Historians are re-considering the events that led to the birth of the United States. While the colonists’ displeasure at taxation without representation still lies at the center of the split from British control, historians are beginning to recognize the Brits’ efforts to confiscate guns and gunpowder as a (if not the) critical component of the colonists’ radicalization. What’s clear: the Second Amendment was written in the aftermath of British gun control as a prophylactic against a repeat performance by the newly formed federal government. All of which means it’s galling beyond imagination to read this in the UK’s left-leaning Guardian newspaper . . .
That’s America, we say, as news of the latest massacre breaks – last week it was the slaughter of 12 people by Aaron Alexis at Washington DC’s navy yard – and move on. But what if we no longer thought of this as just a problem for America and, instead, viewed it as an international humanitarian crisis – a quasi civil war, if you like, that calls for outside intervention? As citizens of the world, perhaps we should demand an end to the unimaginable suffering of victims and their families – the maiming and killing of children – just as America does in every new civil conflict around the globe.
So a member of Britain’s disarmed intelligentsia—one Henry Porter [above]—reckons it’s time for “the world” to interfere with Americans’ natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms. Other than say FOAD (again), I’d like to point out that the UK suffers more violent crime per head of population than the United States. While comparisons are difficult (given the way crime stats are gathered) politifact.com recently took a stab at it (so to speak):
For England and Wales, we added together three crime categories: “violence against the person, with injury,” “most serious sexual crime,” and “robbery.” This produced a rate of 775 violent crimes per 100,000 people.
For the United States, we used the FBI’s four standard categories for violent crime that Bier cited. We came up with a rate of 383 violent crimes per 100,000 people.
Whether or not Mr. Porter accepts the facts of the matter, and I bet he won’t, I’d like to posit a simple question: how dare you judge us?
While you may consider yourself a “citizen of the world,” you are, in fact, a subject of the Queen. Your country does not have a written constitution. Your natural rights—such as free speech and self-defense—are not enshrined in law. No surprise, then, that they’re disappearing before your eyes. You no longer have an unfettered right to remain silent. Your Army can commandeer private property and plop a missile battery on the roof. You live in most surveilled country on planet earth. Etc.
The annual toll from firearms in the US is running at 32,000 deaths and climbing, even though the general crime rate is on a downward path (it is 40% lower than in 1980). If this perennial slaughter doesn’t qualify for intercession by the UN and all relevant NGOs, it is hard to know what does.
Setting aside the fact that suicides account for roughly half of all U.S. firearms-related deaths (mentioned at the link but strangely missing from your polemic), and that gang bangers account for at least half of the remaining half, how about you organize a champagne socialist brigade and invade U.S. hospitals? According to propublica.org, medical malpractice claims some 210 thousand lives per year in the U.S.
We’re both joking, of course. Ish. Only it’s not funny, is it? Not for you, who sees U.S. gun rights as a deadly anachronism. Or me, who sees your failure to grasp the lessons of history as a sign that your once great nation is falling prey to the same sort of deadly tyranny that our countries joined forces to defeat.
Half the country is sane and rational while the other half simply doesn’t grasp the inconsistencies and historic lunacy of its position, which springs from the second amendment right to keep and bear arms, and is derived from English common law and our 1689 Bill of Rights. We dispensed with these rights long ago, but American gun owners cleave to them with the tenacity that previous generations fought to continue slavery. Astonishingly, when owning a gun is not about ludicrous macho fantasy, it is mostly seen as a matter of personal safety, like the airbag in the new Ford pick-up or avoiding secondary smoke, despite conclusive evidence that people become less safe as gun ownership rises . . .
Talking to American friends, I always sense a kind of despair that the gun lobby is too powerful to challenge and that nothing will ever change. The same resignation was evident in President Obama’s rather lifeless reaction to the Washington shooting last week. There is absolutely nothing he can do, which underscores the fact that America is in a jam and that international pressure may be one way of reducing the slaughter over the next generation. This has reached the point where it has ceased to be a domestic issue. The world cannot stand idly by.
Heads up Hank: screw your stats (which don’t bear proper scrutiny). More to the point, we, The People of the Gun, are the American gun lobby. The NRA and all the rest of the political activists speaking on our behalf do so because we agree with their agenda: to defend and extend our right to keep and bear arms in order to protect the way of life envisioned by our founding fathers.
Not only can you stand idly by while we determine our own fate according to our own values and our written Constitution, but you will. Thanks to the blood of American patriots we control our own destiny. As long as Americans cherish their right to keep and bear arms, you will never ever have that power again.
So lie back and think of England Henry, as the guardians of liberty get on with it. For your sake as well as ours. [h/t Pascal]