Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Why Can't the Americans Be More European?

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? 
And it's not ancient history, is it?  Bosnia is only the most recent example, and it's not going to be the last I'll bet.

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 KumatarĊ 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.


Karen said...

Because I *had* to know, I did a little checking regarding mass killings and found this nifty little wiki which lists all the rampage killings worldwide and what kind of weapon(s) were used.


Since the first recorded event in 1898, the US has had 124 mass killings that have involved guns and 9 mass killings that involved weapons like a bomb, knife, sword etc

Since the first recorded event in 1922, Canada had 7 mass killings that involved guns & 2 that involved "other" weapons.

Since the first recorded event in 1856 Europe (Germany, UK, France, Spain, Belgium, Austria, Italy, Russia, Switzerland, Finland, Sweden, Poland, Bosnia, Croatia, Netherlands, Serbia and probably a few more I missed) had 90 mass killings that involved guns and 33 mass killings that involved other weapons

Per capita the US is the king of mass killings using guns. Now that I now the facts, Canada is no treat, either.

I'm not anti-US and I'm certainly not anti-gun. I'm still not convinced that banning or restricting guns will solve this problem. Aside from a few nuts, Americans are responsible gun owners.

What I really want to know is why, with the exception of a few guys, do young white males "go off" and exhibit such a disregard & disrespect for human life?

Richard Gilbert said...

As you know, Patrick, widely available assault weapons are why our law enforcement officers are now armed with military grade pistols that make their old standby, the .38 special revolver, look like a quaint toy. Paging Andy of Mayberry.

Guns don’t kill, people do, goes the gun lobby trope. But I can’t help but wonder if anything like this would have happened had Mrs. Lanza had been a dog nerd instead of a gun nut. Say she had six dogs and had involved young Adam with her in Labrador retriever rescue work. Fact is, people need people, but dogs are about as good. And she and Adam and the other Lab fanatics would have had their own little society, helpful, harmless, and happy. He’d have had canine buddies and human contact beyond his mother. This is the loving alternative I picture.

Because a dog says one thing to a troubled kid; a Bushmaster .223 assault rifle says another.

PBurns said...

Karen, as you know, Wikepedia is a crowd-sourced thing and not always accurate or complete as a result. Very useful at times, but a menace at others. For example, the term "mass murder" is a bit problematic. If you look it up in Guiness book of World Records, Mao and Stalin get nods.

Also, this list leaves off a LOT. For example, did you note the note which said "Not included are school massacres, workplace killings, hate crimes or familicides, which form their own categories." Eh?!

The link you list compares "the Americas" with Europe but you have to click a bit to discover that "the Americas" covers all of North and South America (910 million people) as compared to all of Europe (739 million people). SO when they note 117 "incidents" in "the Americas" and 99 in Europe, you have to make some adjustments for relative population size. But, of course, that assumes all the data is there and that is almost certainly not true. For example, are all the mass shootings counted in Latin America? Not a chance. Ditto in the Soviet Union and much of Communist Europe.

PBurns said...

Agree with you Richard! Kids need dogs not weapons. Also (and let me just say it). Lanza's mother not only left an arsenal of unlocked weapons and ammunition at the house, she also spent a hell of a lot of time on a stool at the bar.

PBurns said...

Lunatics have always been with us.

Read about THIS guy.


Killed 43 other people, including 38 children.

No semi-autos involved.


Seahorse said...

I was troubled by the post left on a friend's Face Book wall by some friend of his. The poster said he'd recently given his 9 year old son a Ruger for his birthday. He went on to say the kid "would have known what to do with it" had he been at the school shooting last week. A Ruger, not a dog, or a train set or a cool bike. A fucking Ruger. Yeah, let's lay THAT responsibility at the feet of Rambo's nine year old kid. Jesus.


Rick said...

Years ago, I asked a friend of mine, a cop who had done research on just this subject, if we indeed were more prone to mass murder in this country. He said no, that in other countries with strict gun laws they just use more clubs and knives.

Marie said...

I just don't understand the gun mentality I guess. Amassing guns? I don't understand that either, and the NRA's answer to all the mass killings is by arming more people? It's a world gone mad in my book. I don't for a minute have a problem with people having guns for hunting. I do mind people stocking up for the zombie apocalypse with every assault weapon they can get their hands on. Is a ban on assault weapons the answer? Don't know, the last one didn't work well because it still left millions of them out on the streets and perfectly legal to resell. Criminals with guns? Well hell yeah, there are so many guns out there and so many "gun shows" where nobody gets a background check, it's a world gone mad. I stared evil in the face today, and it's name was Wayne LaPierre.

PBurns said...

Today Wayne LaPierre made the NRA a laughing stock and killed his organization's brand on Capitol Hill. An absolute idiot and now someone that no one ever has to listen to or pay attention to again. The second amendment is safe, but the NRA died as a political force today.

Seahorse said...

Maybe things are getting a little better, idiots falling slowly, one by one. First, Romney, then Norquist, now LaPierre. Here's hoping that cooler, smarter hands are in the wheel house.


Richard Goth said...

Regarding the NRA, I think the resignation letter of George Bush Snr was the writing on the wall for their downfall:

"I was outraged when, even in the wake of the Oklahoma City tragedy, Mr. Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of N.R.A., defended his attack on federal agents as "jack-booted thugs." To attack Secret Service agents or A.T.F. people or any government law enforcement people as "wearing Nazi bucket helmets and black storm trooper uniforms" wanting to "attack law abiding citizens" is a vicious slander on good people."


Marie said...

And today 4 firemen were shot and 2 killed while responding to a house fire in upstate NY. Yeah, we all need more a-holes with more guns Mr LaPierre.