Long life

I lived next to St Paul’s Cathedral as a baby in 1940 – it’s a miracle I am alive

Thousands of Londoners died in the Blitz; twice as many Americans are killed every year in gun-related incidents

5 September 2015

9:00 AM

5 September 2015

9:00 AM

While the Germans were raining bombs on London during the second world war, the architects’ department of London County Council was busy colouring in Ordnance Survey maps of the city to record which buildings had been destroyed and which had not. These maps have now been published as a book by Thames and Hudson, The London County Council Bomb Damage Maps, 1939-45. Those buildings that had been totally destroyed were coloured black on the maps; those that had been damaged beyond repair, purple. And a review of this book in last Saturday’s edition of the Times was accompanied by a reproduction of one map covering the area around St Paul’s Cathedral, which is exactly where I was residing as a baby during the autumn of 1940 when the Blitz of the City began.

My father had rented a flat in St Paul’s Churchyard in a building called Wren’s View which looked on to the front of the cathedral that Sir Christopher Wren had built. Dad chose it because it was only a short walk down Ludgate Hill to the Fleet Street offices of Reuters news agency, where he then worked, and because it was cheap (not surprisingly, given its highly dangerous location). The map shows how lucky I am to be alive. Large areas all around the cathedral were coloured purple, but Wren’s View was one of a small handful of buildings close to it that were not. It wasn’t unscathed, however. A blast from a bomb blew out its bottom two floors, but my parent’s flat was on the fourth floor. Apparently I slept through it all.

I have often wondered why my parents exposed me to such risk when so many East End children at that time were being evacuated for safety to the countryside, but I like to think it was because my mother couldn’t bear to be parted from her new baby. In any event, I emerged hale and hearty from the conflict that had cost some 17,000 London civilians their lives. That is an awful lot of deaths, but Londoners were unbowed, their spirit intact. This was one of the periods in our history of which we remain most proud.


But then, might not the Americans be even more stoic than we are? Every year, almost double the number of people that died in the London Blitz are killed in the United States by firearms, and few people turn a hair. The statistics about gun-related deaths in America are mind-boggling. It has been calculated that since 4 June 1968, when Bobby Kennedy was shot dead in the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, more Americans have died from gunfire in their home country than have died in all the wars in their history, including the War of Independence, the Civil War, both world wars, Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq. A total of 1,171,177 soldiers died in those wars; 1,384,171 in murders, suicides and other gun-related incidents.

The massacre in June at a church in Charleston, South Carolina, and last week’s shootings on air of two Virginia television journalists by a deranged former colleague (who had acquired his gun in response to the Charleston shootings) have revived demands for new gun controls, but these still seem unlikely to have any effect. Such is the political clout of the gun lobby and its opposition to any laws that might restrict Americans’ constitutional right to bear arms that Congress will probably once again shy away from doing anything.

Barack Obama has repeatedly pointed out that no other developed country has a record of gun violence even remotely approaching America’s, and has described Congress’s refusal to approve any measures that might help to keep guns out of the hands of crazy people as perhaps his greatest disappointment as president. He says he will go on battling for reform until he leaves the White House. But when lawmakers haven’t even agreed to insist that guns have trigger locks to stop children shooting each other, his prospects don’t look good.

There is probably no other issue that makes America seem so strange and remote to the British. Although guns are involved in the deaths of more than 33,000 people in America each year, and although the US homicide rate is seven times higher than that of Canada, the next rich country on the list, polls show that Americans are substantially less fearful of crime than we are. And we still like to think of ourselves as braver than them.

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    • Yvonne Stuart-Hargreaves

      Careful now love. You are in America and 23 times more likely to be murdered.

  • Yvonne Stuart-Hargreaves

    In the London of the Blitz 17,000 died in 8 months from a population of 7.5 million. One in every 325 people.
    In the USA 33,000 die per year out of 326 million. So one in 9,800 The Blitz was 30 times worse than the modern day USA.

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    • WTF

      The Blitz had early warnings more often than not, drive by shooting have no warning !

    • Jackthesmilingblack

      Suicide by cop, anybody?

  • Shorne

    Something that puzzles me is that there are numerous precedents for gun control in American history. The pro-gun lobby often looks back to so-called Wild West with its ethos of self-defence, not backing down etc for justifying its stance. However it was common for frontier towns to have what we might call by-laws forbidding the carrying of guns on the streets. If one takes as an example that iconic event of the West, the Gunfight at the OK Corral, (which should be ‘The Gunfight in the vacant lot next to Fly’s boarding house off Fremont Street’ but imagine trying to fit that on cinema marquees) whilst being the culmination of conflicts about money and power actually arose when the Earp faction went to disarm the other lot in accordance with a town ordinance.

  • Malcolm Knott

    Unfortunately the gun lobby have some powerful arguments. The most compelling, in my view, is that in practice gun laws only disarm law-abiding citizens. Criminals can always get hold of guns.

    • Adam Bromley

      It’s not a compelling argument at all. The state should have a monopoly of lethal force, not civilians. The idea that millions of untrained civilians carrying guns somehow makes the world safer is frankly insane. Americans like the rest of us, like to drink on weekends. Do you feel more or less safe knowing that drunk people have guns in their home, their car or on their person? It doesn’t even need to involve alcohol, people get angry, they act impulsively. Without a gun there’s a limit to how much harm they can do in a short space of time. With a gun, one squeeze of the trigger, life ended. Same calculation again, do you feel more or less safe knowing an enraged person in a physical confrontation with someone else has a gun?

      • grimm

        In London criminals (young black gang members particularly) are able to get hold of guns and use them to kill. Our gun control laws do not put a stop to this at all.

        For a law to be of any use it must be enforced effectively. Passing a gun control may give naive pacificists a sense of triumph but in reality it is probably no more than effective than a pious hope.

        • Adam Bromley

          There are around 600 murders a year in the UK, of which on average 60 are caused by guns. The US has around 16,000 homicides, with a population 5 times the size. So it’s murder rate is approximately 5 times higher per capita. According to the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime, 67% of those homicides in USA are caused by firearms. So if we compare those two statistics, 60 firearms homicides in UK versus 10200 firearms homicide in the US, adjusted for relative population size then the firearms homicide rate is 35 x higher in the United States.

          • Cincinnatus

            Demographics.
            The populations that comprise the UK and the USA are quite different.

          • Yvonne Stuart-Hargreaves

            Suicides are even higher.

          • Adam Bromley

            Not as high as Japan, but again handguns make it easier to kill yourself on the spur of the moment, true.

          • Jackthesmilingblack

            Generally speaking, suicides involve only one person.
            Jack, the Japan Alps Brit

          • Pioneer

            They are not caused by firearms. They are caused by people.

            There is a violent victim culture ( which has been deliberately created ) and a lot of criminals crossing the southern border at will.

          • WTF

            Meaningless twaddle unless you break out how the deaths occurred. How many were criminals, how many were accidents and if guns were unavailable murderers would resort to other methods just like the UK.

          • MC73

            How many were accidents? None, he quotes murder numbers.

            “if guns were unavailable murderers would resort to other methods” So your murder rate would still be 5 times that of the UK? I guess y’all are so violent that you’d beat each other to death with sticks if that was all that was available.

      • Chamber Pot

        Well if you think the state should have a monopoly of force you obviously trust the state more than I do.

        In the UK the state has a monopoly of force and has used it to take away your democracy.

        • MC73

          “In the UK the state has a monopoly of force and has used it to take away your democracy.”

          Explain please.

          Do you really think the US is some sort of libertarian paradise? It shafts its population as hard and as often as anywhere. You even have to pay US tax when you live overseas.

          Incidentally, just because a US citizen can keep a small armoury in his home does not mean he is free from the state. As has been pointed out elsewhere, US law enforcement and military has more and better guns.

          • Chamber Pot

            I think you know very well what I mean. The US has a written Constitution in which the right to bear arms is enshrined.

            I am not some starry eyed idealist and understand very well that the US has some serious problems but they have certain inalienable rights that we no longer enjoy.

      • Malcolm Knott

        Do you feel more or less safe knowing that criminals have guns and law-abiding citizens do not? Because that’s what happens if you pass laws which in practice can only be partially enforced.

        • MC73

          As Adam’s numbers show, in the UK one is five times less likely to be murdered overall and 35 times less likely to be shot.

          I no longer live in the UK but I’m guessing that makes him feel a lot safer.

        • Amgine

          Speaking from experience, my family have only been shot at by people with licenced guns – and this happens on a regular basis every winter. I’m law-abiding and so are the gun owners and yet – still they shoot at our home legally. To be fair, they’ve only actually managed to hurt one member of my family so far but, when they start shooting we all have to run for cover.

      • TomV

        Most gun homicides are done in the inner cities. Remove those numbers and the rate is not much different than those of European countries.

        • Blobfish

          Never understood this “inner cities”/”it’s only gangs” argument as a way of explaining-way the vast difference in gun-death rates between the US and every other rich country. Can every other country just discount crime committed by gang-members or in our most impoverished cities/areas?

          • Amgine

            At best the figures should be treated like for like. So compare the inner-cities of the USA with those in the UK or Germany etc and countryside with the countryside.

      • Pioneer

        “The state should have a monopoly of lethal force”

        I hope you are being ironic.

        Second amendment means the citizens protect themselves from the government.

        • polistra24

          No, that argument simply doesn’t work. The government has atom bombs and a million soldiers. We don’t. When the government decides to destroy a heretic, owning a gun makes things worse, not better. See Waco and Weaver.

          Using that argument devalues the GOOD argument for protecting yourself and your property from ordinary thugs.

      • WTF

        Of course its a compelling argument and if you banned gun ownership then home owners would be at the mercy of gun toting criminals. If, not when you can come up with a guaranteed way of removing guns from criminals, perhaps they could be banned but that will never happen.

      • Pacificweather

        I agree. SO19 are quiet dangerous enough without having more amateurs with guns on the street.

    • Jackthesmilingblack

      When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.

  • Colin

    “There is probably no other issue that makes America seem so strange and remote to the British.” To British sheep, perhaps.

    Most Americans have a healthy distrust of government, and rightly so. Most Americans value freedom, more so, it seems than we here in the UK. Most Americans take their constitution seriously, including the bit that refers to their right to bear arms.

    • Caractacus

      The constitutional right to bear arms is in case the US Government were ever to turn dictatorial, not to murder their fellow citizens.

    • MrJones

      The British media doesn’t report the full story so it’s not surprising Brits don’t get it.

      • Claire Smith

        Alot of us do, and more than we are given credit for.

        • MrJones

          it’s changed a bit since t’internet

    • MC73

      Jesus wept. Do you really think an M16 under the bed will stop the government screwing with you? Have you tried the “I’ve got an M16 under my bed” argument with the IRS?

      • Colin

        I know this is all a bit over your head, but…

        It’s all about who’s in charge, the people, or the government. In the UK, we’ve allowed the government, at all levels, to become far too powerful. Too many of our basic freedoms have been given up, salami slice, by salami slice. For example, we now have a police “service” that won’t respond to people trapped in a crashed car or to burglary, but, will fall over itself to destroy anyone evil enough to call somebody stupid or fat on twitter.

        I deplore gun crime, but I’m glad that some people see the bigger picture and are willing to fight for it.

        We here, in the UK, should look back at the time, just after the first world war, when the government was rightly terrified of the people, after having made such a gigantic mess of the peace and the economy. As a result, one of the biggest disarmaments of the civilian population took place. A few enlightened citizens opposed it. Sadly, the sheep went along with it. When world war two broke out, the only people in the UK with guns were gangsters, hence the ridiculous sight of the Home Guard, drilling with pitchforks and broom handles. The story goes that people in the USA donated thousands of guns to be used by the Home Guard.

  • cartimandua

    The melting pot is a lie. Americans are terribly afraid of other Americans. They are particularly afraid of those ethnic minorities whose criminality and gang violence
    is infamous.

  • Mystified Man

    The gun debate in America is a campaign dominated by emotional blackmail much like the current refugee debate in the UK. “Look at this poor kid who drowned on a beach”, “look at these people shot in the church”, “if you don’t agree with the policy I am advocating as a solution then you are all heartless b**tards”.

    The reason being is that if logic was used in either of these two debates then the politicians wouldn’t have a cat in hells chance of getting what they want. The media, largely supportive of said political solutions, know this so they resort to selective reporting and appeals to emotion.

    Look at the US and the strong correlation between an increase in legal gun ownership and decrease in property crime. Look at the gun murder rate in D.C, where guns are essentially illegal, compared to nearby counties. The percentage of gun homicides that are committed by criminal gangs (who aren’t exactly the kind of people to wait for their permits before they start shooting). The problem with guns in America is a problem of american cities, of the drug trade, and a problem with a very specific demographic of the american population. This is also a problem that goes back only a few decades not many.

    The migrant debate is the same. It is a political solution to a political problem; the largess of the European welfare state. Why cut spending when you can just import more and more of the young of the world to reduce the tax shortfall and keep that oh so precious (sarc) gross domestic product i.e total spending ticking up. Why bother to convince people that your big state solutions are the answer, when you can just import voters who are much less resistant to authoritarian rule.

    The american people are showing that some of them actually have a backbone when it comes to standing up to the encroachment of the state and it’s puppets.

    • colchar

      If guns prevented crime the U.S. would be the safest country in the western world. They don’t and it isn’t.

      • Mystified Man

        Straw man.

    • WTF

      Well said, inconvenient truths the lib**tards refuse to accept. In so many areas these ‘race baiters’ spread their lies whether its gun control, illegal immigration or political correctness by trying to label opponents as racist and bigots when in fact they are guilty of that themselves.

  • Icebow

    As regards handguns, this country has perhaps gone irrationally far in the opposite direction following Dunblane, when one cannot own even a .22 single shot target pistol.

    • ohforheavensake

      And we have a very low level of gun crime. Which is a good thing.

      • Icebow

        If you were a criminal, with ready access to higher-calibre semi-automatic weapons, for what reason would you buy a .22 single-shot pistol? Your comment is irrelevant to mine.

      • TomV

        The UK has a terrible crime rate and the homicide rate is about twice as high as Switzerland where guns are wide spread.

        • Yvonne Stuart-Hargreaves

          Have you been to Swizzland? They don’t kill you because it is a worse punishment to stay alive there.

          • TomV

            Yeah, a friend of mine is living in Switzerland. It’s a nice & very expensive country, from my point of view a little bit to calm and over regulated.

    • Jackthesmilingblack

      Dunblane and Hungerford happened not because there were too many guns in society, but because there were too few.
      Think about it.
      Jack, the Japan Alps Brit

      • Icebow

        That lunatic had a .357 magnum and some automatic, if memory serves. What has your comment to do with .22 single shot target pistols? Think about it.

        • Jackthesmilingblack

          Which lunatic are you referring to? If Michael Ryan, someone with a rifle could have easily taken him down from a top window.
          Thomas Hamilton (Dunblane) remains unexplained and extremly murky. Paedophilia goes right to the very top of British society.

          • Icebow

            Hamilton, of course.

      • Labour Mole Catcher

        Are guns legal in Japan?! Is someone having an irony bypass?!

  • TomV

    The article is misleading and the numbers deserve a closer examination.

    “Although guns are involved in the deaths of more than 33,000 people in
    America each year, and although the US homicide rate is seven times
    higher than that of Canada, …”

    That is flat wrong. The murder rates for the most recent year are:
    USA: 4.4
    Canada: 1.6

    That is a factor of 2.75 and not like in the article stated “seven times” higher !
    Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_intentional_homicide_rate

    Next fact: out of the 33.000 death by gun each year are 22.000 by suicide, it the suicide rate would go down significantly with stricter gun laws is questionable.

    The African-American population is about 13%, without these 13% the homicide rate of the US would be around 50% lower and close to that of Norway.

    It is questionable if the homicide rate would be much lower with stricter gun laws and how about other crime rates (burglary, robbery) when the average citizen has not the possibility to defend himself.

    • Cincinnatus

      Also, more than half of gun deaths in the US are suicides. Due to stricter controls on handguns in Canada, suicide by gun is much less prevalent in Canada . Yet the suicide rates for Canada and the US are nearly identical. If those same controls were enacted in the US people contemplating suicide would just use different means, with no lives saved.

      • TomV

        “Also, more than half of gun deaths in the US are suicides.”
        Actually it’s 70% (22.000 out of 32.000)

    • Blobfish

      “The African-American population is about 13%, without these 13% the homicide rate of the US would be around 50% lower and close to that of Norway.”

      So, do other countries get to exclude crime/murder statistics among whichever happens to be the most economically-disadvantaged ethnic/racial group?

      • MrJones

        It shows it’s not guns alone; it’s the PC cult preventing anything being done about urban gang culture.

        • Blobfish

          “If we exclude people who steal cars from our car theft statistics, we have zero car thefts”

          • MrJones

            If we ignore the gang culture we get more murders.

          • WTF

            When comparing stats from different countries its totally valid to see what effects it has on the numbers by excluding or including various different factors otherwise you’ll never drill down to the real problem. The fact that black gun crime is disproportionately high in America compared to EU countries needs looking into otherwise it will never be fixed.

            When ever anything goes wrong be it societal issues or cars, computers you have to find a pattern to diagnose where the real problem is. That’s whats being done here.

      • WTF

        The truth is that ethnic gang related death by guns in the UK is on a par with the USA when you allow for the different ethnic percentages. The problem we have in the lib**tard EU is they hide these statistics whereas America doesn’t.

        • Yvonne Stuart-Hargreaves

          Nonsense. Prove it.

          • WTF

            Easy, just google “How many black people killed by other black people in Europe”.

            Results, hundreds of ‘hits’ of American black on black crime but not a one on EU black on black crime or even a drive by shooting that’s happened in the UK where two young black girls were shot to death.

            Now google “under age sexual grooming” and lo and behold, a raft of hits for UK sexual grooming by Pakistani men.

    • cartimandua

      Suicides are indeed most often by gun.

  • TomV

    It is really questionable if stricter gun laws would decrease the crime and homicide rate of a county.

    Homicide rate for 100.000 people
    UK : 1.0
    Czech : 1.0
    Switzerland : 0.6
    USA : 4.4
    Mexico: 21.0
    Jamaica: 39.4

    UK has very strict gun laws, whereas in the Czech Republic it’s very easy to get a gun license and carry a gun for personal defense. Switzerland has one the highest gun ownership rates of the world and still a low homicide rate.

    On the other side countries with stricter gun regulations (Mexico, Jamaica) have a much higher homicide rate.

    • Adam Bromley

      You probably need to factor in enforcement of the laws to make a proper comparison. The Swiss may own rifles, kept at home and they can’t wander down the street with them. If they did so, they would be arrested. But the Czech republic is an interesting case. Both Mexico and Jamaica may have strict control in theory, but in practise minimal. And in any event, Mexico is in the middle of a savage drug war, Jamaica has similar issues with organised crime. On a related note, you are far more likely to survive being shot in the USA than Mexico or Jamaica. The more relevant comparison is developed countries, there the USA is an outlier with a homicide rate 4 x higher and a firearms homicide rate far higher, that’s not counting gunshot injuries etc.

      • TomV

        If you don’t count the African-American population in the US the homicide rate decreases by about 50% and has a level similar to Norway and Finland.

        Another interesting example from the US, compare Vermont (almost no gun restriction, >95% own a gun) and a low homicide rote with other states/counties with stricter gun laws.

        In my opinion it’s more a cultural problem and has not much to do with regulations or being poor.

        Just have a look at the graph in
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_intentional_homicide_rate

        “Both Mexico and Jamaica may have strict control in theory, but in practise minimal. ”
        Same argument would be true in the US with a strict gun control law. The thugs would still be able to get guns.

        • Adam Bromley

          Norway and Finnland are small countries , so a better metric would be the likes of France, UK or Italy. But for your point to hold true about culture being the defining factor as opposed to single parent families, poverty, social exclusion and other known triggers for crime then you would see a higher crime and homicide rate amongst US African-Americans regardless of social class. That isn’t the case. Wealthy, well-educated people with good jobs don’t murder one another. I’m not surprised the murder rate is low in Vermont, Norway etc. I don’t there’s one single cause, there’s a combination of factors in the US driving the murder rate, some of which is related to the War on Drugs, which then intensified gang violence. People with something to lose tend not to commit violent crime. But it may also be true that gun control would not be a complete answer. But it would probably help. The US would be far more likely to enforce regulations than Mexico for example. In the UK it’s difficult to get hold of guns or more correctly, the ammunition, without extensive checks and their use is tightly controlled. Almost no gun homicides. Switzerland is an extremely law-abiding society, you might even say a police state of sorts, with the consent of its citizens. Well I say law-abiding, financial crime is another matter, but you know what I mean.

          • MrJones

            The US allowed the gang culture to flourish in the ghetto areas and it’s that gang culture not black culture as a whole that drives it.

          • Adam Bromley

            Not sure they just stood back and let it happen. 3 million people in prison. The highest rate in the Western world and more than most countries in the world combined. The US has a violent history and remains more violent than other developed nations. The murder rate was high even in the 1950s, the War on Drugs didn’t help.

          • MrJones

            I think ignoring the gang culture for years is what lead to that prison building reaction but by the time they were forced to act things had already gone very wrong and hard to fix.

          • Adam Bromley

            You might be right. I visited a fair few US cities and they all have no go areas. New York is much improved, but I was there 20 years ago, pre-Guliani. Stayed in a youth hostel up on 125th St. Heard gun fire at night, saw one guy being taken into an ambulance covered in blood. Walking from the subway to the hostel, the ground was covered in empty crack and heroin vials. There were drug addicts everywhere, many with late stage AIDS, begging for money. Pretty hardcore experience. Much more like being in South America than one of the richest nations on the planet. We had a stopover at Houston this year en route to Belize, the guy at the airport hotel told us not to walk anywhere especially under road bridges because of the aggressive beggars. So I think there are more extremes of wealth and social deprivation, it’s not just gangs. But it does provide a great hatching ground for gang culture.

          • MrJones

            “But it does provide a great hatching ground for gang culture.”

            Yes and if it’s ignored long enough then it gets really hard to fix.

          • WTF

            Its primarily democrat run cities that have suffered most purely because they gave up on stop and frisk for PC reasons. For PC reasons, read ethnic minorities so it is back to black and Hispanic gangs that are doing most of the killing in places like Chicago or Baltimore.

          • TomV

            Naturally you have a different culture with well educated and working people than in the inner cities with a lot of single parent households.

            You can also see what happens when liberal politics get involved. This year the homicide rate has increased rapidly (20-70%) inc some cities after police was heavily criticized and hold back (Stop & Frisk) from doing police work.

            Drugs are a big problem and probably legalizing it would get rid of a lot of problems. That’s a libertarian standpoint and I agree with it. If adults want to take drugs why should anybody stop them. Prohibition does not work and has never worked before, an master example for it was the alcohol prohibition in the 30s. Another side effect would be that legalized drugs would be much cheaper and off better quality and therefore would cause less criminality and health problems.

      • WTF

        Now you’re talking some sense as the real problem in the USA is not legal gun ownership but illegal gun ownership. Just as Pakistani men got away with gang rape for ten years due to political correctness so do black on black deaths rise as law enforcement is told to tread carefully. Baltimore is a classic example of this since the police no longer do active stop and frisk looking for illegal guns and gun deaths have rocketed as a consequence.

      • Jackthesmilingblack

        Response to widespread gun ownership: Good hospitals.

    • Jackthesmilingblack

      “It is really questionable if stricter gun laws would decrease the crime and homicide rate of a county.”

      How about firearms related killings?

      • TomV

        30.000 gun related killings per year in the US, but 22.000 are suicide, so only 8.000 homicides left.

        In comparison:
        380.000 people die in the US from cigarette smoking
        40.000 by car crashes

        It’s questionable if inner-city criminals would obey gun restrictions or crime would go down.
        Check out how the homicide rate for cities has increased in 2015 because of stupid politics & police regulations.

  • Freddythreepwood

    At the moment, there is no great call for guns amongst the UK population. At the moment.

    • Johnny Foreigner

      Because it’s not the table, nor is likely to be. I could call for it till I’m blue in the face and at the same be called a psycho, by the general public mongs. That’s anyone would be up against.

      • Pioneer

        Because of this kind of irrational article.

  • Johnny Foreigner

    Why? Why? Because they don’t want to end up like us. Unable to defend ourselves against the swarm and their own Government. The undemocratic imposition that has befallen Europe, by the Liberal Elite, that is destroying nations and their culture, that’s why.

    • Mary Ann

      Do you really believe that British Culture is so weak, doesn’t say much for it.

      • Johnny Foreigner

        It’s not a case of being weak, it is already under attack by the the Liberal Progressives and will be further undermined by Muslim influence in the near future. British culture is more about what we are against, rather being able define a holistic temperament.
        I thought the thrust of the piece above, was about the ability for the general populace, being able to defend itsself, and preventing government tyranny?

      • MrJones

        British culture is handicapped by a hostile media and political elite.

  • samton909

    You know, there is an internet now. We can check whatever statistics you give us. A quick check shows the author has completely misrepresented the statistics. Why don’t we have more gun laws? Because the people pressing for them lie all the time.

  • RavenRandom

    I’m British but I’m tired of articles by Brits expressing incredulity about the Americans’ attitudes to guns. We don’t get it. We never will. Americans in aggregate do get it, they get the price, they understand the price and yet they still want it. It has been part of their culture for centuries; it still is.
    You might as well deride any other culture for practises we do not understand or take part in. We mock the Americans because we think they should be like us, because they’re Western and speak English. It’s a form of racism. If we mocked other more obviously alien cultures the racism would be more easily seen.

    • Jackthesmilingblack

      Firearms related fatalities: You can’t make an omelette …

    • Jackthesmilingblack

      Assult rifles?
      How about defence rifles?

  • Dominic Stockford

    Barack Obama talks a lot, but does nothing.

  • MrJones

    Gun laws in Europe were only passed *after* the murder rate had fallen very low.

  • Tamerlane

    This is such a silly debate. The country is flooded with weaponry, this isn’t something you can ‘ban’ or prevent. You might be able to enforce some sort of light regulation but big deal, this genie escaped the bottle long long ago.

  • Hamiltonian

    There are several reasons Americans will never give up our guns
    1. There are over 500 million firearms in circulation in America today. If the government banned guns tomorrow, it would take 50 years to get them all out of circulation. It’d be very hard to convince a gun owner to surrender his weapon when he knows his neighbor is still hoarding his.
    2. Areas of America with high rates of gun ownership tend to have lower crime rates than areas of low rates of gun ownership. Convincing a Vermonter to give up his guns when crime in Vermont is non-existent, on behalf of the people living in Detroit is not an argument that is likely to succeed.
    3. The American Constitution makes gun ownership a civil right and also prevents the government from seizing guns. The 2nd amendment might be worded strangely, but the intent is obvious. Repealing it is nearly impossible. If by some miracle, it was removed from the Constitution, getting rid of the guns would require a violation of 4th amendment protections against unwarranted searches and seizures.
    4. The people who pay for the gun lobby are gun owners, not gun companies. Most of the proposed “first step” regulations include things like banning the private sale of guns or at least requiring a background check. This would help gun companies as people would be less likely to purchase used firearms.
    5. Many parts of America are very rural and nearly unpoliced. If you have been to Wyoming, Idaho, or some parts of Colorado, you may have noticed that there is an extreme dearth of people. People who live in these areas have a legitimate claim that calling the police is useless, as the time until a response will likely exceed 30 minutes.

    • Jackthesmilingblack

      “Never give up your guns, America pals. They’re your last defence against tyranny.”
      You only have to look at the police state that Britain become. Gun ownership would have made HMG think twice. Besides in the British Constitution (yes, there really is one), there is a clause that states that “Prostitants have the right to own and bear arms”. Clearly that was the origin of a similar clause in the US constitution. You really didn’t believe those colonists could dream up that fancy wording unaided did you?

      • Labour Mole Catcher

        “The Bill of Rights Act 1689” (sic) … what is the supposedly shortest sentence in the New Testament?! Whatever next?! “The Magna Carta Act 1297”?!

        “THE Japan Alps Brit”, eh?!

        • Jackthesmilingblack

          So what part of “The Japan Alps Brit” do you fail to comprehend?
          Should be obvious even to the meanest intelligence, not least scraping-the-bottom barrel retards like you Jock.
          Jack, the Japan Alps Brit
          Batten down the hatches. Here comes the typhoon.

          • Labour Mole Catcher

            You are because you say so … the best chat-up line of a wind-up merchant! “Bill of Rights Act”, eh?! Obviously learnt it from the Internet rather than face-to-face from a real (and qualified) British person, from school, a librarian, &c.!

          • Jackthesmilingblack

            What’s the difference? Learned Brits submit copy to Wikipedia. Think it through, Jock.

          • Labour Mole Catcher

            “Learned”?! You do realise that you do not even have to register at all, not even your own electronic mail address, in order to edit most articles in Wikipedia, do you not, dear boy?!

          • Jackthesmilingblack

            John Locke, who was ripped off by the writers of the US Constitution, said. “All men are created equal”
            Specifically, we are not born with pre-knowledge. Although in your case you may have been born deranged and progressed to insanity.
            Suggest you review the philosophy of John Locke, before you make anymore absurd assertions.

          • Labour Mole Catcher

            When YOU have always been pretending that you are cleverer than other people …

    • WTF

      Sounds like the UK !

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    “Thousands of Londoners died in the Blitz; twice as many Americans are killed every year in gun-related incidents”
    Even I would have difficulty logically linking these seemingly disparate topics. Makes reviewing comments something of a challenge. So in future, kindly refrain from this type of illogical journalism. There’s a good chap.

    • WTF

      Yep, conflation of the f****** ridiculous and meaningless !

      • Jackthesmilingblack

        Hey, a non-Mole response. That’s a refreshing change.

  • WTF

    Just like nuclear arms you can’t un-invent guns or put the genie back in the bottle and considering the bad guys will always be able to get hold of them if they were banned, crime would climb to frightening levels. In high gun ownership areas like Texas the gun crime is a lot lower than say Chicago where gun control is on the face of it is much more stringent. However, the reality is that the reason Chicago has far more deaths through guns is that those laws are not applied properly, sentencing is weak and most of the deaths are black on black.

    The most effective way of reducing deaths is by enhanced stop and frisk on the streets with a mandatory 10 years for possessing a gun without a permit, but the lib**tards in places like Baltimore or Chicago wont do that because it will predominantly affect minority ethnic groups.

  • Rupert Williams

    The problem is only partly the number of guns, but is nìmore to do with the fact Americans like killing each other.

    There are plenty of countries with high rates of gun ownership where the murder rates are nothing like the USA.

    The idea that the state should have a monopoly on the use of lethl force is trotted out regularly, but is a dangerous and foolish idea. We are relatively lucky in the UK so far that the state generally behaves itself reasonably well and the number of innocent people killed by the police has not reached crisis proportions, unlike in some other countries, including the USA. If anybody needs to be disarmed in the USA it is the police.

    However the trust that that relatively benign and pleassant situation can last for ever, especially as we are governed more and more from Brussels over which we have only a tenuous not to say nonexistant democratic control would be deeply mistaken.

    As individuals we should be in a position to defend ourselves.

  • Labour Mole Catcher

    “Jackthesmilingblack” seems to have forgotten that he lives (self-declared) in Japan, not the United States of America. He might had a point if gun-ownership were legal in Japan, but it is not.

    • Jackthesmilingblack

      The United States of Torture.

      • Labour Mole Catcher

        And aren’t you using software manufactured by this said United States of Torture?!

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