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Saturday, November 19, 2005

 

Gun crime

Two women Police officers shot, one murdered in a raid on a Travel Agents in Bradford. Three (Now five) arrests made at the time of writing.

Now I’m lucky, I live in a ‘nice’ part of town away from the low life’s such as drug dealers, although there is one widely recognised ‘house’ less than two hundred metres away, which CID regularly haul two or three small time users out of; before their lawyers get them out on bail. No guns have found their way into our local drug abusers hands as yet, although the local feeling is it’s only going to be a matter of time. We’ve had quite a few knife attacks, and the usual drunken punch ups, but no one killed for quite a while. This, I am convinced, will change. The inevitability of it is almost frightening.

Funny thing though, aren’t we supposed to live in a ‘safe’ country where the owning of handguns such as revolvers and automatic pistols are banned? Wasn’t the 1997 legislation meant to bring an end to gun deaths on the street? The knee jerk furore after the 1996 Dunblane Massacre only took these items out of the hands of the law abiding. Apparently you can get an illegal handgun down in the Smoke for as little as £2-300. The resultant removal of licensing and tracking of handguns means ironically that the Police were deprived of a tool for tracing at least a percentage of said firearms.

Dunblane was where the handgun licensing system fell down catastrophically. The reality seems to be that the local Police should have been round talking to Thomas Hamilton, confiscating his guns and revoking his firearms permit before he finally cracked. Ideally, the accusations that brought the crisis to a head and the resultant death of 16 children and their teacher should have been properly addressed, but it is wonderful to be wise in hindsight. Instead there was the subsequent outcry, and some poorly thought out legislation was enacted. Now we are in the tragic-comic situation that our national Pistol team has to leave the country to practice for the Olympics, yet gun crime has escalated.

There are two axioms; firstly, that legal bans only affect the law abiding. Secondly, crooks don’t give a toss (If they did then they wouldn’t be criminals, be fair.). So the whole ‘Let’s pass a law against it’ approach does not, on it’s own solve anything. Instead it raises a whole new crop of demons by criminalizing previously law abiding people, thus breeding resentment and overstretching the necessary contract between law abider and enforcer. The same situation is emerging with regard to the ban on hunting foxes with hounds. Another bad law for the wrong reasons.

Personally I cannot see a solution to the escalation in gun crime, unless of course a few murderers were executed for their crimes. The original principles of the 1957 homicide act would be as good a piece of legislation as any if such sanction were to be brought back. If, as seems the case, prevention proves impossible, then surely the old standby of deterrence should be brought back. Not that this will happen in the short term unless the French break with the European Unions Human rights legislation to deal with their own internal unrest. Because it will take one of the original member states of the EU to set such a precedent. Then, and only then, might the UK publics repeated demands for the restitution of the death penalty be heeded. As I have pointed out before, the reoffending rate does tend to be zero where ultimate sanction is applied.

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Exasperated expatriate expostulations all the way from British Columbia, Canada. As if anyone really cared. Oh, I also watch Icelandic Volcanoes and seismic activity. Don't ask me why.

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