to the Detroit area and quickly shed any liberal views she had. Here, in the small southern city where she'd grown up, she had lots of black friends, and her neighborhood was integrated. Up there, she and her husband, as white people, were only shown houses in certain areas. Definitely no "mixing." And that was the way everyone, including the black population, claimed to want it.

Her permanent depression didn't lift until they moved to Arizona some years later.

Everyone ought to have some comptency in self-defense. And the older one gets, the more necessary firearms are. Learning martial arts to the degree that one is effectively able to protect life and liberty is questionable past 50 or so.

Not that doing so at a younger age isn't a good idea. Another friend, a denizen of NYC before it got cleaned up, became tired of being robbed. So he learned martial arts to the degree that he was able to teach it for a number of years.

Funny thing is, he never had to actually use his skills -- he moved south, where there seem to be fewer robberies. So he taught others, especially women, self-defense at the local community college.

Does anyone remember the name of the town in Georgia where they made it a law that each homeowner must have some kind of armament? The robbery rate dropped to zero and allowed the town to reduce its police force, thereby lowering the budget AND the tax rate.

Even a drunk or a stoner will think twice when he's in a fully-armed township.

Unless, of course, he's determned to do in his estranged wife. Such twisted thinking is unstoppable. I was a witness in court once for a woman who was up on murder charges for shootig her husband. He was repeatedly spraying her in the face with roach poison, saying that he was going to exterminate her. She ran into the bedroom and got *HIS* gun and shot in panic, without aiming. Killed him right there.

Funny thing is, I never got called to the witness stand because the judge heard the Commonwealth Attorney's evidence and dismissed the case out of hand. Gave the state attorney the devil for ever having brought charges to begin with...

...after the guy died, his children flourished. Their grades improved and they did quite well. Momma the killer, though, took it very hard. Went to his grave every day to apologize...I never could make her see that she'd done everyone (but Roger, anyway) a favor.

Why was she living there, you ask? Because whenever she'd attempted to get out before he came after her with that same gun. She'd learned it was safer to stay than to leave...

Dymphna said...

geekwitha.45--

That was a good essay on gun ethics.

This is my favorite part:

The Founding Fathers of the United States believed, and wrote, that the bearing of arms was essential to the character and dignity of a free people. For this reason, they wrote a Second Amendment in the Bill Of Rights which reads the right to bear arms shall not be infringed.

Whether one agrees or disagrees with it, the Second Amendment is usually interpreted in these latter days as an axiom of and about political character — an expression of republican political thought, a prescription for a equilibrium of power in which the armed people are at least equal in might to the organized forces of government.

It is all these things. But it is something more, because the Founders regarded political character and individual ethical character as inseparable. They had a clear notion of the individual virtues necessary collectively to a free people. They did not merely regard the habit of bearing arms as a political virtue, but as a direct promoter of personal virtue.

The Founders had been successful armed revolutionaries. Every one of them had had repeated confrontation with life-or-death choices, in grave knowledge of the consequences of failure. They desired that the people of their infant nation should always cultivate that kind of ethical maturity, the keen sense of individual moral responsibility that they had personally learned from using lethal force in defense of their liberty.

Accordingly, firearms were prohibited only to those intended to be kept powerless and infantilized. American gun prohibitions have their origins in racist legislation designed to disarm slaves and black freedmen. The wording of that legislation repays study; it was designed not merely to deny blacks the political power of arms but to prevent them from aspiring to the dignity of free men.


Ain't that the truth. In a neighboring county, the (now-former)sheriff told one of our shelter workers -- who inquired about the status of a man who'd murdered his wife -- not to "worry your pretty little head about it." Talk about infantalizing certain segments of the adult population...!

Voltaire said...

Mellivora, try though I may to find common ground with you, I still find your arguments mired in one-sided prejudices.

Have you actually ever trained with, fired, handled or even seen a .45 automatic? Your post suggests otherwise--and this strongly waters down your claims of having received valuable training. Which brings me to another point: you DO NOT HAVE the monopoly on what constitutes good or bad training, and your arguments about who's more likely to hit what or to p#ss his pants in front of danger are worth a hill of beans. Like mine would if I was to make similar broad-sweeping contentions.

So conscription makes a country united, eh? It certainly did the US, especially in the 1960s. Or Italy. Or Spain. Not. ;-)

If I may request something of you, please, do stop calling our arguments the result of a "gun fetish" or our being "trigger happy." This is a trite, uncritical, prejudicial and superficial way to respond to a host of honest arguments that have been presented to you by tens of people--and to which you have seemed rather impervious.

This is why I *could* say that it is you who have a fetish--with your own self-image, with the absolute superiority of your "training," with the image of the nanny state under whose skirts you feel secure and righteous... but I don't. Because I believe you're honest and that you want to debate honestly. So, out of respect for your interlocutors, please cut the prejudicial bull--it also makes you sound childish, as I said in another post.

I understand how things work in your culture, which is rather unique and, by 2007 standards, still relatively unadulterated and uncheapened by the many factors that have cheapened ours. But please, try to *understand* what is being presented to you outside your own experience.

mellivora said...

randomlurker, yes, I've shot with a .45. Yet if I could freely choose a short distance firearm for just stopping power, I'd take a sawed-off shotgun. First, it is awfully intimidating - mere its existence is a signal that no more closer. Second, it is almost impossible to miss with it. Too bad they are illegal. Why my personal choice of light pistol? First, I trained with 9 mm FN m80 (as service weapon) - I have shot but not combat trained with .45. Second, it is quicker to handle and aim in a hectic situation. It can used effectively with a single hand. I doubt few untrained civilians can succeed with .45.

I had no pistol experience before army. It took me one day to get all the rounds of a clip to hit the human silhouette at 10 m. To get the rounds hit within 100 mm circle at the distance took an awfully long time. I could say that if I hadn't served and had proper training, unless the target freezes in awe, I would most likely have missed with a heavy pistol or revolver.

What comes to Theo van Gogh, he was not dealing with an ordinary punk. He was dealing with a murderer determined to kill him. Psychology couldn't have helped him, and I doubt carrying a gun would have helped him either. Yet psychology and tiring the punk works in over 90% of all ordinary conflicts.

Usually when a burglar breaks in, his intention is to loot property. If he carries a gun, it is usually to intimidate - for him it is a magic wand. Few criminals are determined to shoot to kill, and if a punk and civilian encounter each other with guns, the chances are both are equally nervous and scared.

It would be interesting to see also statistics of those cases where the perpetrator has shot the armed civilian trying to defend him/herself - what are the chances of succeeding in self-defence vs getting killed or maimed.

mellivora said...

Dymphna, a couple of notes:

1) The Founding Fathers lived in 18th century. Now it is year 2007.

2) Weapon technology was different in 1776 than it is 2007. What worked in 1776 doesn't work anymore in 2007. Pistols and revolvers are neigh useless in real warfare.

3) Likewise, military strategies and tactics have changed a lot after 1776. What worked in 1776 does not work anymore in 2007. Contesting a regular and determined machinery of violence with an armed mob leads into bloodshed. The Somali militias didn't stand a chance against the regular armies earlier this year.

4) The larger scale a conflict is, the less weight has the individual skill and training of the combatant and the more that of logistics, tactics, strategy, discipline, determination, morale, material superiority both in quantity and quality and attrition. Militias have high but extremely brittle morale and they collapse after the first setbacks - as occurred also 1776-1778 after their initial successes.

5) Had George Washington had only minutemen as his disposal, he would have lost the American Revolution. Already after Bunker Hill the deficiencies of the militia were noted. The need of a standing army was noted very early.

6) The weapons of the militiamen were rifles, shotguns and blunderbusses, not pistols.

7) The American Revolution was decided at Atlantic and Caribbean - the French and Spanish navies were able to cut the British supply lines and disable Cornwallis to replenish his army and enable Washington and his regulars to force Cornwallis to surrender at Yorktown.

8) Interestingly, Somalia, where almost everyone has some kind of firearm and are eager to use it, hasn't managed to arrange a stable and polite society, but is an archetypal failed state. Likewise, places like Bolivia, Lebanon, Mexico, Afghanistan, Colombia etc where the society is armed are not necessarily the most pleasant places around. Why didn't the advice of the Founding Fathers fail in those countries? Certainly a society armed in teeth should have produced at least one successful state like US in at least one of such states.

9) There are more civilian firearms per capita in Finland than in US. The difference is that they almost all are long arms - rifles or shotguns - which are weapons really usable in war.

I found also this link - dunno how much it is mere government propaganda:

http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/crime-victims/reducing-crime/gun-crime/

mellivora said...

Voltaire, conscription has succeeded in uniting the nation in Scandinavia, Israel, Switzerland, Baltic countries etc. The question is how you arrange and realize the training and how sensible it is.

If the service is nothing but close order drill, sweeping and cleaning the barracks, learning to salute your superiors - or being unpaid work force - it can be extremely demotivating and demoralizing. Likewise, if there are national, linguistic, ideological, racial or other tensions amongst the conscripts and nothing is done to alleviate them and to create a spirit which overcomes all the differences (for example, the Spanish army was thoroughly Castilian whereas many conscripts came from Catalonia, Navarra, Basqueland, Andalusia and other non-Castilian regions), the result is more likely a failure.

I must say after the boot camp I liked the army. Call me a product of nanny state or not, but I liked the discipline, order of things, safety, organization and spirit of togetherness. I liked the weeks in wilderness, survival training, war games and forest gigs. In the UN service when I met soldiers from other countries, I cannot say the Finnish blue berets (all had conscript training) were any less good than the professionals of NATO countries.

Why didn't I then choose a career in military? First, I failed on health check for Cadet Academy. Nobody with allergies is taken in. Second, I was too individualistic and geekish for a lifetimer. I settled on engineering.

Finland has IMO managed so far to keep the Society Contract quite well - we can trust the police and authorities, and streets are safe. But still - I consider prevention a better idea than treatment.

Archonix said...

Mellivora, nearly every single one of your points can be answered by pointing to the US constitution. Not any particular clause, but the simple fact that it was written out and exists; it is robust, and simple to understand, and it contains truths held "self evident" even to this day. The fact that the foundig fathers lived then and not now is irrelevant because, as you have demonstrated within your own post, some things will never change. Somalia, to take your example, is a failed state not because of the presence of weapons but because of the absence of the rule of law, or indeed any law. You could make all the guns in somalia disappear tomorrow and it'd still be a failed state because, collectively, it has no respect for the rule of law.

Of course, Somalia itself holds an example of this. In the north-west there's a new country, currently unrecognised, but peaceful and starting to prosper. It calls itself somaliland. They still have guns. They also have a constituted government and, importantly, they maintain the rule of law. Somaliland is quite peaceful, unlike southern somalia, and yet they still all have those dratted guns...

The simple truth is, easy access to weaponry doesn't make a state fail, otherwise the US would have fallen apart decades ago. A state fails because it doesn't have the necessary institutional strength to maintain the rule of law

Archonix said...

Incidentally, I believe I mistakenly assumed you were from Switzerland the other day. Please accept my apologies for that.

Dymphna said...

Individual ownership of guns has proven to be -- in America -- a deterrent to violent crime and robbery.

Despite the attempts of the gun control lobby, this continues to be true. A few years ago, one of their members wrote a book in which he fudged the statistics to show otherwise. When discovered, he (and the gun control people) were roundly criticized.

I knew old country women who could sit on the porch and shoot the rabbits that came into the vegetable patch. These were poor women without the money for fencing. However, they did have their hsuband's guns and they did put their chidren's hunger before that of the bunnies. The latter also make good stew if they're disease-free.

On the other hand, we've also had hunters with room temperature IQs who shoot cows "by mistake." Which is one reason we don't let hunters with rifles onto our property. Only shotguns or bow and arrow. The discharge from a rifle can carry too far and is thus dangerous as far as I'm concerned.

The American ethos is based on the Second amendment. That isn't going to change in the foreseeable future, despite the millions that have been spent by the gun control lobby to do so.

And the universal draft, while it worked a generation ago, when America was more united than it is now, is no longer a possibility here. We have too many enemies who are citizens and could bring us down from the inside. For us, a volunteer army is safer for all concerned.

Besides that, the entrance bar is very high: someone wantign to enter the military must have no criminal record, must have finished high school, no drug use -- that would let out most of the underclass, which is sizeable now, due to entitlement programs. These men would not be permitted to serve and the class divide would become even more rancorous and strident than it is already. (Here, one can move easily up or down the class ladder, but there is definitely a caste system defined by education, dress, and language use -- not accent, but vocabulary)

Besides, the academics and the intellectuals will never allow their children to serve. NEVER. It would mean being disowned. Military recruiters and officer training programs are banned from many colleges, and those in military uniform are frowned upon.

The left is even attempting to eliminate the Boy Scout program as being too militaristic. They have applied great pressure to community groups not to sponsor them or fund them and have met with some success. However, private contributions to the BSA are up. And attempts to start groups in poverty-stricken areas, where therre are no male role models, are meeting with some success.

Our son is not eligible for military service due to his allergies, asthma, etc. However, he takes the ROTC(Reserve Officer Training Corps)classes when he can fit one in around his chemistry program because he loves military history, both modern and ancient.

BTW, Sun Tzu's book is a big seller in America. Just look on Amazon. So is John Boyd's bio., with his OODA loop tactics for keeping ahead of the enemy curve. He's been dead a few years now, but many businesses try to adapt his ideas to their work.

Wish we had a universal draft again; it prevented balkanization. But the conditions for its success have vanished for the foreseeable future.

That is also one reason there is a gun culture: to keep that military spirit alive.

Voltaire said...

Dymphna, excellent post.

Like some posters here, I too am originally from Europe and initially misunderstood the nature of America's so-called gun culture. But eventually, I opened my mind and my eyes, and now you see by my words where I stand.

Here's what America's gun culture really is.

1) It is the ultimate acknowledgment that no right can exist without responsibility. For the ultimate right is the right to life, without which liberty and the pursuit of happiness would be impossible to attain. And our "gun culture" is an active acknowledgment that it is OUR responsibility to safeguard our right to life--not other peoples' or institutions'.

2) It is our absolute conviction, along with our Founding Fathers, that Natural Rights are self-evident. And the right to bear arms, a corollary to the right to life, is a Natural Right. This is why we don't have to resort to statistics to prove that we need this right--it is either a right or it isn't. And this is also why we put no trust in the "sophisters and calculators" who would point to this or that study to demote our right to the rank of a pragmatic need--or, more often, to an evil to society. As a Natural Right, our right to bear arms is logically, intellectually, historically, statistically and culturally non-negotiable.

3) It is a reflection of our belief--deeply engrained within the American psyche--that property and freedom are linked. And that, therefore, we have the right and the responsibility to protect our property, first of all our home, from the predatory presence of those who would rape our valuables or do our loved ones harm. I am proud that this mentality hasn't gone away--yet.

4) Our guns are the tangible symbol of our philosophical belief that Government serves at the pleasure of We The People. No amount of speculation on how a modern army would defeat a ragtag bunch of armed citizens can change this. This is an absolute belief in an absolute principle--a principle which our despicable political class and an equally despicable passive section of the citizenry ignore every day--but an absolute principle nonetheless. And many of us would--quite literally--rather die keeping our freedom than live enslaved.

5) Lastly, our "gun culture" is a reflection of our optimism towards fellow beings. By knowing that our neighbor is armed, we rejoice, knowing that he or she is very likely a responsible individual who does not expect others to keep him safe. And it is a common bond that links not only all of us--who, knowing or unknowingly possess this right--but that ties us "dwarves" to the "giants" who penned that greatest of Odes to Human Enlightenment that is the US Bill of Rights.

So there you have it. Understand this, all of you who would try to negotiate away our Right to Bear Arms by quoting statistics, other countries, hypothetical scenarios of wars against our whole military, etc., and understand why we are such absolutists about it. And why, ultimately, your arguments will never put a dent in what we know and believe.

Take this from a former European, who is now prouder than ever to call himself an American.

gun-totin-wacko said...

Mellivora, you make some good points about specific guns, but some bad ones. I carry a .45, for a couple reasons. First, it is intimidating as heck in the event I ever have to shove it in someone's face. Gets quick compliance, since apparently it looks like a cannon from the wrong side. Also, it was designed to take out drugged-out terrorists. Given the fact that half the people around here are stoned on crack, it seems like a good choice.

However, I have a friend that would agree with you. He prefers a .22, since he gets more rounds per magazine, and the smaller recoil makes a second shot much faster.

It's all about choice.

As for shotguns, in the US at least, you can buy them with pistol grips, that are barely 30 inches. I have a very nice Mossberg. Bought it for the size and the quality. I agree it's the best weapon (firearm) for home defense.

As for pistols, you always state that they're useless for military. Why? Others have mentioned that most troops in Iraq and Afghanistan WANT them, especially the .45 And I hear they do get a lot of use.

(BTW, the US Army was switching from the .45 to the 9 mil. about the time I got out. I remember many discussions with fellow officers about why the .45 was better. This was in peacetime. And what happened? When a war came, they went back to the older, bigger gun. Shows why I once heard the Pentagon described as "where the rubber meets the clouds".)

Misopogon said...

Mellivora, I agree with Voltaire, you do come across as somewhat condescending:
You have no reason to assume that gun-owning Americans would be unable to use them reasonably effective way, nor that they would exclusively rely on firepower in crime prevention.

More importantly, the subject is compelled helplessness of an invidual by the government and impotent legal system.
Therefore your use of Finland as some kind of example of land of common sense can only be excused by excessive patriotism.

I am frankly bothered as your fellow countryman when your claims are taken at by face value by North Americans who can not know any better.

Finland has IMO managed so far to keep the Society Contract quite well - we can trust the police and authorities...

serving in the military teaches some perspective and replaces idealism with pragmatism. I can say of my country it works well.

human life is a stronger judicial value than domestic untouchability

-ALL highly dubious claims, for example, if human life would valued at all, at least SERIAL murderers would remain in prison in order to protect the innocents.

The fundamental fact about Finland is that the legal system is designed and run by ultra-liberals who by and large believe that criminals should by helped and understood, not punished.
And it works exactly as you would expect a criminal system run by worst kind of sentimental liberals to work.
-A flaming disaster.

Not only is property crime frequently ignored, imagine:

1) Man is convicted of murder, is imprisoned. Murders almost immediately again after he has served his debt to society, is imprisoned.
Was released again last summer, kills for the third time.
This was not a scandal or big news, I hope it will be if (when) he claims his fourth victim.

2) Rapist who does zero jail time "because he would lose his job otherwise".

3) Serial murderer serving life sentence "escapes" by not returning to prison from his weekend vacation.

4) Rare public outrage when predator and serial killer of 5-8 year old girls is released from prison -Again.

-Americans perhaps have their faults but they do not and I believe would not tolerate these kind of things. That's why I think that presenting Finnish legal system as anything but a joke is even more ridiculous than telling people from USA how to have an effective army.

Finland has the second largest homicide rate in Western Europe after Switzerland, and apparently even the supposedly emasculated British seem to have an idea of why that is:

(http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2090-1796899,00.html )
"Scotland second in Europe for murder"
Relevant quote:
Only Finland has a higher homicide rate than Scotland, believed to be because it has an ultra-liberal criminal justice policy where criminals are only jailed as a last resort.

Of course, many things in Finland work very well, so perhaps that's why Finns have only insignificantly higher per capita homicide rate than white people in USA.

Disclaimer: I am not saying that USA does not have a problem because white homicide rates are similar to some Western European countries, it only means that in my opinion pretending that the "gun culture of gun-toting white rednecks" (a la Michael Moore) is the problem is fundamentally dishonest.

gun-totin-wacko said...

Oh, and Dympha, I hope to be an ex-Michigander before too many more weeks pass. The gun-grabbers that run the state have screwed the economy so badly it's sickening. In my city, I bet there are at least 2 houses for sale on every block. Pathetic.

eatyourbeans said...

Mellivora,

You speak English as well as I do, yet you are as ignorant of us as a Martian. Please, explain.

What you say may be true as Scripture in Finland; here in the USA it's merely pedantic and silly.

Let me repeat. It's my duty, and not merely a right, as an American Citizen to own firearms and to be able and willing to use them. I owe this to those who founded and settled and built and fought for and died for this country. And I'll do my duty as best I can. No doubt I'll fall short of your metric standards, but no doubt the yokels at Lexington and Concord would have as well.

Lastly, let me tell you a story that was told to me. Maybe it's true, maybe not; even if not, it still tells a truth about us. Somewhere in the northern parts of one of our Midwest States, the local authorities convened a meeting of the property holders. Country folk, red necks--or would have been if the sun shined hot enough thereabouts.

Anyway the purpose of the meeting was to announce that a power company wanted their land in order to run a natural gas pipe or something down from Canada. Don't bother objecting--it's a done deal , the owners were told: eminent domain and so forth.

Now, the infamous militias, because of the Oklahoma Bombing, were quite active here; and it's a fair bet that everybody in that room was armed to the teeth. So, when the property owners stood up, and one after another told the authorities and the guy from the power company that this was their daddys' land, and his daddys' land, and his daddys' land.... voila! Suddenly the "done deal" became an un-done deal. Score one for the Greens. Ah, but they weren't there.... only the nuts with guns.

Will you old-continent types ever get us? We got a good government only because we don't trust it one frigging, old-fashioned English inch.

PS: God bless America. And damn anybody who has an objection.

Random Lurker said...

mellivora --

What comes to Theo van Gogh, he was not dealing with an ordinary punk. He was dealing with a murderer determined to kill him.

Fair enough.

Question: how do you tell the difference between an "ordinary punk" and a determined murderer in enough time to keep from getting shot/cut?

With a firearm, you can control the former until the police arrive; in the latter you can defend yourself.

Without a firearm, you can do....what? Beg?

I'm also curious about this -

Usually both civilians and criminals are poor shots and miss at distances over 10 m.

#1 Most lawful, American gunowners that I know practice regularly. More so with the CCW folk. Sport shooting is popular here (see IDPA and IPSC). Before I found myself working longer and longer hours, I'd hit the range 3-4 days a week.

#2 How many rooms in your house are over 10m wide? Rather have a carbine in that case, but that's just me.

troutjacki said...

Guntoten:

The reason that Europeans believe the handgun has little military value comes from the way European militaries treated the pistol from the early 20th century on. Handguns were more of a symbol of an officer's authority then a weapon of war. Handguns were usually of small caliber like the 32 caliber Webley carried by British officers in WWI and indeed did have marginal value on the battlefield.

In contrast the US military had been using handguns, usually some form of Colt 45, since the mid 19th Century because we found very useful in mounted combat. By the early 20th century we appeared to be going the same route as European Armies and had reduce the handgun to 38 caliber. As we all know the failure of this weapon in Philippines led the military to revive use of the larger caliber weapon in the form of the 45 caliber Colt Navy revolver. This lead to the adaption of the 1911 45 caliber automatic which issued to both officers and enlisted troops. Because of our experience in the Philippines we recognized that an effective handgun was a requirement for close combat. It became standard issue for MPs, tank crewman, artilleryman and all other crew served weapons.

We replaced the 45 with the 9mm as a sop to NATO during the 1980's as a way standardizing NATO weapons to simplify logistics. It was part of the deal that led to the sale of the F-16 to many European nations as replacement for their aging fighter forces. As far as I can tell this decision was never popular with the troops particularly since the replacement weapon, the Beretta, was a poorly made and unreliable. The Glock 9mm is a far better weapon and is the choice of many law enforcement officers who use 9mm service weapons.

expat said...

"An armed society is a polite society"
Anyone who reads this blog should realize that such a statement needs to placed in a proper cultural context. I think that it was originally applied to societies primarily composed of Anglo-Saxons, Celts and other peoples of Northern European stock. I am certain that whoever coined the phrase did not have Muslim societies in mind.


Crime in the UK:
(...)
British police have now been told that instead of arresting a range of serious criminals, they can be let off with a caution.

The Home Office says offenses that may now be dealt with by a caution include burglary of a shop or office, threatening to kill, actual bodily harm, and possession of Class A drugs such as heroin or cocaine if police decide a caution would be the best approach.

Other crimes including common assault, threatening behavior, sex with an underage girl or boy, and car theft should normally be dealt with by a caution, if the offenders admit their guilt but have no criminal record.

London and British crime rates have been increasing for years. Recently total crime rates for London have been estimated at about seven times those of New York for a slightly smaller population and some authorities suggest these figures have been minimized. England and Wales are now accounted by some estimates as the most dangerous places for crime in the developed world.
(...)