Gun Control

It is almost inconceivable to have had so many mass shooting tragedies in the USA within such a short time span. But so we have and here we are, with a large part of the populace reflexively calling for “gun control,” whatever that is. I darkly suspect that those people have no better idea about it than they do about “global warming.” If they were all so clever as they like to think they are, surely by now we’d have had some possibly useful ideas about how to solve the problem.  

As many of you know, I live in the USA, where the second Amendment to our Constitution specifically guarantees the right to bear arms. True, certain restrictions (e.g., a ban on carrying *concealed* weapons without a permit) may be imposed and those vary from one jurisdiction to another. In general, however, we are much better equipped than residents of the UK, where existing law very nearly forbids possession of any weapon more formidable than a plastic picnic spoon. I own two guns myself but have not (yet) used them on another living creature. In the State of Washington where I live, it would, however, be perfectly legal for me to mount a terminal defense against home invaders. You will then readily understand that, to me, the principal and literal meaning of “gun control” involves keeping a good grip on one’s weapon.

I agree wholeheartedly with the saying that “guns don’t kill people, people kill people.”** Guns only make the killing easier. Without a gun, those violently disposed will readily use anything that comes to hand. Some years ago, while empaneled on a Grand Jury, I heard a case involving a man brought into the A&E with a carving fork embedded in his head, where his girlfriend had planted it. Other cases involved more conventional weapons but still bore out the concept that a gun is not a prerequisite to violent crime. The British newspapers these days are full of “knife crime,” “moped crime” and who knows what else. People will do what they will do.

The question is: what will *we* do? It seems painfully obvious to me that it must involve concentrating on those individuals possessing guns rather than on the guns themselves. Some of our office holders have sounded halfway reasonable on the subject but, unfortunately, their legislative bodies seem to lack the will and the funding to do what needs to be done. We are perhaps getting closer to extending and enhancing background checks to be done on all prospective gun buyers. No one, however, seems willing to even think (at least publicly) about mandating complete and detailed mental health evaluations (which would, granted, cost the Government a whole lot of money) for all who would keep a firearm. Even that is not likely to be perfect but it certainly wouldn’t hurt.

** – When George H. W. Bush (Bush senior) became President of the USA, he said that he had been forced to eat broccoli as a child and, now that he was President, he didn’t have to eat it anymore. In the wake of his statement, there appeared a bumper sticker reading: “Guns don’t kill people. BROCCOLI kills people.”

21 thoughts on “Gun Control”

  1. Firstly, I normally don’t comment on gun control just after a major shooting, or on climate change, just after a hurricane. People are normally too emotionally affected, to make sensible objective statements. I make an exception here, as the post is very unemotionally objective.
    Secondly, I have been flip flopping all my life on the topic of gun control and the right to defend oneself.
    As I have become older, I lean more towards what I consider to be morally right, rather than what is legally allowed. For example, I always carry a pepper spray, even though they are illegal here. I consider the right to defend myself outweighs what the state might think. I keep one in my bag, one in each car and one by the main entrance door. In ten years, I have only once had cause to use it, on an aggressive dog, but once came close with a person that I thought was about to attack me. Luckily it wasn’t necessary. Had it been, I would have used it, irrespective of the law.
    What has pepper spray got to do with guns, you may ask. Well, I have never lived in a country where gun ownership is widespread. If I did, I would certainly carry one, as a pepper spray wouldn’t suffice.
    If I felt unsafe, I would carry a gun whether it was legal or not. Personal safety comes first, before the law.
    We are where we are, in the US. Gun ownership is widespread, therefore any attempt to make it illegal or more tightly controlled, will only end up with increased illegal gun ownership.
    It’s too easy to say, after a major shooting, guns are to blame. The whole structure of society would have to change and there are still many areas of America where one is too remote from the law, to be safe without a method of defence.
    I tend towards leaving the gun laws as they are, but increasing attempts to understand why crazies go wild.

  2. I find it deeply depressing to read the same old rubbish regurgitated by otherwise respected Charioteers.

    What more do you need? How many more innocent littlies do you want murdered every day at school? How many more warped souls do you want to have a minor tanty and stomp out to kill dozens of his fellow men with a military standard killing machine that he picked up with his coke at the local corner store?

    It’s because you flaming Americans have been so brainwashed that you don’t even realize that you’re brainwashed to worship at the altar of the right to arm bears. I know it’s no use trying to deprogram you, that you’ll all just repeat the same warped mantra over and over again, but I tell you the rest of the civilised world is getting thoroughly tired of you murderous Yanks and your bloody guns. So another 50 children have been executed by little Jimmy with an AK-47 – so what, they’re only American kids, they’re not real people – who cares? Think about it, for Christ’s sake!

    Yuk! Believe what you like, but don’t expect the Chariot to support your sick deviancy.

  3. If I read it right, Trump said this has to do with Mental Illness – and, I tend to think he is right. I cannot imagine any sane person committing the senseless mass slaughter that we see so often in the US.

    I know all about the 2nd Amendment, and I’m aware that it would be virtually impossible to a) remove it and b) to get all the legal guns, not to mention the illegal firearms out of circulation.

    But, what I do have to ask is why so many people can get guns (be they loopy or sane) and why it is permissible to buy such lethal weapons?

    It is indeed true that it is people who kill and a gun is simply the weapon of choice, but I would argue that it would be a great deal harder to kill over 20 people at one time with a knife… a broken bottle or other such weapon – which requires getting pretty close to one’s chosen victims. So to compare the devastating rise in knife crimes in London with the mass murders in the US seems to be pointless.

    I’d also like to point out that there are restrictions on the sale of knives in both the UK and here… perhaps the UK needs to tighten up the policing of their laws.

    Sorry Gazoopi – puzzling why some twisted person chooses to take a gun and mow down a pile of people is rather a wasted exercise – I suspect there are as many motives as there are murders – and most countries do not have the funds to screen every individual to see whether they are likely to turn into vicious thugs.

    The answer has to be to try to limit both the sale and type of ‘legal’ weapons with more rigorous checking – but I doubt that the gun-lobby will go for that.

    In the meantime, I’m sorry to say, that I am getting ‘compassion fatigue’ about such events. They are awful… but, I’ve lived through too many and watched the efforts of those in the US who are try to limit gun-ownership being thwarted at every turn to feel much sympathy anymore.

    For what it’s worth, I do rather resent being told that the gun laws in the UK or here are defective. It is far too late to turn the clock back in the US – but some of us sleep a lot more soundly to know that our countries do limit gun ownership – and that little Jimmy cannot just pick up his Dad’s, Mum’s or neighbour’s legal gun and run amok.

  4. Oh, so I’m a deviant, am I? Well, I suppose that’s as good a word for me as any. My only problem with that is that I may find it a tad difficult to live up to such a rudely applied label for the benefit of other members.

    News of the day: Some nutcase in southern California went on a stabbing spree (with a knife – yes, knife), killing four (4) people and injuring two (2) others. If anyone is expecting me to say, “How stupid, he could have got his numbers way higher than that if he’d used a gun,” then they’ll be disappointed. Murder is murder.

    Just wondering: Did you (anyone whom this shoe fits) ever serve in the military?

    Harrumph!!!!!

    Boadicea: One of the things on which I’ve actually agreed with The Only President We’ve Got is the issue of mental illness. (Let’s leave certain politicians out of this for now.) The other side of the coin, so to speak, is that some columnists are now accusing him of encouraging these heinous acts with his inflammatory speech.

    For the record, while it is more difficult to acquire a firearm in the UK than it is here, it is far from impossible to do so illegally. All that’s necessary is acquaintance with the right criminal element and the price. I’d like to think that, at least for the most part, the only people willing to go to the trouble and expense of illegally buying a gun are those who do not intend to use it on other people’s ill-behaved children.

  5. Cog

    I don’t read enough of Trump’s statements to comment on whether he is encouraging this violence with his speeches. Somehow I doubt it – since this it seems to be a recurring problem whoever is in charge at the top.

    Nor do I understand how one can mitigate against a nutter in any country who is determined to make a bloody (literally!) statement – mental illness (under which heading I include religious / racial fanaticism) can and does occur everywhere. No country is immune.

    Of course any determined person can get hold of a gun illegally anywhere – with the right contacts and sufficient money. I’m pretty sure that had I wanted one such when I lived in London, I could have done so!

    I would, however, argue that it surely time for the US to make it made more difficult for these mentally unstable characters to obtain weapons – especially the sort that can spit out bullets at a high rate.

    I know that it is futile trying to convince most Americans of the need to limit gun ownership – it is part of US history and culture. It is equally impossible to convince those of us who live with gun control that universal gun ownership is OK – that’s our history and culture!

    So we will just have to agree to disagree…

  6. Hi there, it’s only me, your friendly neighborhood sick deviant, back to amuse you. I’m certainly not amusing that “#MeToo” lot, who haven’t (yet) come up with a single thing of which to accuse me, and so for the moment I’ll aim (watch it!) at the Truly Deserving.

    It occurs to me that even today there are British people who cast blame upon us murderous Yanks for being so slow to go over there and gun down Germans for them. Can’t satisfy everyone, I guess, and it is after all easier to stay home and kill innocent children, although a look at the news might make one wonder just how innocent many of today’s kiddos are. I am, however, the first to say that it would be vastly preferable not to breed so many of them in the first place and do a better job of raising them rather than shooting them later. It’d help with “global warming” – or am I stepping into another trap by mentioning that?

    Ah, the news. This morning’s TV news from Seattle reported not a single gun-related incident. The lead item was about a barber who was stabbed to death (with a knife).

    It may be worth saying that, even in cases of self defense, it’s not always necessary to actually use a gun to kill another presumably human being. A friend who holds a concealed firearm carrying license never goes into town without a holstered gun and credits that with sparing him a stabbing, beating or whatever. One evening he was in a parking garage and noticed two decidedly unsavoury types headed in his direction. They gave off bad vibes if ever anyone did, just looked *wrong* if you take my meaning. My friend simply pulled his jacket back to reveal his gun, nothing more, and the two “model citizens” instantly did a U-turn and walked away rapidly. Just yesterday there was a case of a would-be malefactor who, after breaking into a home, was confronted by the homeowner, who just happened to be holding his pistol. The bad guy instantly took off running and not a shot was fired – just as well because hitting a moving target is more difficult.

    Boadicea: Various media types have commented on the “inflammatory rhetoric” used these days by The Only President We’ve Got. So far as I’ve to date been willing to read, however, none has yet directly accused him of inciting his loyal followers to go out and kill people – some of whom may turn out to be members of his own party.

    One minor exception: there was recently an individual arrested for attacking a 13-year-old who refused to remove his hat when the National Anthem was played before a sporting event. A head injury that guy had sustained left him not quite himself, which I’m prepared to believe at least partially explains his claim that he was acting on instructions from the Oval Office.

    I should also say that the system for background checks of prospective firearm buyers is already in place although, like many Gummint programs, it seems to have been put together in a decidedly half fast manner and reminds me of a piece of Emmenthaler (full of holes). Still, it could be mended, expanded and strengthened without bankrupting the nation. Instituting a national program of mental health checks would, on the other hand, cost far more than even a Presidential golf course.

  7. English is sometimes lacking in clarity for a variety of reasons, but there are often writing conventions which can help. In particular, pronouns are considered, by default, to refer back to the last relevant personal noun. So in – . . . your sick deviancy – the (plural) referent is obviously you flaming Americans rather than the (singular) author of the post. The author is only being addressed indirectly as a self-selected representative member of that group.

    Unhealthily following a doctrine not endorsed by the majority is not, in my book, rude. It is an accurate reflection of the predilection of a misguided, but very vocal, group to prefer their “right” to possess lethal toys over the right of hundreds of innocent fellow humans to life. Personally, I feel strongly that it is the indiscriminate killing of innocent men, women and children that is rude, if one is to resort to that term.

    A robust post on a sensitive subject may reasonably expect to receive a robust rebuttal. Innit?

  8. So… Me no speeka da Eenglis, eh? And am I not part of my nation? Good thing I’m one Yank who’s slower to burst into flame than others who may or may not decide to follow the doctrine of a majority that may or may not exist.
    Nice try.
    Pffft!

  9. Cog
    If I might be allowed to remark – your story of the guy who never goes into town without his gun says it all for me. I can and always have been able to go ‘into town’ without feeling the need to take any weapon with me. Many years ago I lived in an area in London where in some schools teachers only went around in pairs and there was, in fact, a no-go area where even the police went in mob-handed. I do own to not going far into that small area very often, but I certainly did some of my shopping in the area. And I also own that I moved out of the area once my daughters reached high-school age.

    As to your comments re the US tardiness in joining the war – I don’t think too many people complain about that any more, although it does rather get up our noses that so many Americans date WW2 from 2 years after it started, give us very little credit for holding the fort single-handed for so long – and then have the audacity to claim that the US paid for it all!! In actual fact the debt to the US and Canada was not paid in full until 2006…

    … at which time, I assume, the US returned to British Sovereignty all the places (like the 13thC manor house near where I lived) that had been under US jurisdiction since the war. I managed to get a look round (courtesy of a friend who was the wife of a US Colonel). It seemed very odd to me to be greeted at the gate by soldiers carrying guns! But then I’d never, ever even seen a copper carrying a gun.

    As for ‘global warming’ we’re experiencing one of the coldest winters on record – no doubt due to Europe pinching our ‘hot air’ to create heat-waves over there!

    I’m a little tired of people telling me ‘how I can save the world’ by not travelling, sorting which bit of rubbish is recyclable and which is not (why don’t they just label the stuff),freezing in winter, frying in summer and, now, being encouraged to eat insects. Yuck!

    The simple fact is that we are outgrowing our planet – but as long as the model of ‘continual growth’ rather than ‘sustainability’ is the economic goal the problem will continue.

  10. Boadicea: Of course you’re allowed to remark; even if we happen to differ, you’re always reasonable and most polite about it. In this case, I do agree that there have always been “no go” zones and the thing to do has usually been to stay out of them. My friend happens to be better equipped than most of us and more willing/able to carry the weight of a very substantial handgun, that’s all, and is no more likely to go around shooting people than you or I. The fact that he’s ex-military (retired Colonel) may partially explain why, in the absence of direct orders from on high, he aims to keep the peace and won’t harm any who aren’t at least well on their way to harming him.

    Regarding continued resentment of the USA’s late entry into war, I’ve heard it enough to believe it exists. And even my own dear wifeperson resents the debt with which we left Britain, ignoring the fact that FDR found it impossible to get equipment and suchlike to our friends and allies without making it a loan rather than a gift, at least until we’d joined the war ourselves. Blame it on our isolationism – which, seen one way, may have a bit in common with anti-gun feelings.

    As for return of commandeered properties, she’s told me of Thames-front property once owned by her ex-father-in-law that was seized by the *British* Government and never returned to him after the war. It later magically became a fashionable and expensive area, with never a penny of compensation paid. It’s only a little more legitimate that the Germans got one of his ships when the German captain headed home at the first shot rather than completing his assigned voyage. At the moment I’m not up to investigating what, if any, places used by USA forces were never returned but tend to assume there would be very few, if any.

    I’m sorry that I didn’t think that you and I are standing on our heads relative to each other, so to speak, and that I don’t routinely follow the weather situation Down Under. The weather around here gives me more than enough to keep me occupied.

    We proudly avoid unnecessary travel, recycle religiously, dress to suit the climate rather than relying on climate control machinery, etc., etc.. But eating insects? No, thankyouvery much. Eew, yuck, icky-poo!

    Now the UN is telling us to eat less beef because cows produce methane. I’m reminded of two Government research grants that were awarded some years ago, apparently coincidentally. One was for development of a fartless cow feed. The other was for development of a means of collecting bovine flatulence and using it as fuel.

    I agree wholeheartedly that “continual growth” is a major problem in today’s world, with “sustainability” often largely a fashionable buzzword. China’s limit on family size was one of their better ideas. As the lady of the house often says, “Don’t breed what you can’t feed.”

  11. I consider that the issue of gun control in the USA is a matter for Americans to decide for themselves. If they can live with regular mass shootings, that’s up to them. Similarly I think that the current outbreak of knife attacks in the UK is largely the problem of one community and that it’s up to that community to sort itself out. Non-cooperation with the police and whingeing about “stop and search” does not win any sympathy from me. Like Boadicea, I’ve run out of it. Perhaps legalising drugs would help solve the problem

  12. Sheona: Well considered! I agree that each country’s practices and policies are, or at least should be, its own affair, although I do find myself seriously wondering what’s going on in the alleged minds of people in the USA. Frankly, I wouldn’t necessarily feel any safer on either side of the water these days. I do think that pub punch-ups are more common in the UK but (a) they’re generally survivable and (b) the obvious solution is to choose one’s watering holes carefully. I’m not that big a drinker anyway and, when over there, have only ever gone to establishments vetted by friends.

    I don’t think I’d win any friends by suggesting that members of “that community” all be lined up at the edge of a trench and gunned down. No, I thought not. That wouldn’t be my own way in any case. Lining them all up at the airport with one-way tickets to somewhere else would be more my preference.

    Legalizing drugs? Shock, horror! Well, maybe, but only if we can arrange to have those distributed on the mass market dangerously over-strength or adulterated in some other way. Those who choose to wreck their own health and life and who can remain civilized while on a “trip” are presumably of a better class and better able to afford “premium” (safer) drugs without resorting to crime. Ha! How about an advertising campaign aimed at such upmarket drug buyers? The words “smooth” and “mellow” come quickly to mind.

    I need lunch and a nap, in that order. I’d appreciate being left to sleep until about a week before 2020 Election Day in the USA. I’ve had more than enough politics for now and can only admire the campaigning limitation built into the British system. Oh, and can we stifle the “news” media while we’re at it?

    By the way, I haven’t shot anyone (yet) today.

  13. Ready for some more sick deviancy? I hope so.

    Where is my head? Why has it taken me so long to think that, in addition to guns, we ought to also ban cars and trucks, even the brand new electric ones?

    There have, you see, been several occasions within recent memory in which some misguided person drove his vehicle straight into a crowd of presumably innocent hoomin beans (possibly including littles), with predictably deadly results. I can’t be bothered to look up the details now but it does seem that the count of those killed or injured might even approach that recorded in gun-related incidents. Not a financially sound alternative, though, because merely owning a gun won’t subject you to unreasonably high insurance rates.

    Now, then, what about cows? They emit methane, which can be hazardous in more than one way, and I wouldn’t be surprised if at some point it were decided to ban them altogether. In the meantime, however, I may simply apply to each side of each of the cows in the field behind us a sign reading: “WARNING! No open flame within 50 feet.”

    If someone offers to buy me a drink, can I safely claim my right to beer alms?

    And what’s all this business about “assault” weapons? I don’t recall that the military ever called anything in their arsenal anything of the sort. Clearly another effort by the anti-gun spinmeisters.

    There is, however, a gun-like device on the market in this benighted land that’s called the “Bug-a-salt.” What it does is fire table salt at some poor innocent fly or other annoying insect. (Boadicea: “pre-seasoning” them?) Regardless of the high-velocity projectile used (salt or bullet), I think I’ll pass on cleaning up the aftermath. Murder can be messy.

  14. Nobody mentioned the word “assault” in this post other than you.

    So here you go with the same old tired redneck gun lobby arguments which make no more sense now than the last time they were aired. Here’s some more free advice from the sane, well balanced side of the world, “When you’re in a hole, stop digging”.

    Try knitting, or bowls. Much more fun and socially cohesive than shooting schoolkids or pregnant young women. Or even Seniors past their sell-by date.

    Have a nice day now – but leave the gun at home.

  15. No beer alms for me, then?

    In case anyone noticed (some obviously did not), I made it reasonably clear (or thought I did) that I see use of the word “assault” with which we are daily bombarded (ooh, bombarded!) as the work of the “anti-gun spinmeisters.” Interesting how sinister (left-handed, if you wish) types far exceed dexters in attracting and enlisting those skilled at using emotive language to support some cause or other. But that’s material for another rant.

    Some with deficient attention span might also delude themselves into thinking that I’ve been endlessly repeating the “same old tired redneck gun lobby arguments” but, after otherwise needless rereading of my posts and careful consideration of the facts, I cannot find such to be the case. There’s only one part of their mantra to which I’ve even referred more than once: “guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” For the record, that remains my belief.

    Also for the record, I am fiercely independent and would wish to have lobbies supporting gun ownership, gun banning, health care changes, etc., etc. outlawed forever in this land. It all seems to come down to money and it is almighty depressing to see how many of our elected officials are willing to sell their support, if not their entire souls, for campaign contributions. I’d much prefer to see politicians sealed away somewhere from the moment of their election, well out of reach of those who would buy or otherwise sway their votes.

    Now I’ve gone and remembered a short science fiction story I read years ago, in which the Leader of us all was chosen not by public vote but rather by The Great Computer. A family was following the broadcast results, becoming ever more excited as the search was narrowed to their part of the country, then to their state, then to their city and then to their neighborhood. And then the Secret Service broke the door down and hauled the man away, kicking and screaming, to become President.

    If the world were as seriously out of balance as some may like to think it is, surely we’d notice the effects of some wobble. Sanity, like insanity, can strike anywhere, so let us all beware.

    Knitting? Me, decent, law-abiding and thoroughly masculine individual that I am? I’d be well surprised if knitting needles, which can be every bit as dangerous as carving forks in the wrong hands, aren’t next on the list of things to be banned. And bowls? Even in the absence of volunteers to be coshed by a heavy ball, those also probably ought to be added to the proscribed list. Along with cars and various other things that might potentially be used to kill or injure others. Just in case nobody thought about it, words alone can be injurious.

    I mentioned cows in hope of injecting a bit of levity into what has become a tiresome issue and do in fact find their presence soothing in a way.

    Nowhere is it written that seniors automatically reach and pass a sell-by date. For whatever it may be worth (probably nothing at today’s exchange rates), I’m 76 and still proud possessor of a full bag of marbles. Hmm… can marbles be used as a weapon?

    I’m getting bored now and so will leave those interested to carefully consider and – who knows? – perhaps even follow their own advice. The only post in which I’ll be interested for the rest of the day will be the one that, hopefully, will deliver some computer parts I ordered online.

    But beware: I may have BROCCOLI for dinner!

  16. I am currently reading Insanity Fair, by Douglas Reed, former Times European Correspondent. It was published in 1938 and provides a fascinating insight into the lead up to the Second World War. I tend to put more faith in the veracity of works that are written and published without the benefit of hindsight. You can download the book here. https://archive.org/details/InsanityFair_398/page/n170

    The reason I mention it is that I came across this passage, written in 1937 while he is attending a League of Nations conference on the situation concerning the Dardanelles. He writes from Geneva.

    “Switzerland remains, for me, one of the most inspiring countries in Europe, a citadel of neutrality, where men can only be roused to patriotic enthusiasm for that ideal. Every one of them will fight for neutrality and for nothing else. Every one of them is a citizen soldier and takes his gun home with him. Think of that, you dictatorship states. Would you trust your population with arms? In Switzerland, you feel at peace. Here no moron wants to ‘make history’. I thought when I was there of my hard-faced Prussian acquaintance in Magdeburg, who contemptuously said, ‘We Prussians have no use for a Swiss paradise of fat flocks and prosperity’. Well, it was good enough for me, and I wish myself a long, long sojourn, one of these days, at Montreux, on Lake Geneva.”

    While I have no hard and fast opinions on gun control, I think he makes a valid point about the attitude that the Swiss have to their guns. They will be used for a specific and justified purpose and nothing else. I grew up with guns and their safe use was ingrained in me. I have never owned one as an adult and have no particular desire to do so. I think, that if the gun owning public in the US and elsewhere are educated properly about the pros and cons of gun ownership and if they are required to pass some sort of test that covers not only their safe handling also their purpose then, I think most parties could be satisfied. I believe that after all is what was intended by the 2nd Amendment.

  17. Thank you, Sipu. I wasn’t familiar with that Douglas Reed book but now think it’s something I ought to read.

    Switzerland is so unique that I admit I hadn’t thought of them in this context. Now that I do so, I recall two Swiss gentlemen once telling me that not only are the men of sound body “citizen soldiers” but their Government also provides them with rifles, which they are expected to keep safe and maintained ready for use. If they want, say, to go hunting, they buy a second rifle for themselves.

    I don’t know about those Brown Swiss cattle, though: they’re a rather large breed that could no doubt do serious damage with their noxious gases.

    I myself own two rifles (no handguns), a British Enfield and a Russian-designed/Yugoslavian -made SKS, myself, both bought as semicollectable WW II militaria that interested me. As it’s been years now since I even took them out of the case, I don’t think I qualify as a gun nut. I did, however, drive my car today for 40 miles or so and hope that’s not enough to be seen as a practice run for driving into a crowd.

    Education alone may not totally do the trick, although it would certainly give people a better way of looking at guns. But nothing, I fear, short of mass candling of brains seems likely to protect us from the crazies out there. As for the Second Amendment, its reference to “a well-regulated Militia” has apparently been conveniently forgotten by said crazies.

    Finally, a word about background checks. This country has become so paranoid about opioid abuse that such an investigation is now required before having a legitimate prescription filled. My wife’s dentist prescribed some heavy-duty pain killers for a serious tooth problem but she couldn’t collect them from the pharmacy until the following day, after a quick background check had been done. I can only wonder to what extent this kind of thing diverts valuable resources from gun ownership background checks. Also, what kind of government wants to make its decent law-abiding citizens suffer (except perhaps at tax time)?

  18. Good evening/morning Cog. Despite his years as a correspondent, I find that Reed’s writing is not the easiest to read. His sentences are sometimes too complex. In his sequel, Disgrace, not to be confused with a novel of the same name by J M Coetzee, Reed states that Insanity Fair was published in such a rush that there had not been sufficient time for proper editing. Nevertheless, for the most part it is extremely prescient, though he does get a couple of things very wrong, I imagine because he could not anticipate the true extent of the horrors that were about to befall Europe.

    With regards to education, this chap is somewhat sceptical about its benefits. https://www.takimag.com/article/bullets-from-heaven/ David Cole is a controversial fellow, but he writes well and presents an interesting alternative to the left-leaning MSM. His mention of a ‘resbian rover’ made me chuckle.

    And finally, you may have read this article about the Sackler family. I imagine this may shed some light as to why the US is getting so strict on the dispensing of opioids.
    https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/10/30/the-family-that-built-an-empire-of-pain/amp

  19. Sipu: Thanks again. Sentences too complex? Sounds like my kind of guy. Sorry, but I won’t get to follow the links you included until later or possibly even tomorrow; I’m about to set off for the dentist (my just reward for being a sick deviant?)

    I will say that doctors and dentists here have become extremely reluctant to write prescriptions for opiods. My GP even has a sign posted in his reception area saying, “Don’t even bother asking,” or something to that effect.

    I’ll also say that, while I haven’t yet gone through the national news in any detail, I’ve seen that one of the top items is about somebody (in Rhode Island, I think) driving his truck into a crowd. Nothing about gun crime (or cow crime) jumped out at me, though.

  20. Very few societies and come up with proactive legislation. We rarely know what happens, what can happen, until it happens. Most societies are also led by clowns who could not, even by the most charitable, be described as mediocre. This leaves us with only reactive legislation. There are always issues with reactive legislation. The first is the tendency to go overboard. Look at New Zealand, for example. One nutter goes mad and the entire country’s firearms legislation is redrafted with little thought put into potential compliance and enforcement, especially after the initial wave of hysteria subsides. The United States is not immune to that. The Democrats and Republicans alike have proven themselves adept at over-correction, legislative pettiness and parliamentary grand-standing.

    It’s easy to forget that the man who did more to sell semi-automatic rifles was not Wayne LaPierre or Ted Nugent, but Barack Obama. Even the discussion of restricting gun ownership or regulating certain types of firearms leads to an almost immediate surge in their sale. Few Americans take issue with background checks, few Americans take issue with taking guns from the mentally unstable. What many have rightly pointed out is that new legislation is pointless because existing legislation is not effectively enforced. Most shooters were known problem cases. In many instances, law enforcement had been warned about them, sometimes several times and by several people. They failed to act. Far more could be achieved by closing loopholes in existing legislation and enforcing existing laws consistently.

    Those that want to kill will always find a way. There are parts of Britain where people risk becoming a human pincushion. Nutters in Sweden, France and Germany have shown what they can do with a van. Improvised bombs can be deadly in crowded places. Imagine a shrapnel-filled bomb going off at Waterloo Station, Grand Central Station, Union Station, or Sydney Central.

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