Friday, January 30, 2009

Life in the U.K. - 6

I don't think anyone is advocating that the police start carrying guns here. That's something that everyone agrees on here. They don't want police to do that. And it's a good idea. There isn't violence against the police here like there is in the states. The police here aren't killed at the rate of more than one a day.

They do have weapons, but they don't carry them on routine patrols. They are kept locked up until needed, and if I remember correctly, they have to have permission of a supervisor to use them, or have come under fire. Carrying them would probably just create more violence as the criminals would then start to carry them also. I think the US is in a position now where we can't turn back.

But the idea of gun ownership here is a lot more common than most Americans would think. There are a lot of difference in between Brits and Americans, but in some ways we are a lot more alike then they might want to believe.

Lots of people here still think they should be able to have guns. Not so much the concealed carry like we have, but the right to have them in their own homes, or places of business. Since the expansion of the EU, there has been an influx of immigrants from eastern Europe. I've lived there myself, so I'm not condemning them all. But along with the immigrants who come here to work and have a better life, criminals are making the trip also. Why steal from poor eastern Europeans who don't have anything, when you can come to the UK and steal from people who have something. So now that they can move to the UK, they are coming in force, and because of that there is a marked increase in crime in the UK.

There are an increasing number of house break-ins and robberies at stores, and many people feel that having their own weapons could either prevent robberies, or provide "protection" when it does happen.

I grew up in a gun society. My father didn't keep one, but most of my family and neighbors did. I went hunting for the first time when I was six. Didn't fire the game. Oddly, it was my uncle who took me, because my father was in Vietnam. Most people I grew up around hunt, and have pistols in the house. Of course, I spent my adult life in the Army, and know what it is like to carry a live weapon, point it at someone, and have one pointed back.

According to most studies I've seen, the places where guns are allowed (and particularly concealed carry) have lower crime rates. Of course, like any other issue, there are counter studies that show the exact opposite. I don't know who's right or wrong, but it is interesting that DC has one of the highest crime rates in the world, yet gun ownership is banned by law. (Or was, until the recent Supreme Court decision). When I lived in Arizona, where everyone had guns, the crime rate was low. So to each his own.

I'm not advocating anyone own a gun. I'm not advocating banning guns. Everyone should make their own choice. They might prevent crime, or they might increase it. There isn't one overall reason why the crime rate here has risen at the same time that gun ownership was banned. But a lot of people here want their guns back. And will do something to get them.

Outlawing the legal possession of guns doesn't get rid of guns. The criminals who want them can and will get them. They're criminals, they don't care about the law. The idea of getting caught with a gun doesn't really faze them as they already spend their time committing crimes. Outlawing guns doesn't keep them out of the hands of criminals. But it does keep them out of the hands of their victims. This might be a good or bad thing.

But I already know what is going to happen. As the crime rate increases, people here will get guns. It's easy. Finding guns isn't a hard thing to do, and they aren't that expensive. With the open borders in the EU now, it's not that hard to get something in or out of any country. So the ordinary citizen will get guns, and eventually, one of them will use one to protect themselves. And they will probably end up wounding or killing someone. The criminal will then become the victim, and the victim will be charged with a crime for protecting their home.

It's an interesting conundrum. As Buffalo Springfield said, "Nobody's right when everybody's wrong."