The person who invented gunpowder was a cretin and the person who invented the Gun was a bigger one. [The Chinese get the blame for both unfortunately!]
There have been many things mankind has invented that have been a benefit to human life; some have even caused some problems, but nothing to compare in bad terms to gunpowder and the gun.
In Britain people generally don’t have guns and it is accepted that they should remain in the hands of the military (to defend us all) and the police (to defend us all!). What the general public don’t know is the extent that guns are around, either legally or illegally. Conceivably your next door neighbour has a gun, perhaps hidden under the bed? Community people hold some four million guns!
There are supposed to be sturdy restrictions on gun ownership in the UK, but it is a crap system, with very little control over who actually holds a firearm or even monitoring of holders of firearm certificates. Hardly a month goes by without reports of shootings and killings with legally held guns – is anyone held to account for allowing the perpetrators to have a gun in the first place and misuse it? Not bloody likely. All swept under the carpet – mustn’t tell the truth and alarm the public, or get the incompetents into bother.
We are a complacent lot in the UK about gun policies because we still have reportedly one of the lowest rate of gun killings anywhere (we are heavily into knives though), but tell that to the gun victims – tell that to relatives and bereaved families of the Hungerford massacre of 1987 (16 killed 15 injured), or the Monkseaton shootings of 1989 (1 dead 14 injured), or the Dunblane school massacre of 1996 (16 young 5 and 6-year old children and their teacher dead 15 injured), or the Derrick Bird Cumbria shootings of 2010 (13 dead 11 injured), or the New year shootings in Peterlee of 2012 (gunman Atherton’s partner & 2 other women killed).
OK firearms Acts have been amended as such slaughters arise, but you can bet your bottom dollar that it is only a matter of time before we will be reading about the next atrocity (when the Snowdrop Campaign against gun ownership will be able to say ‘I told you so’).
Then of course there is the stockpile of illegally held guns. You can’t be a proper criminal these days without having a gun or having access to one (gun crime has doubled in the past 10 years – a glut of over twenty thousand firearm offences annually). More than half of killings are with a gun, as well as some thousands of non-fatal shootings. What do we do about it? Very little, we just increasingly arm our police force – so now we have convoys of ‘armed’ rapid response cop cars driving round our towns and cities day and night. Don’t be mistaken. The situation will deteriorate further and you can expect constables on the beat to be permanently armed (as they are in Northern Ireland) within the next decade – big saving on truncheons though.
Some gun killings in UK in year 2011 for example: Edward Pybis 20, Michael Fitzpatrick 49, Bahman Faraji 44, Lee William Gray 32, Raheem HinesThomas 17, Raymond Masters 58, Michael Harper 46, Isaiah Bovell 21, Raymond MItchell 30, Judith Garnett 52, Kamilah Peniston 12, Wayne Stockdale. Randy Osei Boateng 24, Anthony Prickett 42, Mohamed Abdi Farah 19, Amin Ahmed Ismail 18, Sodiq Adebiyi 25, Christine Chambers 38 and her twoyearold daughter Shania, Nana Darko Frempong 18, Ian Taylor 44, John Loveday 59, Ricky Basra 22, Kenrick Wickham 36, Carlton Ned 41, Genson Courtney 23, Rico Gordon 21, Richard Deakin 27, Mark Duggan 29, Daniel Famakinwa 20, Trevor Ellis 26, Jonathan Barnes 20, Jennie Leeman 44, John Finnigan 48, Deeq Ali 18, Azezur Khan 21, Anuj Bidve 23. [RIP]
And others in 2012: Aaron McKoy 22, Susan McGoldrick 47 her sister Alison Turnbull 44 and her niece Tanya Turnbull 24, Ali Armagan 32, Anthony Grainger 35, Brian Harkins 45, David Castell 29, Shane Hill 20, Malakai McKenzie 19, Archie McKelvie 64, Corrin Barker 31, Mark Short 23, Derrick Vassell 43, Clare Sly 39, Thompson 32, Marlon Campbell 23, Dothan Gordon 32, James Ward 58, Bob Seddon 68, Patricia Seddon 65, Ian Dibell 41, Umar Tufail 25, Reece James Menzies 21, David Short 47, PC Nicola Hughes 23 , PC Fiona Bone 32, Marcus Innocent 35, Andrea Johnson 44. [RIP]
Our increasing love of the gun is a spinoff from our dependently close relationship with the United States – we get all the bad things in UK (including their junk films) from over the water as well as the good things. One has to say that it is incomprehensible how the Yanks still allow the gun lobby to ruin their society. The Americans have a constitution that is out of kilter in their modern times; for an otherwise sensible nation how can they still adhere to a ‘right to bear arms’ 2nd amendment to the Bill of Rights, which had some significance in 1791 to resist oppression, self defence et al, but zero now. How can it be bright to expand even the right-to-carry as they have done in modern times? How can it be sensible or needed to allow your average guy to own many seriously powerful assault weapons?
They continue to allow major firearm sellers and manufacturers to make corpse money from a trade that has no right to exist, and repeatedly results in indefensible, disgusting, multiple shooting episodes with victim after victim after victim, in addition to the standard general killing machine that USA society has become in recent years (in the top twenty for gun homicides). The issue in America is that their politicians are a cowardly and weak set of nobodies, who haven’t got the backbone or courage to do their duty – they just enjoy the high life and trappings of power undeservedly. Will they now be coerced by their President Obama on gun control? Don’t hold your breath.
On the home front what we need to do in the UK is stop people owning guns and make it less ‘socially acceptable’ to hold a firearm licence (there are a million of them!). People who can ‘prove’ they need a gun and have a sponsor and guarantor, need to first to be fully assessed (mentally and otherwise) and be monitored regularly, including security of the gun. Having a gun should be a key concession granted, not a right. Any abuse of a gun licence should result in penalisation of those involved in granting such a concession.
Anyone holding a gun should be identified to their community; the permission publicised so it is public knowledge – neighbours have a right to be warned (without doubt that will cause a storm of protest with claims by pro-guns organisations such as Firearms UK & Countryside Alliance, that identification will get houses targeted by burglars, which only emphasises the point that held guns need to be 100% secure against theft). Different police authorities currently interpret the existing law in dissimilar ways, so that tells you what a pig’s ear our politicians have made so far of formulating a proper and enforceable gun law!.
Secondly, and just as importantly, the illegal trade and holding of guns must be addressed. It has to be dangerous and not worthwhile to be in possession of a gun – the current penalties are patiently not working. Prison is not a sufficient deterrent or punishment, so this should be combined with widespread seizure of assets (current & future, including homes and other properties, bank accounts etc). What’s more there has to be penalisation of those associated with an illegal gun holder (people who knew or should have known).
A gun has only ONE purpose – to kill something or
someone (perhaps someone you know and love).
YOU have a say. Contact your MP and demand that firearm legislation is reviewed and Guns are removed from our society, then it will be ‘Job Done’.