Mass killings seem to be about as common in Europe as they are in the U.S. on a per capita basis, but the shattered language structure of Europe and the general head-up-the-ass chauvinism that is common to all people everywhere wants this to be an "American" phenomenon and never mind the facts.
- Anders Behring Breivik killed 77 in Norway
- Michael Ryan killed 17 people in Hungerford, England.
- Robert Steinhauser killed 17 in Germany.
- Pekka-Eric Auvinen killed 9 near Helsinki.
- Thomas Hamilton killed 18 in Scotland.
- Matti Saari killed another 11 in Finland.
- Derrick Bird shot 23 and killed 12 in Cumbria.
- Tristan van der Vlis killed 7 in Netherland.
- Nordine Armani killed five and wounded 121 in Belgium.
- Tim Kretschmer killed 16 and wounded 11 in Germany.
And I am not even trying!
What America has more of than Europe is drug-related killings and incarcerations.
If anyone wants to argue that the "war on drugs" has been done all wrong, I will agree, and I have written a little about that!
But is our rate of violent crime worse that Britain's?
No. In fact, as The Daily Mail itself notes, Britain is the most violent country in Europe, and is even "worse than South Africa and the U.S."
Whoa! No wonder the entire country is netted up in closed circuit television with facial recognition software in full force! It's 1984, and no kind of evil could ever come from that, could it?
While we have drug dealers killing each other in Watts, Detroit, and South Philly, the Europeans sniff that they are not nearly so barbaric.
Instead, like civilized people they take away each other's guns and then herd entire train cars full of people into concentration camps. Fresh-dug ditches for the sheep. How many millions did that kill, again?
Which is not to say that America does not need a decent dose of "time, place and manner" laws when it comes to certain people and certain guns in certain locations.
Perhaps we can start the conversation by agreeing that a loaded Bazooka at the airport waiting lounge might be a bad thing?
But let's not kid outselves. It's already illegal to take guns to schools, and there are already laws governing gun sales to crazy people and to criminals.
Are there some loopholes that need to be closed?
Are there some weapons that I think can and should reasonably be banned?
Sure. And I will include the Bush Master .223 on that list -- the main gun used in the Newtown, Connecticut murders. Let's have that discussion, but if you want to know what caliber my shotgun is, maybe you should not talk too much while we are having it, eh?
As for the notion that you can simply wave a magic wand and get rid of "assault weapons" (whatever those are) that's just ignorance.
The simple truth is that you do not need a Bush Master .223 to inflict mayhem and mass carnage on a population.
The Glock handgun that is used by the FBI and most police departments, for example, is also the weapon of choice for a lot of civilians looking for a home protection piece.
There are millions of these guns in this county, and they can all be fitted with a $40 aftermarket clip extension that will give the shooter 33 rounds per clip (more than the number of bullets in Lunatic Lanza's Bushmaster).
This is not a "special assault weapon" -- this is a regular, off-the-shelf pistol of the kind owned by millions of people. Ban the clip? Do you have any idea how easy it would be to make one? Not hard!
And guess who carried a Glock to his massacre? Not only the lunatic who shot up two rooms of first graders in Newtown, Connecticut, but also the lunatic who shot up Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and several others, and also the lunatic who shot up the Virginia Tech campus, and also the lunatic who shot up the Aurora, Colorado movie theatre.
And guess what?
All those guns were legal, same as gasoline is legal.
Yes, gasoline. You see, the single largest intentional mass killing of people that I know about was not gun-related at all. It was done by a lunatic (that word again!) in Korea who killed 198 people on two trains with nothing more than a gallon of petrol.
So killing mass numbers of people, it seems, is not hard to do.
And it is not particularly American.
If you don't believe me, ask any Tutsi in Rwanda, or the families of those who met Ahmed Ibragimov, Woo Bum-kon, William Unek, Martin Bryant, or Kumatarō Kido on their last day on earth.
No, it turns out mass shootings are pretty common all over, and as common in Europe as they are in the U.S. -- and that's true even when we leave off that inconvenient and rude bit about all the dead that showed up in ditches after their guns were first taken away. That could never happen again, right? And never mind that it is happening every day, all across the world. Never mind that -- we have closed circuit television now. That will keep us safe from the things that go bump in the night.