Why didn’t I think of that?

Victor Orban, PM of Hungary, wants secondary schools to be equipped with shooting  ranges – to nurture Olympic champions but also to instill patience and concentration – according that is to the Times.

What a wonderful idea! Forget boxing and the martial arts, let’s get military – and why not throw in a few knife-fighting skills too? Then the public school system will be able to make sure all the potential thugs and terrorists have a proper grounding in murder and can succeed in their chosen professions.

I’m surprised the grand old US of A didn’t think of it first (or did they?). It would make a perfect social fit. I can’t wait for Trump’s tweet.


Author: janus

I'm back......and front - in sunny Sussex-by-the-sea

34 thoughts on “Why didn’t I think of that?”

  1. I don’t think it at all unreasonable that people should be able to handle a gun. After all, that is how the whole of Switzerland runs its army.
    I don’t see why you make the assumption that anyone who can use a gun will do so for maleficent purpose. I have handled a gun since I was twelve years old and never held up a bank, murdered anyone etc (yet!)
    I also used to spend hours as a kid throwing knives, not very effectively, I learnt to fence, shoot a handgun but never had a go on a machine gun, more’s the pity.

    In view of the ravening wogs marauding Europe, I consider the PM of Hungary is sensibly ensuring that his people will be able to defend themselves when the shit finally hits the fan. But why he does not come out and say so beats me. Bloody EU claptrap no doubt.

    It is a great pity the government of the UK is not so careful of its citizens. You probably do not realise but it takes roughly two hours to get any armed response from the police in rural Wales, you are on your own till then. Plenty of time for multiple murders unless you have the capacity to defend yourself. Do you seriously think people are not going to defend themselves any way possible? You will find a loaded shotgun in most rural household in rural Wales, some legal, others not, and so what? Mores the pity that the downtrodden citizenry of the UK are not clamouring for likewise. As it is they sit there actually obeying repressive authorities, more fools them, look where it got them in Grenfell tower,

    The truth of the matter is you are on your own. Every bloody time in this world.

  2. My school had its own rifle range and armoury and every pupil (involvement in the Combined Cadet Force being compulsory) was taught how to shoot. We sent a team of the most proficient cadets to Bisley every year and had regular access to proper military ranges, bigger stuff, 303s and SLRs, for the use of, Sah!.

    It was all great fun albeit with a good deal of seriousness and discipline behind it, but I’m pretty sure we weren’t trying to nurture Olympic champions.


  3. Yup! Kingston had a CCF (semi-compulsory) and although we didn’t have our own range, we had regular access to a local TA facility where I gained my .22 Marksman badge. We fired bigger stuff during our annual camp – .303, Stens and Brens – with the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders keeping a wary eye on us. All great fun as a teenager.

    The CCF also taught me quite a lot about Signals and polished me to become our band’s number 2 Bugler.

    None of this was associated with politics or thuggery – do well in the CCF and when the call-up came you were straight off to OTC for an easy two years. What did I say about enlightened self-interest? 🙂

  4. Bearsy and OZ, wasn’t your CCF experience a hangover from the days of conscription and the need for ‘officer material’? I can’t see the social value of school shooting facilities in 2017.

  5. I am with most of you on this. I can’t see any reason why learning to shoot or the art of self defence, should be seen as negative.
    Janus, instead of seeing it as an opportunity for potential thugs, why not see it as an opportunity for people to learn how to defend themselves?

  6. Gaz, witness what has happened in the USA. The ownership and use of firearms is seen as normal. Start them young and watch the culture grow.

  7. Janus, the ownership and use of firearms is seen as normal in the US because of American history. Remember. they had a very nasty regime that they needed to defend themselves against namely, us. This led to the amendment which gives every citizen the right to defend him/herself, i.e. by owning a gun.
    We don’t have this requirement in the UK. I would be totally against the UK accepting the US gun laws, but I am not against the US gun laws in America.
    Also, I have been trained in the use of firearms, and have used many different guns recreationally, and as yet, have never had the urge to shoot anyone.

  8. We had a .22 rifle range in the school roof and also, via the CCF armoury, redundant service rifles (SMLE No 4 at the time) and also Bren and Sten guns from WW2. I also taught my kids to shoot air pistols and rifles.

    I can see nothing wrong with licensed firearms. After all, if all guns are illegal, only the bad guys have guns. The way Steptoe Corbyn;s rabble-rousers are behaving at the moment, you might be glad of knowing how to shoot.

    While at Uni I learnt enough physics to build a (very inefficient) atom bomb. Same goes for chemistry students and explosives. Are you suggesting that chemistry and physics should not be taught at Uni?

  9. I saw a bumper sticker some years ago: “If guns are made illegal, then only criminals will have guns.” How true!

    Even in the UK, where ownership of any weapon more formidable than a plastic picnic spoon is not allowed, hardly anyone does not know someone who knows someone who might, for a price, be able to furnish one with a firearm, with or without serial number, no questions asked. What one does with such an item is another matter.

    Here in the USA, where gun ownership is legal in many jurisdictions, it is commensurately widespread but the right to bear arms is generally not abused. I own a couple of firearms myself BUT have never (yet) felt compelled to use them against any fellow hoomin bean.

    Despite the limp-wristed leftnik PC view that guns are nasty things that all ought to be confiscated and melted down to make useless ornaments, the fact is that mere possession of guns, once the undesirables are aware of the possible consequences to themselves, does tend to reduce crime. Burglar alarm companies here give their customers signs to plant in the front yard, typically reading something like, “This house protected by XYZ Security.” More effective, not to mention funnier, are those individually purchased signs that say, “This house protected by Smith & Wesson.” A friend, one of the most decent and law-abiding people one might ever hope to meet, makes a point of never going into town unless legally carrying a gun that, he says with some pride, he has never had to actually use. True, one evening he did see two suspicious-looking characters walking directly toward him in an indoor car park and went as far as pulling his jacket back to reveal his holster, whereupon said putative bad guys executed a U-turn and left the scene. Were they perhaps simply going back to retrieve something they’d forgotten? Who knows? The indisputable fact is that my friend made it home alive, well and still in possession of his valuables.

    Years ago, when empaneled on a Grand Jury and seeing all sorts of cases in rapid succession, I learned that, when one person wants to do harm to another, anything at all that comes to hand will do. A lamp, a teapot, a piece of lumber, all usable as weapons. I’ll never forget the case of a guy who was brought into the A&E with a carving fork embedded in his skull, where his girlfriend had placed it during an argument. Guns, knives, nuclear devices, etc., only make it easier for the aggressor – as well as, usually, more permanent for the aggressee.

    The real issue is not individual ownership of weapons or national “ownership” of a fully trained and equipped military, but rather intention. Are you (presumably this covers most, if not all, Charioteers) going to go out and commit crimes? Of course not. Are we (our nations) going to invade our neighbors? Not this week. Erm… our Canadian friends do tell us that some people up there have convinced themselves that the USA is poised to invade Canada but, mercifully, their number is statistically irrelevant.

    Janus: I’m truly glad that you seem to live in a kinder, gentler place than do most of the rest of us and so have no remotely foreseeable need to ever defend yourself if the Populace Protectorate aren’t already hovering directly overhead. As for me, even though I live in a relatively safe area where police response times are far, far less than in rural Wales, I cling to the quaint notion that ultimate responsibility for my own life and safety rests with yrs. truly. Please stay at home, if you will, for the next half hour or so. The Popgun Patrol will be there shortly to confiscate all your kitchen knives, wood chisels, screwdrivers, billiard cues, etc., etc., usw..

    Surely everyone in the USA has by now seen a bumper sticker reading, “Guns don’t kill people. People kill people,” but, to close with another in a lighter vein, this one appearing soon after Bush the First became President and revealed his chief dietary dislike: “Guns don’t kill people. BROCCOLI kills people.”

  10. Cog, you say, Even in the UK, where ownership of any weapon more formidable than a plastic picnic spoon is not allowed, hardly anyone does not know someone who knows someone who might, for a price, be able to furnish one with a firearm, with or without serial number, no questions asked.’

    I am confident that is untrue. How can you possibly judge? In my long life I have never met or heard about that someone.

  11. Janus: Although, during the time I lived in the UK, I never went out of my way to make acquaintance with the unsavory, I can assure you that all types are out there. My wife, who owned and operated a number of pubs in various areas and perforce became expert in “reading” everyone who came through the doors of her premises, knows this even better than I. Gun peddlers are no more likely than drug dealers to carry signs or hand out business cards but, with some experience and the benefit of comments from friends, one can get to recognize them much of the time. Let’s not forget my prior experience derived from living for many years in NYC, parts of which (such as the area where I rented a garage to work on race cars) can be just a little rougher than, say, Henley.

    I admit that there was one individual who had me fooled, a well dressed, well spoken, polite and urbane gentleman who turned out to be a senior Mafia boss. His son, however, was a TV-stereotypical animalistic thug that no one would have the least difficulty recognizing for what he is. I have no doubt at all that, if I’d abandoned circumspection and asked him directly to his face about obtaining a weapon, his response would have been something along the lines of, “Yeah, sure, whaddya want? 9-mil? Sawed-off shotgun? Chain saw?” I felt sorry for the old man, whom I quite liked.

    I further admit that the plastic spoon bit was an exaggeration for effect. “Hardly anyone” may also have been such an exaggeration, as I further further admit to not knowing how saintly are the circles in which said anyones may move. Those who seek to personally prove or disprove what I’ve said or who simply wish to broaden their own horizons may wish to explore the other (Dantean) circles by hanging out some Saturday night in a place like, oh, maybe Pembroke Dock.

  12. janus you are naive. I could land in the UK, 2-3 phone calls, a coach trip to a less salubrious area not far from Cardiff and I could be tooled up not more than 6 hours after landing in the UK.
    Get bloody real.
    Anybody that has experience with licensed premises would know where and how to acquire whatever. And so would the regular patrons.
    You need to get out more!

  13. I’m glad you are so street-wise, CO; you clearly revel in such low-life practices. The great majority of British people have an aversion to firearms and have non reason to embrace the culture. You have gone native in America, which distorts your view of the more civilised world.

  14. Just to add my 2 cents to the discussion. I grew up with guns and along with my siblings, had free access to my dad’s gun cupboard from a very early age. Certainly before the age of 10, I was taking his 12 bore shotgun, (a Purdey naturally), around the farm with a piccanin in tow, to carry home the quarry. My experience was fairly typical of farming families, but even city kids would have been exposed to weapons. Certainly it was drilled into to us from a very early age to treat weapons with respect and that safety was paramount. My parents would reprimand us if we so much pointed two fingers at a person, in imitation of a pistol.

    Then of course came the army. All Rhodesian males were called up. There we got to play with a range of weapons including 9mm pistols, 7.62 FN automatic rifles, 7.62 mm machine guns, rocket and hand grenades.

    Despite all that experience, I have never owned more than the pellet gun I got when I was 9, and nor do I have any particular desire to own one now. Nor indeed have any of my childhood friends become gun-toting murderers. In fact I doubt you could meet a bunch of more decent, law-abiding citizens.

    So, I do not buy the argument that familiarity with guns turns people into killers. South Africa has one of the highest rates of murder in the world. The preferred methods seem to be to pour boiling water down the throat, thrusting broken broomsticks up vaginas, machetes blow to the head at about eye level, with the intent of opening it like a boiled egg. You get my drift. You do not need a gun to kill someone.

    There are some nasty people out there, and if some of them happen to live near you, then it would be a good idea to protect yourself from them. But if you do have a gun you need to be prepared to use it otherwise, you will likely be disarmed and it will be used against you. The problem is though, as we saw with Tony Martin some years back, and as we have seen with the prosecutions that follow police killings in the UK, the law is enforced to protect the guilty. And by guilty, I do not mean the person who is defending his house. Here in Africa, and in fact probably anywhere in the world where they exist, the majority of criminals tend to belong to one ethnic group. If as a member of another ethnic group you successfully defend yourself, you have little chance of winning sympathy from prosecuting authorities.

    Ok, that was probably more than 2 cents.

  15. Gazoopi: you seem to have forgotten that for many centuries in England it was incumbent on every male over the age of fourteen to practice his skills at archery – fines for non-compliance would apply! This was essential when there was no standing army and kings needed men to defend England or wanted armies to fight their interminable wars on the continent. Things changed when Britain began to have an established fighting force.

    It should not surprise anyone that those intrepid migrants into the hostile environment of the New World would continue the tradition of expecting ordinary citizens, of whatever gender, to be trained in the use of arms to defend themselves… there was an extremely hostile force living there long before we Brits became a problem!

    Cog: I have also read the stickers that “If guns are made illegal, etc., etc.” and “It isn’t guns that kill people…” and I can’t argue with your logic.

    But (and I guess you knew that was coming!) we may live in countries with a common heritage, we have very different modern histories which causes us to see the world in completely different ways.

    Sipu It was more than 2 cents worth – but some good points nonetheless! There are, indeed, many more ways of killing than using a gun… and I think if I lived in S.A or Zimbabwe, I would endeavour to become proficient with a fire-arm. As to the Tony Martin case – it was disgraceful.

  16. Of course, the Wild West (and the African colonies) were dangerous places to ply any trade. How lucky for the gun-slingers that an ambiguous sentence in the American ‘mantra’ has allowed would-be militiamen to include every citizen in its freedoms. I am only grateful that the Olde Worlde continues to resist the pressures to arm its citizens and our culture can still recognise the value of that.

  17. “I’m glad you are so street-wise, CO; you clearly revel in such low-life practices.”

    There is no need to be so personally insulting janus, to those with whom you disagree.

  18. Boadicea: Don’t omit that every adult Swiss man is, as part of the army, required to keep a government-issued rifle at home. I understand from some Swiss of my acquaintance that it is fairly common to keep such hardware hung from convenient exposed beams, easily seen by any visiting official types and nosy neighbors but out of reach of the little kiddies.

    I assume that the “modern histories” to which you refer include the infamous Tony Martin case, to which you also refer only a paragraph later. Lest you think me guilty of throwing stones from the comfort of a glass house, we have had similar cases right here in the rootin’-tootin’ gun-happy kill-crazy US of A. One of the worst I can remember hinged upon only a couple of minutes. “Lemme ‘splain you,” as Desi Arnaz would say. The law in that jurisdiction allowed you to shoot/stab/bludgeon intruders as dead as you like provided that the causative intrusion was at night. An overzealous prosecutor chose to augment his conviction statistics by showing that, according to the Gummint weather boffins, the sun had not “officially” set that day until some (no more than five) minutes after the incident occurred. And so it came to pass that the course of Justice was reversed, with the intruders becoming victims and the defender becoming the criminal.

    Considering all the aggro that’s gone on in Europe over the years, I darkly suspect that gun laws were enacted not so much to protect the population from each other as to head off armed revolution. Wait! Is possession of a guillotine also illegal? If so, too bad, it’d make a nice yard ornament.

    Sipu: Thank you for the “Mises” link. A man after my own heart (but beware: I’ll defend it until I’m done using it). I’ll see your two cents and raise you five.

    Janus: What any operator of licensed premises, from the most disreputable hole-in-the-wall pub to an award-winning restaurant such as my wife had, may truly be said to “revel in” is simply staying in business and turning a profit. If that involves absorbing what is said and to be seen within one’s establishment and if the non-understanding view that as acquiring guilt by association, then so be it. Far better to be seen by some as “street-wise” (even though becoming that way can be much like inhaling “secondhand smoke”) than to risk being robbed, raided or whatever for want of knowledge of who the real “low-lifes” are and what they may be up to.

    All: If there’s going to be a fight here, I claim the popcorn concession!

  19. Surprising then that CO should be offended by my ‘street-wise’ epithet. I disagree with her Wild West opinions and took offence at her ad hominem comment.

  20. Nobody gives or takes offence in this here Chariot, the barkeep has a Purdey . . .

    When I was at Uni, living in deepest darkest Jamaica (ie. Brixton), I got to know quite a few of the local semi-villains, and a couple of fringe members of the Sarf Lunnon Gang. (Never heard of it? Where were you in the early ’60s?)

    During conversations it was made abundantly clear that if you wanted anything on the cheap, someone would know someone who could get it for you, “fell off the back of a lorry, guv,” If you wanted anything dodgy, like an untraceable firearm, no problem but “it’ll cost ya’. When’dya wannit?”

    I took all this with more than a grain of salt at first, imagining that it was just hot air. But one evening in the pub we got on to the subject of the number of cars in our street that were resting on blocks or bricks because the wheels had been nicked overnight. I was told that there was a good profit to be made on new wheels to order, and on petrol caps, and “shut up Bearsy, you don’t wanna know”.

    I kept shtum as ordered, but I couldn’t help wondering how my bright shiny newly resprayed (in orange) TR2 had retained all its wheels, and the filler cap, and hadn’t been customised with the edge of a coin or pocket knife. They laughed, verily they guffawed. “Dontcha worry Bearsy mate, the word went out weeks ago not to touch your motor, ‘cos you’re one of us and we’d break their legs if they did.”

    After that I came to believe their stories had at least a grain of truth, so I reckon procuring a shooter in those days would have been a doddle and I doubt it’s any harder these days – if you smile at the right people. 🙂

  21. Cog: I had, indeed, forgotten the Swiss.

    My term ‘modern histories’ was a short-hand for the time after Europeans settled in new environments and either retained laws that their homelands later relinquished and / or added other customs and laws that reflected their needs in the lands in which they then lived.

    The case you cite is surely is one of the best examples of the law being an ass… and one of the reasons, in my opinion, that so many People of Sound Common Sense hold the law and all its workings in contempt. The notion of Natural Justice is far too often denied by petty adherence to the ‘Letter of the Law’.

    I actually think you are probably right – UK gun-laws were probably set in place to protect the population from each other! But it was only possible to do that because the UK had a well-established system, going back centuries, of dealing with law-breakers.

    As far as I’m aware, the US could not enforce similar laws – the colonisation of the West was too chaotic and to survive one needed to take responsibility for oneself. My biggest problem with the US gun-laws is that they do not appear (from this end of the world) to limit the size and nature of the guns that citizens have the right to acquire – should anyone have the right to own a sub-machine gun?

  22. jazz, I think that cop is a fool. Do you want vigilantes? Do you think ‘locals’ will handle the problems? I suggest you move to that untroubled region asap, if you think so.

  23. Bearsy, like you I have encountered every kind of criminality in my colourful life. However, I’m pleased to report that none of the ‘respectable’ types I knew were into firearms – except my friends in the USA! They believed they needed to arm themselves. Such a shame.

  24. Boadicea: You’re spot on about the “chaotic” colonization of the American West and the consequent need to look out for oneself. It may be easily understandable that, once such a mindset is formed, it’s not easily abandoned.

    FYI, ownership of a submachine gun or machine gun in the USA requires a special Federal license that I understand is difficult to get and generally not worth the effort. I don’t know of any limitation on the size of guns short of the point at which weapons come to be considered artillery rather than small arms. If I wanted to part with the high price (of both the gun and ammunition), I could legally buy myself a .50 Cal. rifle.

    But why do so? I’m not a raving gun nut, I bought the WW II-vintage firearms I have mainly as interesting semicollectibles and I’m not likely to crave anything bigger than .303.

    “The law is a ass,” but why? Possibly because laws are written by politicians who are more interested in remaining in office than in doing their job properly.

    I remain unconvinced that European gun laws were enacted to protect the population from each other rather than to protect the leaders from armed masses. A more elegant solution was found by the British Royal Family, who not all that long ago took certain stirrings in the streets seriously enough to change their family surname. True that the UK once *had* a well-established system of dealing with lawbreakers but they gave it up, forcing who knows how many ropewalks to close once the demand was gone.

    As for Switzerland, despite the fact that nearly every household has a gun, it’s hard to imagine that picture-postcard-perfect place having much if any crime not involving adulteration of chocolate.

    Peanuts! Popcorn! Ammunition! Get your goodies here!

  25. This bunfight has established its antagonists in their entrenched positions – fatty snacks at the ready. A putative poll suggest that only an extreme minority would like a loosening of gun laws in more civilised countries.

  26. Hmmmm….Janus. From the comments I read it as the opposite poll result. Maybe our entrenched views also affect our understanding of polls 🙂

  27. Cog: Certainly “once a mindset is formed, it’s not easily abandoned”. Having been brought up with Hollywood movies like “High Noon”, I was incredibly disappointed to watch a series on the US West recently that showed me that my (now-erst-while) hero Wyatt Earp undertook a private vendetta… But, my firm belief that one must not ever judge past events by modern thinking still holds true!

    I, personally, don’t think that the reason that the law is an ass (as it always has been!) has anything to do with pollies trying to retain power.

    Just at the moment, I’m having a huge problem with the judiciary system, both here and in the UK. It seems to me that the Legal Eagles in both countries are getting a tad too big for their boots and need to be firmly put in their place. Separation of Powers is essential – we all understand the horrors that happen when Governments are able to direct the judiciary to use the powers of the Courts to silence opposition.

    But, it seems to me that many ‘judgements’ are now the outcome of the Courts thinking that they are above the law… and are interpreting Parliamentary legislation in the way they see fit, rather than in the spirit in which that legislation was framed…

    … as I often remind people, we Brits chopped a king’s head off for thinking he was above the law.

    We have an interesting case here in Oz at the moment. Three MPs criticised the courts for their lenient treatment of terrorists… the High Court in that State has demanded that those MPs answer a charge of ‘Contempt of Court’ for daring to criticize them… What happened to Free Speech?

Add your Comment

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: