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Hullabaloo


Sunday, December 06, 2015

 
The Scottish hellscape

by digby

Via the New York Times:

It is a simple plaque for the 16 children gunned down that day in March 1996, set on a small, stone column outside the primary school that continues to educate this town’s young. Built on a slope between trees and overgrown shrubs, it is easy to miss.

But the impact of the loss the memorial reflects endures, nearly 20 years after a 43-year-old man with four handguns stormed the schoolhouse gym in a three-minute shooting spree that seared abhorrence for gun violence into Britain’s national psyche.

The following year, the public outcry over the killings, distant though it was from the halls of power, spurred political action: The British government banned the private ownership of automatic weapons and handguns on Britain’s mainland.

Guess what happened? Did the country fall into a Lord of the Flies society where only the "bad guys" had guns and they turned the law abiding public into sitting ducks? Is Scotland today a land of total anarchy where the "bad guys" are holding the "good guys" hostage, raping and pillaging at will because nobody can defend themselves?

Uhm, no:

In Scotland, a nation of 5.3 million people, the weapon of choice for criminals, by far, is the knife. Guns remain tools for farmers and hunters.

“You never see people with guns in this country,” said Sir Stephen House, who stepped down last month as chief constable of the Scottish police. “If you do, you’re in a rural area and it’s a bloke out shooting rabbits.”

Of the roughly 55 homicides in the country in the last 12 months, “one or two of those” were by shooting, Mr. House said.

How do those people stand living under such tyranny?

Obviously, terrorism can be carried out by means other than guns. Tim McVeigh is a good example of how that can be done. The Boston Bombers used pressure cooker bombs. (They also killed a cop with a handgun and had a dramatic shoot-out with law enforcement.) Suicide vests can kill large numbers of people. Some would-be jihadi stabbed some people in London yesterday.

But easy access to guns sure does make it easier for them. In the San Bernardino attacks, the homemade pipe bombs didn't go off. But the semi-automatic killing machines worked like a charm.

And yeah, there's also the hum-drum oh-so-boring-everyday-gun violence that kills around 30,000 people per year in homicides, suicides and accidents, many of the victims being children. But we consider that an act of nature like a tornado or an earthquake --- nothing to be done.


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