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“There are other countries in the world prone to natural disaster, but what distinguishes the Philippines, and has made the delivery of aid even more problematic after Typhoon Haiyan, is the prevalence of guns,” Alex Spillius asserts at Really? “Whatever the causes of the pervasive gun culture and high murder rate, the reports of armed looting that emerged two or three days after Haiyan struck surprised no one. Even if some reports were exaggerated, the Philippines’ reputation for poor law and order preceded it.” Hmmm. “Even if some reports were exaggerated.” That kind of waffling triggers alarm bells for bloggers looking for the truth about guns in the post-Cyclone Philippines. Proof? Yes, about that . . .

The army and police have sent reinforcements to control Tacloban, the worst affected city, leading Mr Roxas to declare today that looting had been stopped.

But Jericho Petilla, the energy secretary, said of Ormoc, another city in Leyte province: “On Saturday, Ormoc city was still under control. Now there is no control.”

Ferry passengers were reportedly being held up by armed men on arrival at the port, he admitted.

On Monday, the head of the United Nations’ disaster assessment team in Tacloban said he would not deploy an aid convoy without a military escort. On Tuesday that process was still in its early stages.

Spillius is looking at the situation from afar, though the eyes of a jobbing journo working in a “civilized” country—in this case a proto-police state (the most surveilled nation on planet earth). So when Alex hears a government agent say government troops have stopped looting and restored order he’s hearing the song This is How We Do It in his head.

I’m not saying that military force doesn’t stop looting, I’m saying that in the absence of government troops, armed civilians stop looting. Effectively. And to be able to do that law-abiding citizens need to be armed. Which they are in the Philippines. So . . . result! But just you missed the hidden bias in Alex’s anti-gun reporting—in the Conservative Telegraph no less—here’s Alex again.

The difficulties in distributing aid showed how, nearly 70 years after independence, central government has yet to impose itself fully throughout the archipelago of 80 provinces and dozens of languages and consequently struggles to cope and coordinate with the disaster of the scale wrought by Typhoon Haiyan.

Yeah, that’s what we want! Central government imposing itself fully throughout the Philippines 80 provinces! Do these guys even hear what they’re saying? Nope. All the more reason we Americans need to cling to our guns and our religion like grim death. Or face same.

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  1. The problem with taking an anti-gun stance here, even if the reports are entirely correct, is that there’ll always be armed criminals–and those are the people who’ll be holding up the food convoys. Considering that after several days the people whose job it is (supposedly) to establish law and order have been unwilling or unable to do so, the only hope the citizens in the afflicted areas have of staying alive and unharmed is to be armed themselves. It really baffles me how this simple point is so hard to get across.

  2. “in the absence of government troops, armed civilians stop looting.”

    And the problem with government troops is that when they are not absent, they are present.

    It must be remembered that the US military (generally trusted and trustworthy) is the historical exception. Throughout most of history, the arrival of government troops meant the looting of your pantries, coffers, and daughters. This is still the case in much of the world.

        • Agreed. I believe the same could be said about the BoR as a whole. Each one is designed to limit government control over a free people. Take any one away and the rest will fall. The 2nd just happens to be the only one that gives “the people” their own “checks and balances” against a failed system… which, I’m sure you would agree, is why the 2nd is attacked so much by those in power.

    • Historically the Americans didn’t loot, but there is good evidence that American troops did take advantage(rape) of European women quite a bit during ww2. I’m not saying it was rampant, but it did happen and supposedly more often than it did with German soldiers. If I remember correctly it came from the pushing of ideas by the military on troops that European women where exotic, and a bit loose with their sexuality. I don’t remember the source, so you can take it with a grain of salt.

      • The Russians were very bad with captured women and lest we forget the Germans had their little camps where far worse than rape was done to women.

  3. I lived in the Philippines for almost a year. In the province away from the big cities there is very little law enforcement. People own guns for their personal protection legal or not. I saw a guy at a pool with an M-16A2 that he packed around in the mountains. There were still some commie groups operating in this area.

  4. I’ve been to the Philippines. To imply that there is any maturity among its people, or organization to its government is to show you’ve never been there. The place is lawless.

    I’ve been listening to people from there complaining on the radio that more hasn’t been done to help them. I heard a professor from Amherst blaming everything wrong in the Philippines on the US. Apparently our fifty years owning them undid the centuries of Spanish colonialism.

    I feel bad for them, but I won’t be blackmailed to feel bad for them. They could have remained a territory of the US. They could have let us continue to use the military bases we had there. But they decided to go it alone, and then kicked us out. And now it’s all our fault.

    I hope we can help a lot of them out. It’s a shame that they are still backwards. It’s slanderous that they blame everyone but themselves.

    • Our time spent in the phillipines after the Spanish American war was no picnic for anyone. American troops operated several concentration camps and mass killings of their own all while also building roads, schools, and telegraph wire. Our occupations there or Haiti, or elsewhere have been as equally imperial as England or Germany. Doesn’t exhonerate the phillipine government but there is some reality to what the prof says. Granted there was also a horrible Japanese occupation since then.

  5. What I don’t understand is the notion that guns make people bad, or that if these same looters didn’t have guns, they’d be great citizens. Where does this mystical power of the gun come from? Reminds me of comments on the 40 people of the gun at the mda meeting (of all 4 members) that said, “what’s keeping those armed people from flipping out and shooting everyone?”

    • If these same looters didn’t have guns, and the lootees also didn’t have guns, the looters would take care of business with machetes. That’s how it works.

  6. I believe there’s been a bit of an armed rebel presence in the Philippines since, at least, 1911? That could account for some tiny part of the lawlessness there, no?

  7. 146 years ago when Typhoon Angela devistated the islands there was massive looting and armed robbery with bow and arrow, clubs, spears, and blowguns with poison darts. Damn that prevasive weapon culture.

  8. I posted a pic of a store owner securing his property with a gun in TTAG’s FB page. But yeah. Lawless elements are amuck out there right now, taking advantage of the situation. Doesn’t help that the NPA commies decided to screw around.

  9. government troops have stopped looting

    This sentence was kinda amusing. During a firefight with Moro guerrillas in September, government troops were caught looting, and some of them were captured.

    So government troops may be stopping others from looting (which I think is what you meant), because there’s only so much loot to go around. But they themselves probably haven’t stopped looting. It’s considered a fringe benefit.

  10. They speak of the “prevalence of guns”, but the Phillippines has mandatory registration for all firearms, and only 0.86 registered firearms per 100 people. That’s about one-quarter the rate of the United Kingdom.

    Note, however, that when you add in illicitly owned guns, that rate rises to 4.7 firearms per 100 people. For every gun legally owned by a law-abiding civilian in the Philippines, there are 4-5 that are owned by criminals.


    • For every gun legally owned by a law-abiding civilian in the Philippines, there are 4-5 that are owned by criminals.

      And how many of those criminals’ only crime is disobeying the gun laws (for the protection of themselves and their families)?

    • So what the Philippines and this hurricane are showing us is the complete failure of gun control — i.e., highly restrictive anti-gun laws — to achieve anything whatsoever. And the extent to which the media establishment will go to protect its cherished shibboleths.

      Unless increasing the sum of human misery is an element in their equations. If that’s what they’re after, it’s kind of working.

      • Increasing the sum of human misery is what they are about. The statist collectivists which to redistribute the wealth (skimming heavily off the top) so that the richest and poorest share the same situation. If this resulted in everyone on earth doing well, so much so good. The problem is that it doesn’t bring the very poor up to middle class standards, it reduces everyone to poverty. So yes, they wish to increase the sum of human misery.

        • “Increasing the sum of human misery is what they are about. The statist collectivists which to redistribute the wealth (skimming heavily off the top) so that the richest and poorest share the same situation.”

          Which Mothership dropped YOU off? “Statist collectivists” are not about “sharing” any wealth AT ALL. They’re “useful idiots” of the International Banking Cartel; the same thing occurred during the Russian Revolution. What turnip truck you were on said, RICH SHARE WITH POOR? HOW MANY RINGS FROM SUN? Which rich are you noticing getting ONE CENT poorer, or poor getting RICHER?

          I’ve taught REPTILES to be smarter than that.

          Jesus CHRIST! If you were in front of me, I’d SMACK you in the face with a WOODEN SPOON of mine, covered with SPICY, DELICIOUS SPAGHETTI SAUCE.

  11. I was born and raised in the Philippines. Specifically, in the city of Cebu, one of the hardest hit areas. In fact, I still have relatives there. At the same time, I echo some of the sentiments of several posters in this forum. It is not a majority of the Filipinos that are blaming the US. It’s only a small minority. Just imagine the anger they are going through now…if you can recall Katrina, I surmise that the Filipinos that are affected are going through much similar frustrations and anger especially on the governments’ ineffectiveness. At that point, I would blame anybody that is somebody who is not helping. I don’t think at this point that they care about guns. All they wan’t is shelter and food.

    • I think what they really want is shelter and food, and enough guns to make sure no one can take those things away from them.

      • if you expect the governments of the world to step up in a organized, timely fashion to provide aid, don’t hold your breath…..

      • I have lost confidence in the Filipino government long ago…despite the progress made over the last several years. It’s still quid-pro-quo.

        • Understood. Thanks.

          What was it about the Filipino Government that led you to contemplate confidence or “faith” in the first place?

          Innocent inquiry!

    • I like the Philippines and have a lot of family members living there. Apparently I had a number of relatives (three brothers that were my Great uncles) that join the Navy back in the early 20th century and were stationed at Subic Bay, one thing lead to another and….

  12. I spent two years in the PI as a Peace Corps volunteer, so I may have some insight into the countries (gun) culture. For the most part, the only “regular” people who had registered guns were rich business men and those who held political office (ie. rich business men). The rest of the guns were in the hands of private security (for rich business men), police, military, NPA in the north and central Visayas, the MILF (not what you think) in the south, and criminals everywhere. When regular people had disagreements, usually over karaoke (I’m not joking), they hacked each other to death with bolos (machetes).

  13. The Philippines is 105th in the world in gun ownership. That’s far lower than such gun culture paradises as Denmark(54th) and Germany(15th).

    Maybe there’s other things behind the murder rate than ‘gun culture’?

    • They can’t really point to gun LAWS because theirs are so restrictive. They know the problem is culture, but the gun control narrative demands that, one way or another, guns must be the problem. Hence, it must be gun culture, no matter how few guns are actually involved.

  14. Seems to me that the correct words would be “Violent Criminals Hinder Relief Efforts”.

    But that wouldn’t fit the narrative, would it?

  15. You cannot apply your cultural values and behaviors to another culture. That is comparing apples to oranges.

    I have been to the Philippines (mainly Manila and the surrounding area)and have friends that live there. From my understanding, it is difficult to obtain a license to own a firearm. Even if you have a license, you are restricted in types and calibers.

    Outside of the metro area there is a lot of extremist groups and little in the way of law enforcement. Even in the Manila area you see law enforcement and armed private security everywhere. Convenience stores, businesses, even the hotels I have stayed at had security to check vehicles as they entered. Metal detectors are at entrances to malls and other places.

    It is not a gun culture that causes the issues. It is extremists and the regional challenges that cause the issues. Try shipping something in or out of the Philippines without bribing someone or paying for safe passage. It is corruption in the government (individuals and old cultural mores) in some instances. Granted, it has improved tremendously over the years but there are still challenges.

    The people are desperate and lack leadership in many cases. They distrust the government and officials. This is the cause. Many different and opposing forces. Not “gun culture”. If anything the gun culture may be helping in many circumstances.

  16. Caught this this morning on Drudge. BTW kudos to RF for keeping up on Drudge, this is the second posting today I saw already on Drudge (not being sarcastic, if there’s one site you should hit every day other than TTAG it’s Drudge). This guy lost me when he admitted that there are only 4.7 firearms per 100 people in the Philippines, which (according to Wikipedia) ranks them just behind China and Cuba and just ahead of Afghanistan and Taiwan in gun ownership. This tells me everything I need to know about the “gun culture” of the Philippines – there’s 4% of the population with guns and 96% that wish they had them to defend themselves from the 4%.

    • If the PI has 4.7 guns per person and ranks ahead of Afghanistan according to Wikki then the wikkipeidans have been at the crack pipe again. The US alone imported more guns than that into Afghanistan in the 70’s and 80’s . Count the arms that the Soviets sent to the Afghan government that were subsequently lost, and all the arms that the Soviet army ceded to the rebels either in battle or upon their withdraw and there are more rifles than people in Afghanistan. It’s just that no one bothers to register their weapons. No one has allegiance to the central government and each tribal group distrusts the other. In the border markets with Pakistan full auto AK-47s can be had for about $35 US. It’s ludicrous to believe that there are so few weapons in Afghanistan. If one looks at the numbers imported by various means it’s more than double the 4.7 per hundred number. What happened to all these guns?

      Furthermore, if the Afghans defeated the Red Army with a saturation of 4.7 guns per 100 people, what the heck were we afraid of during the cold war, clearly the Soviet army was useless.

      Don’t believe everything that you read on the internet. . . it makes for some really screwy conclusions.

      • Yea, I would expect Afghanistan to rank a bit higher. The Wikipedia stats seem to be properly sourced from something called the ‘Geneva Graduate Institute of International Studies. “Small Arms Survey 2007″‘. Can’t personally vouch for their credibility, although this seems to be the source of the number thrown out in the Telegraph article.

        I think the ownership rates in some of these countries comes down to median income. I had heard somewhere that a large percentage of Filipinos live on $2 a day which will probably buy you a modest place to live and food to eat there, but an Armscor 1911 is still $400 whether you live in the Philippines or the USA. This puts a firearm as out of reach for most Filipinos (or Afghans) as a Lamborghini is for us.

    • Gov: Yeah, all sites have issues, but Drudge has been near the top for over a decade, and I check it every day. Usually more than once, but it tends to be my last stop before bed an usually insomnia.

      You should note that Drudge and Alex Jones cross-link nearly every day; check for yourself. Everything at either site can be cross-verified across the Interwebs. No one should expect every little detail to check out across the vast data spectrum. If you expect that, you just got dropped here in the past ten years.

      CALL HOME. This is no place for illusions.

      • Drudge doesn’t get a billion page views a month for nothing. I do kind of cringe when they link up to Info-wars though. AJ may be right on, but he’s way too emotional and conspiratorial for me.

        • Gov.: People who see their rights and way of life being taken out both doors, in full daylight, may sometimes be permitted to get “emotional”. Like if it were your personal home, just f’rinstance. Say.

          People who agree on things should be expected to have differing emotional-level responses; I know what you’re saying, and I’m guessing you know mine.

          Just sayin’: Grand Theft America might elicit extreme responses, sometimes. I dunno. Should any less be expected to work? (shrug)

          I know where I stand. Every morning (or whenever) I get up. Good to hear your views.

        • I became aware that we are not a free people as a teenager 30 years ago. I remember taking driver’s ed and the teacher asked us if we thought it was legal to drive in your bare feet. Now why on earth would it be illegal to drive a car without shoes?!? Who would vote for such a stupid law? Most of the class assumed it was illegal, it was in fact not. But the thing that stuck with me is that by the age of 15 we’ve been brainwashed into assuming the most inane laws exist, even when they don’t. The problem isn’t America, the problem is that there will always be 2 classes of people, the class that wants others to leave them the fv#k alone, and the class that can’t seem to mind their own damn business. I belong to the former. But I have no delusions about how the world works.

          So that’s where Alex Jones loses me. I don’t want to hear tears and lamentations about liberty lost. It was never ours in the first place. I just want to screw over those who can’t mind their own business.


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