Monday, 10 January 2011

Glad I live in the UK

The news has been full of the shooting in the USA of Gabrielle Gifford. I read the following story with sadness...

I don't disagree with the statement that the gun is not evil only the person holding it... however surely in a culture where there is so much blood shed through guns you need to readdress that? I've had this conversation with American friends who go into the "right" and "freedom" mode that I just will never understand. A handgun has only one purpose - to maim or kill humans, it is not a hunting weapon - a gun is not a defence weapon as it will not stop the bullet from the guy pointing the gun at you. You have to shoot first and this spiral precipitates this gun culture in the psyche in the USA.

I had hoped that this very public tragedy might lead to a better debate in the USA about this issue - sadly not by the looks of this report.

I found these stats and you can see that the USA isn't near the top of the league. But look at it like this. UK 1.40, Germany 1.81, Canada 1.99, Spain 1.53 - compare that with USA at 8.95 - you see? You are 8 times more likely to be killed by a gun in the USA than other developed G20 countries. Come on USA for the sake of the next 7 per 100,000 who will die this year that statistically shouldn't if you had gun control laws have the debate please.

Postscript - sorry my maths has been pointed out as wrong... okay taking the average of the 4 example countries I used and comparing that to the USA figure it is "you are more than 5 times more likely.."


  1. And what about the death penalty? Oh, don't get me started!

  2. Exactly Liz - a couple of the reasons why I couldn't live there... just doesn't sit well with me at all

  3. yeah, grim old story that. And so many other killed and injured in the stupididty too. Awful.

    I bet we don't look quite so good in the knife\stabbing league though?

  4. As an American you have to understand that not all of us are like this...and quite a few of us are nauseated by the right wingers who are obsessed with their "right to bear arms." This whole Second Amendment issue is hotly debated to this day. Fact is, I know A LOT of people who own firearms, and not one of them has ever needed one for self defense. They're more likely to accidentally mortally wound themselves cleaning one than using one to repel a home invader. We live in a culture of fear and paranoia in this country, and with the conservatives coming back into power, it's going to get worse.

  5. Well G and Jon, I have a shotgun and a .9mm hand gun. I am also liscenced to carry them. I live in the sticks. I go hiking and it isn't practical to carry a rifle for protection but a handgun is. I also live in the meth capital of the PNW and I would not hesitate for a nano second use my gun for self defense. I wouldn't shoot me because I do know how to use it. Everyone has thier own opinion and I can find stats about the UK and other European countries if I want to go look them up again. Your murder rates really aren't lower, just the method used to commit them. We are after all animals.

  6. I do fear that this country is seeing a scary increase in gun crime, such a worry as we try and bring our kids up safely.

  7. @Punxii - we can fall into a stats battle here if not careful but my reading is

    Murders per capita

    USA number 24 with 0.042802 per 1,000 people UK number 46 with 0.0140633 per 1,000 people (source which is to me at least 3 times higher in the USA than the UK. Yes I know we have an issue with stabbings and knife crime but again in our country if you carry a knife without very good reason you are breaking the law. I can't walk around with a 7inch blade "for protection".

    However I still maintain a culture that promotes the "right to bear arms" encourages a shoot first mentality as it would be if we allowed carrying knives for "protection" our rates would soar. My earnest believe is if society says we should carry weapons for any reason it is a good thing.

  8. Just read John jayjay's comment as well as your post. Scary place, individualism at its worst. Hope people like John can make a difference

  9. I didn'[t mean to get into a stat war, not at all, just pointing out that we are all nasty litte critters no matter what we use to bite with. If you were to break things down even further(on) if you knew how many of those shootings were between gang members and other not so savory types and just did the plain old whack jopbs, the numbers would go down quite a bit I think. Those guys can all kill each other off,as far as I am concerned, but unfortunately there is quite often colatteral damage.
    So I end my boring debate, ta

  10. Is it really human nature at it's basic to want to kill each other?

    Maybe I don't know. I can get why you have a gun living in the "sticks" I suppose my vision which is having always lived in a pleasant suburban area I see no need for guns at all. Maybe our countries are different in that, we don't have anything like real dangerous wilderness in the UK - well not with bears, wolves all that kind of danger