Liberty is an inherently offensive lifestyle. Living in a free society guarantees that each one of us will see our most cherished principles and beliefs questioned and in some cases mocked. That psychic discomfort is the price we pay for basic civic peace. It's worth it. It's a pragmatic principle. Defend everyone else's rights, because if you don't there is no one to defend yours. -- MaxedOutMama

I don't just want gun rights... I want individual liberty, a culture of self-reliance....I want the whole bloody thing. -- Kim du Toit

The most glaring example of the cognitive dissonance on the left is the concept that human beings are inherently good, yet at the same time cannot be trusted with any kind of weapon, unless the magic fairy dust of government authority gets sprinkled upon them.-- Moshe Ben-David

The cult of the left believes that it is engaged in a great apocalyptic battle with corporations and industrialists for the ownership of the unthinking masses. Its acolytes see themselves as the individuals who have been "liberated" to think for themselves. They make choices. You however are just a member of the unthinking masses. You are not really a person, but only respond to the agendas of your corporate overlords. If you eat too much, it's because corporations make you eat. If you kill, it's because corporations encourage you to buy guns. You are not an individual. You are a social problem. -- Sultan Knish

Monday, May 03, 2004

Call for Assistance

It seems that Tim Lambert objects to the paucity of reports in which victims of crime are further victimized by the system that supposedly is there to protect them.

I'll admit right up front that my wording "prosecuted" was a poor one. THREATENED with prosecution would be more valid, like in this case found by gunner, the proprietor of No quarters. I've perused my archive of articles I've saved for the last couple of years and found a few more.

But I'd like the help of the "gullible gunners" out there. Perhaps someone has access to LexisNexis or some similar search engine for news stories? Got your own archive of outrage? Send me links, full text of the stories, whatever. It's my intent to build a nice case.

Remember, limit this to England and Wales.

Thank you for your assistance.

I Would Be Willing to Go to Jail for Assault

If I ever meet Ted Rall:

A couple of days ago I linked to this Ted Rall column where he actually said some things I agree with. At that time I stated:
I don't know how much of what Rall states in this piece reflect his actual beliefs and how much of it is a lie, but given Rall's history...

But it's damned disconcerting when someone as foul as Rall states opinions I agree with. I feel like I ought to take a shower and scrub with steel wool.
Stainless steel wool and sulfuric acid.

I'm all for the First Amendment.

If I ever meet Rall, I'm going to demostrate my freedom of expression with a knuckle sandwich.

I live in Tucson, Ted. You've got my email address. Drop me a line if you're ever in town. We'll do lunch.

(Hat tip Instapundit and Michele.)

UPDATE 5/4: Also via Prof. Reynolds, this absolutely astounding dissection of Ted Rall's mental state by Jeff Goldstein of Protein Wisdom.

If I had written that (thank Jebus I know I'm not capable) I would have showered with acid and steel wool.

Tim Lambert has Responded

And so have I. Read Gullible Gunners, part 3.
Like I Said, Not ALL Brits Have Been Brainwashed

(Via Deltoid, actually.)

Peter Hitchens has written an interesting article, even though he quotes John Lott (whom both I and Tim Lambert believe to be, if not a fraud, at least untrustworthy.) It was originally published in May of last year, but it's still good. Entitled Why I Demand the Right to Carry a Gun, I'm sure it put some panties in a bunch. Excerpts:
We in Britain believe guns are so dangerous that only criminals should be allowed to have them. If you think this sounds unhinged, you are quite right. But, crazed as it is, such is the thinking behind this country's current law on firearms.

It is almost impossible for a law-abiding person to obtain or keep a gun, thanks to severe laws diligently enforced by a stern police force. Yet criminals, who care nothing for laws, can and do easily obtain guns and ammunition - which they use with increasing frequency.
All absolutely, demonstrably true.

Not intentional, but certainly the result of the policy.
People in this country get emotional about guns but refuse to think about them. They run, squawking, from the subject as though it were perfectly obvious that the best response to anything that goes 'bang' is to ban it.

Those who own or keep guns are treated as only slightly less repellent than child molesters. In a perfect example of this silly frenzy, a Doncaster college lecturer was sacked last January for allowing a student to bring a toy plastic gun into class for use in a photography project.

If we ever did think about the subject, we should realise that something very strange indeed was going on and might begin to worry that we have gone seriously wrong.
But, because of the visceral reaction trained into the public, thinking about the subject has been effectively prevented.
Take a deep breath and consider what follows: I have never owned a gun and hope I never have to, but I want to have the right to do so if I wish - and the right to use a gun in defence of myself and my home. In fact, I do not think that I am a free citizen unless I have these rights.

This is not some wild idea imported from the badlands of North America. Until very recently, these were my rights under the ancient laws of England.
(My emphasis.) If you haven't, let me suggest that you read the (rather long) exchange I had with an Irishman living in London concerning the right to arms. It covers the history and the law dating back to England. Start here and work your way up through the archives. But do it on the weekend - it's quite involved.

One more excerpt (though I recommend that you read the whole thing):
Once, police and courts and people all agreed about what was right and what was wrong. In those days, the authorities were more than happy for us to defend ourselves as vigorously as we liked.

Now, while they have effectively abandoned us to the non-existent mercies of anybody who cares to break into our homes, they will punish us fiercely if we lift a finger to defend ourselves.
But, but... self-defense in England is perfectly legal! How could he possibly conclude otherwise?

He's just a "gullible gunner."
More Taking Advantage of Fear and Ignorance

Pixy Misa of Ambient Irony exposes another example of gun control supporters folding, twisting, spindling, & mutilating ah, employing misleading statistics in their effort to frighten people into supporting more gun control, this time in Australia.

Money quote:
So how many people are killed by handguns in Australia each year? This handy article in The Age, found in about 10 seconds of Googling, tells us that the number in 2001 was 49.

This represents a drop since tough new restrictions were put in place in 1996, from a 1991 figure of 29.

No, hang on - isn't 49 more than 29? I could've sworn...
(But the philosophy cannot be wrong!)
Jeff Outdoes Himself

Jeff at Alphecca has this week's Weekly Check on the Bias up, and it starts off with a bang, almost literally.

First, Jeff reviews the a case of a Detroit woman who used her - legally permitted - concealed handgun to defend herself from a gun-wielding attacker:
I mentioned this story last week but thought it deserved mention in this post, firstly, because it is a perfect example of what the right to bear arms is all about and secondly, because -- in a break with their usual bias -- the Detroit Free Press actually reported this story straight-up, without an anti-gun slant. If you read the full article, I think that you will reach the exact same conclusion that I have: Holland would be dead now if she hadn't been carrying that firearm.

Here's the money quote from the article:
Citizens defending themselves are precisely what backers of Michigan's controversial concealed-weapons law had in mind when they worked to pass the legislation in 2001. The law makes it easier for anyone without felony convictions or mental illnesses to obtain a permit to carry concealed weapons.

"The more the criminal element knows that Michigan residents can protect themselves and will protect themselves, the more crime goes down," said state Sen. Alan Cropsey, R-Dewitt.

Some opponents of the law predicted a large increase in self-defense-type shootings. Gov. Jennifer Granholm, who opposed the measure when she was state attorney general, has acknowledged that has not occurred.
Not only has it "not occurred," it never occurs. But it's ALWAYS PREDICTED. After the fact the best argument opponents can come up with is that supporters cannot conclusively prove that CCW is responsible for crime going down.

Jeff follows this with a "Dial 911 and DIE!" story - from TEXAS. (Doesn't everybody in Texas own a gun?)

Then he tells us that Jim Purtillo - the guy that moderates the rec.guns newsgroup, and all-around generally great and pro-gun guy, has filed suit against the State of Maryland over just what constitutes "an integrated mechanical safety device" in its badly-worded law that has severely restricted what firearms may be sold in Maryland.

There's much more. Jeff does a helluva job. Read it weekly, even though it gives you a RCOB™ moment.

UPDATE: Reader Sarah - proving that critical reading skills still exist - points out something that I had glossed over. The quote above from the paper reads:
Some opponents of the law predicted a large increase in self-defense-type shootings.
Uh, no. That's not what was predicted at all. What was predicted - and what is always predicted - is "blood in the streets" from shootouts over fender-benders and K-mart blue-light specials. And that NEVER happens.

However, there is a - slight - increase in bad guys getting shot.

Good catch, Sarah. And you're right: why should it be a bad thing to have a large increase in criminals being shot?

Hmm... Small World, No?

While the blogosphere is abuzz with the news that Micah Wright actually wasn't an Army Ranger (or even in the Army) and never was in Panama, Spoon's significant other drops a bombshell:
I just wish I had done a cursory google search on Micah Wright a couple years ago and found out what he was up to. I could have told Kevin Parrot, WaPo, and Wright's publishers that I knew Wright hadn't been a Ranger during the American invasion of Panama.

Because I was dating him in Tucson, Arizona at the time.

I was a freshman at the University of Arizona, and Micah was a junior. We met my first month at school at a mutual acquaintance's birthday party in September, 1989, and sort-of dated each other and generally hung out together that year. The Panama invasion started in December, 1989, and ended with Noriega's surrender in January, 1990. Micah was definitely at the U of A, not Panama.I graduated from the U of A in December 1985. My best friend from North Carolina went to Panama as a Special Forces non-com.
Small world.

Sunday, May 02, 2004

Mea Culpa

I owe Tim Lambert a small apology. In a previous piece I made a pretty stupid statistical error which he caught, and I have, until now, failed to correct it. I will do so now.

In I Pound My Head Against the Wall Because it Feels So Good When I Stop I stated:
To me that isn't as important as the fact that England, according to the British crime survey, suffered 276,000 robberies in 2000, and the U.S. about 408,000. With six times England's population, that makes the English rate four times the American rate.
Tim followed the provided links and responded:
Oh, and you blew the comparison of robbery rates. You have compared the survey measured robbery rate in England with the police reported robbery rate in the US. The police reported number in England is 78,000 (it's right next to the 276,000 figure you reported) that's roughly the same rate as you get with 408,000 robberies in the US once you adjust for population.
Tim was correct, I did mix crime survey and police reported levels of crime, and that was an error. My apologies. It was not intentional. However, it was my intent to use survey results for both, rather than police reported crime numbers, because there is some significant doubt as to the accuracy of the actual levels of crime as reported by police agencies in England.

To illustrate this doubt, let me preface by providing this Telegraph story from 2003:
Britain the most violent country in western Europe

By John Steele, Crime Correspondent (Filed: 25/10/2003)

Britain has the worst record in western Europe for killings, violence and burglary and its citizens face one of the highest risks in the industrialised world of becoming victims of crime, a study has shown.

Offences of violence in the UK have been running at three times the level of the next worst country in western Europe, and burglaries at nearly twice the rate.

Britain has the highest level of homicides in western Europe and the totals for robberies and thefts of motor vehicles have also been close to the highest in the European Union, outstripped only by France, the Home Office figures show.

Only Germany, which has 20 million more people, recorded more crimes overall in 2001, the most up-to-date figure in the research - International Comparisons of Criminal Justice Statistics 2001, with data collected by the Home Office and the Council of Europe.

But the "victimisation risk" - showing the risk of suffering a crime - in England and Wales is higher for overall crime than anywhere else in Europe, and higher than in America. The same is true of falling victim to "contact" - violent - crime.

England and Wales also had markedly fewer police officers per head of population than France, Germany and Italy, according to the study.

The Home Office points out that police have achieved some reductions in violence and robbery in 2003.

The study is also accompanied by warnings about the difficulties in making comparisons because of differing definitions and methods of recording crime. But the sheer scale of offending in the UK in recent years is apparent from the figures.

Britain had 1,050 homicides in 2001, three ahead of France, the next worst in western Europe.

In 2001, UK police recorded nearly 870,000 violent crimes, a figure hugely above the next highest total - 279,000 in France. Germany recorded 188,000 violent offences.

There were around 470,000 domestic burglary offences in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Spain recorded 247,000 offences, France 210,000 and Germany 133,000.

The figures for robbery, which surged in Britain around the turn of the Millennium, showed about 127,000 offences in 2001.

This was surpassed only by France, with a total of 134,000. Both countries were ahead of Spain (104,000) and substantially ahead of Germany (57,000) and Italy (66,000).

Overall, in 2001 nearly 6.1 million crimes were recorded in the UK. Only Germany had a higher total (6.3 million).

Hazel Blears, the Home Office minister for crime reduction and policing, said: "This report shows the picture in 2001.

"Since then we have cut crime further and dramatically increased the number of police on our streets."
Those are pretty serious numbers, don't you think?

Now in this slightly earlier piece there seems to be some question as to the accuracy of the data:
Rising crime, falling accuracy

By Philip Johnston Filed: 05/04/2003)

What has happened to crime statistics? Once they were the gold standard of the criminal justice system against which could be measured the success of the police against the villains.

We relied upon recorded crimes - those reported to the police - as a guide.

But, increasingly, the Government has come to rely upon the British Crime Survey. This used to be conducted every two years (it is now annual) among a pool of about 20,000 people who give their personal experience of crime. It has a major flaw in that it excludes under-16s.

Ministers began to notice that the BCS told a different story to the recorded crime figures: it was registering a decline. So, the survey became the new guide for the Government, talked up by ministers as the only true measurement of crime.

Furthermore, the Home Office was unhappy with the way the police recorded their statistics and so it introduced a new National Crime Recording Standard - a sort of statistical quality control.

This, then, is where we stood yesterday when the latest quarterly crime figures were produced. "Crime is down," said Bob Ainsworth, the Home Office minister. "These figures show government measures to reduce crime are working."

Well, do they? Let us take the claim that domestic burglary fell by 11 per cent from just over one million to 948,000 in 2002. This is not a real figure but an estimate calculated using interim population figures supplied by the Office for National Statistics. So, too, is the 17 per cent "drop" in vehicle thefts. Why is the Government relying on a survey to establish the theft of a car or a house break-in? Who does not report a stolen car or a burgled house?

When we look at the crimes recorded by the police a different picture emerges. Over the three months to December, domestic burglary fell by less than two per cent and vehicle theft by just three per cent, both of which are "statistically insignificant".

Total recorded crime rose by more than four per cent over the quarter and by eight per cent over the year as a whole. The Government finesses this by "adjusting" the figures to account for the new recording standard. And, lo and behold, they then go down. Instead of the four per cent increase in the three months to December, we discover that it has, in fact, miraculously fallen by seven per cent.

However, this adjusted figure is also an estimate. Needless to say, the Home Office highlights the two estimated measures of crime - the BCS and the new recording standard, which show a decline - and ignore the recorded crime figures that show an increase.

Or take violent crime, which the Home Office said "appears to have levelled off". The recorded crime figures show a 28 per cent rise in the final quarter of 2002. Yet after "adjustment", this declines almost to zero on the grounds that "most offences are relatively minor assaults". Adjustments are always made to make the figures look more positive.

This statistical jiggery-pokery is making it almost impossible for observers to know what is going on. The Home Office stopped publishing monthly asylum figures because they produced bad publicity on a regular basis. Recently the Home Office issued figures claiming that the reconviction rate among young offenders was falling. Closer scrutiny showed this just was not true. An official complaint has been lodged with the Statistical Commission about the way race figures have been used.

In the short term, the Home Office's inventive use of statistics may get favourable headlines. In the long run, it risks damaging its reputation for straight-dealing, perhaps irreparably.
It's tough to know what to believe when the guidelines keep changing. And then there's the declining trust in the police to do much for you when you've been robbed. The British Government uses the British Crime Survey numbers because - even though the numbers are massively higher than the police reported numbers, the BCS numbers are coming down while the police recorded numbers are going up. Seeing as the BCS numbers - although they exclude victims under the age of sixteen - are supposed to represent reported and unreported crime, those are the ones I intended to use. However, to be consistent, I needed to use U.S. National Crime Victimization Survey numbers in comparison, not the police recorded number.

According to this Dept. of Justice Report in 2000 there were 732,000 attempted and completed robberies in the U.S. in the year 2000. That's 732,000 estimated under the National Crime Victimization Survey, as opposed to the 408,000 recorded robberies, a ratio of 1.79:1. And as opposed to the 276,000 estimated robberies according to the British Crime Survey compared to the 78,000 recorded robberies as reported by British police forces, a ratio of 3.54:1.

So, with one-sixth the population of the U.S. England and Wales managed to have a robbery rate not four times higher, but only 2.26 times higher than ours.

In the year 2000.

Way to go England!

Oh, and our robbery rate has continued to decline precipitously. According to this report NCVS estimates show robbery fell to 630,690 in 2001, and to 512,490 in 2002. Robbery has decreased in England and Wales over the same period, though.

Maybe.

According the British Crime Survey,
In 2002/03, the number of robbery offences in England & Wales for people aged 16 and over was 300,000.

This compares with 97,000 robberies of personal property recorded by the police in the same period.

The BCS does not measure robbery offences among victims under 16 years.
However, a study of 2,000 police files found that:
22% of recorded robbery victims were between 11 and 15 years old
23% were between 16 and 20
5% were over 60
Apparently a LOT of Brits no longer bother to report robberies. I wonder how many are missed by the BCS? At any rate, a comparison of 512,490 robberies in the U.S. and 300,000 in England & Wales means the per capita robbery ratio has increased to just over 3.5:1.

Now, if you want to talk recorded crime, take a look at this Home Office paper from January 2003:
Recorded offences of robbery have risen sharply in recent years despite the fact that recorded crime overall has fallen over the same period. Between April 2001 and March 2002 robbery offences recorded by the police increased by 28 per cent. This followed a 13 per cent increase the previous year, and a 26 per cent increase before that.

--

The British Crime Survey routinely collects information on 'muggings', which includes personal robberies and snatch thefts. The latest BCS estimates that there were 441,000 muggings including 362,000 robberies.

--

Offences recorded as robbery (personal and business) by the police in England and Wales have more than doubled over the last ten years. Some of the largest increases, in terms of volume, have been in recent years.
I hope to shout! Check out this graph:

Now, this next part is really interesting:
Personal robbery accounts for the bulk of recorded robbery in England and Wales. Between April 2001 and March 2002, personal robbery accounted for 89 per cent of all robbery, and almost all of the increase. Personal robbery continues to increase at a faster rate than business robbery. Business robbery increased by 6 per cent in 2001/02 compared to the previous year, while personal robbery increased by 31 per cent.
Now, why might that be?

And if you really want to compare international recorded crime instead of estimated, there's this graph:

Anyway, I apologize for the error, Tim, and I'm glad you caught it. It's important to get these things right.

Saturday, May 01, 2004

OW! You Made My Brain Hurt!


It does that when the obvious-stick is jabbed through my eye-socket and into my skull.

Feces Flinging Monkey delivers an essay that is almost literally a ClueBat™ to the noggin - the Democrats are CONSERVATIVES.

No! Really! Some excerpts:
The Democrats Have Become The New Conservatives.

I'm serious. Take a quick look at their big domestic issues now:

Don't weaken abortion laws.
Don't weaken affirmative action laws.
Don't weaken the public school system.
Don't weaken the unions.
Don't weaken welfare.
Don't weaken environmental laws.
Don't weaken gun control laws.
Don't weaken liability laws.
Don't weaken Medicare.
Don't weaken Social Security.
Don't get too far into debt.
And of course, stop taking so many chances overseas.

There is no innovation here, no new plan or new future, nothing bold or risky or daring. It's a gigantic holding action. The only real change ever discussed is an increase in scale, an increase of quantity rather than kind. You can run the same speeches from the 1980 race and nobody would notice the difference.

--

The face of the Democratic party is, more accurately, the face of the soccer mom - risk-adverse, parentalisitc, and always concerned for the sake of the children.

--

The face of the Democratic party is not that of the hot chick you saw at the Phish concert. It's the face of Kyle's Mom from Southpark.
RTWT. There's much more in there that will really make you think.

He's absolutely right.

The problem isn't that the Democrats are too liberal, it's that the Republicans aren't libertarian enough. We've got TWO conservative parties, and there really is only about a dime's worth of difference between them.
Boy, Good Thing This Happened in D.C! Somebody Might've Had a Gun!

(Hat tip, Mostly Cajun, who I just added to my blogroll. Good stuff.)

It seems that Supreme Court Justice David Souter was attacked by a "group of young men" while out jogging. Here's the story:
Supreme Court Justice Souter Assaulted

WASHINGTON - Supreme Court Justice David Souter suffered minor injuries when a group of young men assaulted him as he jogged on a city street, a court spokeswoman and Metropolitan Police said Saturday.

The attack occurred about 9 p.m. Friday, and Supreme Court police took Souter, 64, to a Washington hospital, court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg said. He was examined and released about 1 a.m. Saturday.

Neither Arberg nor police would detail the justice's injuries except to say they were minor. Nor would they give other details about the assault, except Arberg said Souter was not robbed.

A spokeswoman for Washington Hospital Center also would not talk about the incident because of privacy rules.

Souter was running alone when he was attacked. He lives in a neighborhood not far from the Supreme Court building on Capitol Hill, where the attack occurred.

Souter is among the youngest justices and is a regular jogger.

He is not the first justice to be injured while exercising. Justice Stephen Breyer was thrown from his bicycle several years ago and suffered minor injuries.

Souter was named to the bench by the first President Bush in 1990.
"Injured while exercising??" This wasn't an oopsie, this was a criminal attack. (Unless Justice Breyer was "thrown from his bicycle" by an assailant, too, how do these two incidents rate comparison? Surely Justice O'Connor has pulled a muscle riding a horse once or twice, too.)

Let's see: A city in which no one is allowed to have a firearm for self-protection. A 64 year-old man out jogging at 9PM. He's assaulted by "a group of young men." Young men who, by all evidence, would have no problem acquiring pretty much any weapon they might want (gun, knife, club, broken bottle...), have no compunction about assaulting someone, and who had nothing to fear from one old guy in jogging togs.

I'd say Justice Souter was one lucky SOB.

Unless it was someone trying to influence his vote on a case, that is.
Oh, THIS Will Help

(Via KeepAndBearArms.com)

It seems that now the Brits think that they can shame criminals into not using guns in crime.
GUN CRIME CONVICTS UNVEILED ON POLICE POSTERS

Reporter: Natalie Jackson

A poster campaign featuring the faces of people who've been convicted of gun crime has been unveiled today. The policy has been criticised by a civil liberties group. But senior police officers hope their naming and shaming policy will deter youngsters from getting involved with guns. Natalie Jackson reports.

The Chief Constable of Nottinghamshire Police launching his campaign today. He's promoting this poster which names and shames four convicted gun criminals.

The Chief Constable for Nottinghamshire Police Steve Green says 'It isn't cool to carry a gun, there are consequences if you shoot someone you will be sent to prison for a very long time, and this campaign gets that message home'.
Only if you get caught. They don't seem able to do much of that.
But civil liberty groups are against the move, claiming it infringes the human rights of the men and their families.

Steve says 'I'm going to do everything in my power to tackle gun crime, I'm going to do everything in my power to protect the people of Nottingham and Nottinghamshire and if this is what I have to do. What I am doing is proportionate to the threat to the safety of people in this city'.
Everything, that is, except allow the people in your city to defend themselves effectively without fear of prosecution or persecution.

But, realistically, the brainwashing has gone on for so long and has been so effective that I don't think enough Brits would be able to defend themselves effectively. It's been bred and trained right out of too many of them.
And the figures speak for themselves. In the last fourteen months in Nottingham ninety three weapons have been discharged, forty six people shot and five of those were fatal.
Really? In the gun control utopia of England? How is that possible?

Oh, right. The "loopholes" of "imitation" firearms, Eastern Europe and the internet. Silly me.
Police say the message to gun criminals is that they're not untouchable.
Just mostly.

The poster carries four photos.

Let's see, ninety-three weapons discharges, forty-six hits, five fatal. That's a hit to miss ratio of (mmm...carry the one...) 49.5%! Damn, for a culture where most guns are banned, that's pretty high!

Here's the BBC's take on it. Money quote:
But the move is not backed by everyone.

Reverend George Benson, Pastor at a church in Nottingham is concerned about the message it gives out to people and fears a similar reaction to that which occurred surrounding the controversial idea of naming and shaming paedophiles.

Rev Benson said: How many people got injured because of neighbourhood watch and vigilantes actually took the law into their own hands?"

Figures for Nottinghamshire show 46 people have been shot - five of them fatally, in the last 16 months.

Residents in some parts of Nottingham say the use of guns has become a common way of sorting out so-called turf wars between rival gangs.
Yeah, those neighborhood watch vigilantes really are a problem, aren't they? But self-defense is perfectly legal and acceptable in jolly old England. Really.

And note that "the use of guns has become a common way of sorting out... turf wars". The handgun ban and confiscation was in 1996. That was over eight years ago.

But "gun control" (licensing, registration, "needs" testing, and "safe storage," followed by bans and confiscation) makes you safer, don'tcha know?

Here's a bit more:
The move is welcomed by community leaders.

Milton Crossdale director Racial Equality Council in Nottingham said: "We are not to give young people the idea that people who use guns are the big bosses and they should be emulated.

"If we can discourage young people from seeing these kind of people as role models then this kind of campaign should be encouraged."

Mothers of victims have held street campaigns in the past against guns.

Police have said with support from residents they will beat the problems.
Not when the problem is defined as "GUNS!!"

The chant at the first (not even close to a) "Million Moms March" was "England can do it! Australia can do it! WE CAN TOO!"

I sure as hell hope not, and I'll do everything in my power to prevent it.

The Philosophy CANNOT Be Wrong. Do It Some More, Only HARDER!


Well, in their quixotic effort to reduce halt the increase in violent crime involving guns in England through gun banning regulation, they've now made "the manufacture, sale and purchase of hi-tech air weapons using a self-contained gas cartridge" illegal and "owners without a licence will be prosecuted." The sentence is five years.

But of course the gun-grabbers still aren't happy. There's still "loopholes" that "need to be tightened":
Lucy Cope launched Mothers Against Guns after her 22-year-old son Damian was killed by a converted replica in 2002 (Yes, the gun magically converted itself, loaded itself, and levitated itself until it found her son, then it pulled its own trigger and killed him.) and is calling for a total ban on the sale of replica weapons - whether or not they can be modified to fire bullets.

"Replica weapons are toys that kill, they are weapons of mass destruction," she said. "Anything that resembles a gun should be banned.

"Even cap guns can cause problems - police units have to make difficult snap judgements about whether they're real or fake."
Got that? CAP GUNS need to be banned. Replica guns are "WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION.'

Let's look at some more idiocy:
Paul Kelly, chairman of the Police Federation in Greater Manchester, remains unconvinced by the new legislation.

"The Home Office is making the right noises," he said, "but we think it's time to see some real substance.

"Anything designed to be an absolute replica should need a licence in exactly the same way as a real firearm.
Um, that would be the real firearms that were licensed, registered, and stored safely under the previous law. The law that was found to be ineffective at stopping firearm crime. The law that permitted the government to know where every single legally owned firearm was kept and who owned it. The law that allowed the government to tell those legal owners to hand in all semi-automatic long guns in 1988 (which didn't slow the increase in violent crime) and all handguns in 1996 (which didn't even slow down the increase in violent crime involving HANDGUNS.) You mean that kind of license?

Just because the horse is beaten bloody dead doesn't mean we shouldn't beat it some more! The philosophy CANNOT BE WRONG! The policy just wasn't implemented correctly! LET'S TURN UP THE POWER!

But look! Down here at paragraph 28!
Mr Kelly feels the law will change little for the bobby on the street and added: "Officers will still be expected to spot the real guns and the replicas - even when it's a dark, wet night and late on in their shift.
It will change nothing at all for either the bobby nor the general English subject. And here's a bit of (typical) wishful thinking:
"If we take the things off the market, the problem will be solved."
Uh, no. You keep neglecting the first law of economics: Demand WILL BE MET by supply. As illustrated in the very next paragraph:
Increasingly, criminals are sourcing weapons abroad, as modern technology helps them avoid government and police safeguards.
The mantra from many gun controllers regarding why Chicago and Washington D.C. have such high homicide rates despite their draconian gun control laws is that guns are brought into the cities from areas with "lax gun laws," and if the gun laws were uniform across the nation, this wouldn't happen. Yet the UK has uniform gun laws, IT'S A FREAKING ISLAND and guns still flow across its borders.

No, now the Internet is at fault (if one scapegoat dies, find another):
Police are working to stop the flow of convertible guns into Britain, but growing sales on uncontrolled internet sites are worrying.

It took me just 10 minutes to access one selling all manner of firearms from central Europe, boasting delivery anywhere in the world.
Demand will generate a supply, baby. That's economics 101.

And efforts like this:
The new legislation makes it illegal to manufacture, sell, purchase, transfer or acquire any air weapon that uses a self-contained gas cartridge system.

Anyone who already owns one will be able to keep it only by obtaining a £50 firearm certificate from the police.
are destined to abject failure.

But the philosophy cannot be WRONG! And the indoctrination of the populace has had decades to do its job, and do it well:
It's about time firearms of all types were banned in this country. Airguns can seriously injure or even kill. Do we really want to become like the US and have over 40 shootings a day in each state? All guns shout (sic) be banned.
T. Hawkins, Swinton, Gtr. Manchester
You've pretty much tried that, T. Hawkins. Hasn't worked, or haven't you noticed?

And I'd bet you'd love to have our levels of burglary, robbery, assault, home invasion, and general thuggery.
Nightline

Robert Arial of South Carolina's The State:



In case you weren't aware, I get my cartoons from Slate's Political Cartoons page. Go read through it some time and see the "liberal slant" of the media. For every "right-wing" or "moderate" cartoonist, there must be ten leftists, and some of them are foul.

(Since this site is non-profit - no tipjar, no blogads - and I do political commentary, I hold that use of these cartoons falls under "fair use" standards.)
But...All Cultures are EQUAL and We Have No Right to Impose OUR Values...

Somebody needs to.

I don't think this has been reported ANYWHERE in the U.S. media. It's apparently not as important as reporting each and every death of an American soldier who is - like it or not - fighting for the freedoms of Iraqi and Afghani women every bit as much as they are fighting to stop terrorism. Via Dodd of Ipse Dixit, under the heading of Why They Hate Us comes this bit of news from Norway:
Norwegian-built schools in Afghanistan destroyed

The largest girls' school in Kandahar, Northern Afghanistan, financed by Norwegian funds, was destroyed by fire on Thursday.

This is only one of several Norwegian-built girls' schools which have been burned down in Afghanistan during the last six months, NRK reports.

In Kandahar, a group of men tied up the guard and set fire to the school, which had just been rebuilt, a city official reported.

-We look at the torching of these schools as an organized campaign aimed at preventing girls from receiving education, says Astrid Everine Sletten, head of the Afghanistan Committee's office in the country.

He view is shared by other international organizations in Afghanistan

Afghan authorities, however, view the incidents as "random terror".

-We disagree.
Over the past year altogether 600 girls' schools around the country have been wholly or partly destroyed by terrorists, while none of the boys' schools have been touced, Sletten says.
A related story, from the Pakistani PakTribune:

SCA condemns recent attacks on girls' schools

KABUL: In the past month, three girls' schools supported by the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan (SCA) have been attacked and completely or partially destroyed by unknown assailants.

On 19 February, at night, Jar-e-Shah Baba girls' school in Keshem, Badakshan, was attacked and burnt to the ground. On 10 March Sangana school in Rokha, Kapisa province, was bombed and three classrooms were completely destroyed. In the latest attack on 17 March, Harmal Girls school in Laghman was targeted by armed men who tied up three guards and set fire to doors, windows, school books and official documents. No person was injured in the attacks.

"We are deeply concerned and angered by this recent wave of attacks on schools. The fact that such attacks are taking place in provinces in the north where there has traditionally been less resistance to girls' education is also very worrying", says Jesper Jensen, Country Director of SCA.

Reports by SCA's education staff in the field give conflicting accounts of the reasons behind the attacks.

In the case of Jar-e-Shah Baba school in Keshem, where SCA supports almost 600 students in classes 1-6, armed men wearing black masks explicitly condemned education for females as they tied the two peons of the school and set fire to the building. Most reports indicate, however, that the attack was an expression of the on-going power struggle between a local commander and government authorities rather than actual resistance to girls' education. To show their support, villagers have guaranteed the safety of staff and hired armed guards to protect the school at night. The school also has roughly 600 girls in secondary education, supported by the Norwegian Committee (NAC).

In the case of the bombed Sangana school in Panjshir, some witnesses claim there was a note indicating that the attack was directed against "female activities" carried out by HABITAT, who were using school premises for meetings related to NSP (National Solidarity Programme). Other sources insist that it is more likely the result of political infighting between different factions. In the most recent attack in Laghman, no specific threats were issued.

"Whatever the reasons are it is clear that girls' schools are an easy target for anti-government forces. They are used as symbolic pawns in various power struggles, partly because they are high on the agenda of donors and the International aid community and are likely to draw attention, partly because education for girls has traditionally not been considered a priority in Afghanistan", says Dr Attaullah, acting Education Coordinator for SCA.

SCA is committed to rebuilding the schools and has so far pledged approximately 1000,000 Afghani (19,000 Euro) to cover costs. Some other organisations have also offered their support. The school year started on 22 March and while repairs are being carried out many students are being taught outdoors.

"We condemn these attacks and urge authorities on a local and central level to secure the future of girls' education in Afghanistan and to bring the culprits to justice", says Jesper Jensen.

According to information from the Ministry of Education approximately 40 attacks on girls' schools were reported in Afghanistan in 2003. Over the past years a number of SCA-supported schools have been targeted, mainly in the south-eastern provinces.

The SCA Education Programme has been in operation for almost twenty years and currently supports approximately 450 schools with 250,000 students and 6400 teachers in Afghanistan. Approximately 30% of students in SCA supported schools are girls.
I expect the National Organization for Women to issue a harshly worded criticism of this terrorism, to be printed page A-1 above the fold in the New York Times.

Not.

I did some research on the NOW website. Here's a typical piece from 1999:
TAKE ACTION TO STOP THE ABUSE OF WOMEN AND GIRLS IN AFGHANISTAN!

Women and girls are under attack:
The extremist Taliban government in Afghanistan is denying women and girls even the most basic human rights.

Prohibited from going to work or school and forbidden from leaving their homes without a male relative, women and girls in Afghanistan are under house arrest.

Women and girls are prevented from getting adequate health care since male doctors may not care for female patients.
You can help!
Demand that the U.S. take action to stop the abuse of women and girls in Afghanistan. Call upon the U.S. and the U.N. to continue to refuse to recognize the Taliban government!
I'd say our invasion of Afghanistan was "taking action" against the Taliban - a major step above merely "refusing to recognize" it, and a major plus in stopping the abuse of women and girls there. The fact that all those girl's schools were built - by international groups - being just one indication. After the invasion of Afghanistan, NOW had this to say:
NO OUTRAGE OF THE WEEK: 11/19/2001

Moment of Tentative Joy Inside Afghanistan


Women's Enews: Driving the Taliban out of Kabul and other Afghan cities has ended the fiats that prohibited women from working outside the home, attending school, leaving home without a male relative or showing their face in public.

While droves of men are rushing to the barber to cut their long, Taliban-mandated beards, some women have burned their veils in public and some are walking abroad in the daylight for the first time in years. Many women are still wary of being seen in public without their veils and, in cities, towns and areas where the harsh fundamentalist rule has been lifted, equal rights for women have by no means arrived.
That's it. Two paragraphs. No mention of Bush, just a snarky comment that "equal rights for women have by no means arrived." Apparently NOW was NOT happy. Their 2002 National NOW Conference Resolutions read thus:
WHEREAS, the advancement of the feminist agenda through electoral activity is of paramount importance in an election year when the executive branch is controlled by the radical right, the conservative Dennis Hastert serves as Speaker of the House of Representatives, and Democrats retain control of the Senate by one vote; and
WHEREAS, the Bush administration has pushed its anti-woman reproductive rights agenda through a multi-pronged strategy of executive orders, congressional action, and the nomination of the right-wing judges to the federal bench; and
WHEREAS, if Republicans retain control of the House and take back the Senate we can expect more radical legislation eroding our rights in addition to the loss of the 5 to 4 majority preserving basic abortion rights in the Supreme Court; and
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that NOW recommend to the NOW PACs that they support our incumbent friends who are being relentlessly targeted by the right wing and work to protect their seats even as they also work to elect the wonderful new feminist candidates challenging our political enemies throughout the country or running for open seats, as well as the record number of feminist candidates running for governor.
But wait! There's more!
WHEREAS, the women and girls of Afghanistan have suffered from years of gender apartheid and oppression under the totalitarian regime of the Taliban and, before them, the Mujahideen; and
WHEREAS, the United States, in a CIA covert-operation, trained and funded the Mujahideen ("Soldiers of God") to fight the Soviets in the last battle of the Cold War; and
WHEREAS, the Taliban was a faction of the Mujahideen that was initially supported by the United States; and
WHEREAS, the Afghan Ministry for Women's Affairs and the Afghan-women-led non- governmental organizations (NGOs) desperately need funding to rebuild women's lives and the Afghan nation; and
WHEREAS, the United States has a moral obligation to help restore Afghanistan; and
WHEREAS, the United States has a global interest to end the conditions that breed terrorism; and
WHEREAS, U.S. foreign policy must support human and women's rights as well as democracy;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the United States should support an expansion in the number and the jurisdiction of international peacekeeping forces throughout Afghanistan; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the United States should increase its funding for women-led Afghan NGOs; and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the United States should actively promote the full restoration of women's and girls' rights in Afghanistan and throughout the world.
Let me see if I read this accurately: It's our fault women are oppressed in Afghanistan. It's our responsibility to fund "Afghan-women-led non-governmental organizations" (I suppose in penance for our support of the Mujahideen against the Russians - who would have protected the rights of Afghani women). It's our responsibility to make sure international peacekeeping (read UN) forces should have jurisdiction in Afghanistan. And since Bush is so blatantly anti-women, we've got to get rid of him.

Even though the Bush-led unilateral invasion of Afghanistan is what has given Afghani women the opportunity for more freedom than they've had since 1996 when the Taliban took over. Hell, more freedom than they've ever had.

Here's some more NOW bitching (and I use that word intentionally) about Bush and the WoT not doing enough fast enough, incompetently, and for all the wrong reasons from 2003.

I'm disgusted.
More Good News

This time provided by Ravenwood. Let me quote:
Well if you look at national crime statistics, they show that none of these proposals would do any good. Here are some tidbits from the U.S. Department of Justice web site.
Firearm-related crime has plummeted since 1993.

Nonfatal firearm crime rates have declined since 1994, reaching the lowest level ever recorded in 2002.

Incidents involving a firearm represented 7% of the 4.9 million violent crime of rape and sexual assault, robbery, and aggravated and simple assault.

The number of gunshot wounds from assaults treated in hospital emergency departments fell from 64,100 in 1993 to 39,400 in 1997, a 39% decline.
So not only has crime fallen, but "gun crime" has also fallen. And we haven't even gotten to the most telling statistics. Keep in mind that the gun grabber crowd is constantly shrieking about sales from "unlicensed dealers" at gun shows, and the use of "assault weapons" on our streets. Both issues are a top priority among the gun ban crowd, and both were used as gun control amendments to torpedo the gunmaker liability bill.
According to the 1997 Survey of State Prison Inmates, among those possessing a gun, the source of the gun was from
- a flea market or gun show for fewer than 2%
- a retail store or pawnshop for about 12%
- family, friends, a street buy, or an illegal source for 80%
During the offense that brought them to prison, 15% of State inmates and 13% of Federal inmates carried a handgun, and about 2%, a military-style semiautomatic gun.
The gun banners claim that most crime guns are gotten from gun shows using the so called "gun show loophole", but the Department of Justice says that figure is actually only 2%. The gun banners would also have you believe that so-called "assault weapons" are the "weapon of choice" for criminals. But once again the Department of Justice says the figure is actually only 2%.
And if you want a perfect example of gun banner claims lies, just look below where reporter Alison Soltau of the San Francisco Examiner quotes Coalition to Stop Gun Violence member Eric Gorovitz saying:
The most common way criminals obtain guns is from shows in nearby states with less stringent laws, such as Nevada.

"So a felon can go to a gun show in Nevada ... buy a trunk-load of assault weapons and drive them in to the Bayview and sell them on the street," Gorovitz said."
If that's true then that felon would represent a big chunk of that "less than 2%" of "gun show or flea market" guns AND the 2% of "military style" firearms.

Do you think Mr. Gorovitz could pack any more lies in to a single sentence?

Friday, April 30, 2004

For Your Copious Spare Time...

Also Via C&S comes this really excellent target practice simulator.

I shot a 275 out of 300 in my first try at the 15 meter Advanced Pistol range. Challenging.
OMFG! Why Haven't I Heard About This Before?!?!

Via Curmudgeonly & Skeptical comes this Imprimus piece on how the New Zealand government turned itself around. Excerpts:
New Zealand's per capita income in the period prior to the late 1950s was right around number three in the world, behind the United States and Canada. But by 1984, its per capita income had sunk to 27th in the world, alongside Portugal and Turkey. Not only that, but our unemployment rate was 11.6 percent, we'd had 23 successive years of deficits (sometimes ranging as high as 40 percent of GDP), our debt had grown to 65 percent of GDP, and our credit ratings were continually being downgraded. Government spending was a full 44 percent of GDP, investment capital was exiting in huge quantities, and government controls and micromanagement were pervasive at every level of the economy. We had foreign exchange controls that meant I couldn't buy a subscription to The Economist magazine without the permission of the Minister of Finance. I couldn't buy shares in a foreign company without surrendering my citizenship. There were price controls on all goods and services, on all shops and on all service industries. There were wage controls and wage freezes. I couldn't pay my employees more - or pay them bonuses - if I wanted to. There were import controls on the goods that I could bring into the country. There were massive levels of subsidies on industries in order to keep them viable. Young people were leaving in droves.

When a reform government was elected in 1984, it identified three problems: too much spending, too much taxing and too much government. The question was how to cut spending and taxes and diminish government's role in the economy. Well, the first thing you have to do in this situation is to figure out what you're getting for dollars spent. Towards this end, we implemented a new policy whereby money wouldn't simply be allocated to government agencies; instead, there would be a purchase contract with the senior executives of those agencies that clearly delineated what was expected in return for the money. Those who headed up government agencies were now chosen on the basis of a worldwide search and received term contracts - five years with a possible extension of another three years. The only ground for their removal was non-performance, so a newly-elected government couldn't simply throw them out as had happened with civil servants under the old system. And of course, with those kinds of incentives, agency heads - like CEOs in the private sector - made certain that the next tier of people had very clear objectives that they were expected to achieve as well.

--

We achieved an overall reduction of 66 percent in the size of government, measured by the number of employees. The government-s share of GDP dropped from 44 to 27 percent. We were now running surpluses, and we established a policy never to leave dollars on the table: We knew that if we didn't get rid of this money, some clown would spend it. So we used most of the surplus to pay off debt, and debt went from 63 percent down to 17 percent of GDP. We used the remainder of the surplus each year for tax relief. We reduced income tax rates by half and eliminated incidental taxes. As a result of these policies, revenue increased by 20 percent. Yes, Ronald Reagan was right: lower tax rates do produce more revenue.

--

New Zealand had an education system that was failing as well. It was failing about 30 percent of its children - especially those in lower socio-economic areas. We had put more and more money into education for 20 years, and achieved worse and worse results.

It cost us twice as much to get a poorer result than we did 20 years previously with much less money. So we decided to rethink what we were doing here as well. The first thing we did was to identify where the dollars were going that we were pouring into education. We hired international consultants (because we didn't trust our own departments to do it), and they reported that for every dollar we were spending on education, 70 cents was being swallowed up by administration. Once we heard this, we immediately eliminated all of the Boards of Education in the country. Every single school came under the control of a board of trustees elected by the parents of the children at that school, and by nobody else. We gave schools a block of money based on the number of students that went to them, with no strings attached. At the same time, we told the parents that they had an absolute right to choose where their children would go to school. It is absolutely obnoxious to me that anybody would tell parents that they must send their children to a bad school. We converted 4,500 schools to this new system all on the same day.

But we went even further: We made it possible for privately owned schools to be funded in exactly the same way as publicly owned schools, giving parents the ability to spend their education dollars wherever they chose. Again, everybody predicted that there would be a major exodus of students from the public to the private schools, because the private schools showed an academic advantage of 14 to 15 percent. It didn't happen, however, because the differential between schools disappeared in about 18-24 months. Why? Because all of a sudden teachers realized that if they lost their students, they would lose their funding; and if they lost their funding, they would lose their jobs. Eighty-five percent of our students went to public schools at the beginning of this process. That fell to only about 84 percent over the first year or so of our reforms. But three years later, 87 percent of the students were going to public schools. More importantly, we moved from being about 14 or 15 percent below our international peers to being about 14 or 15 percent above our international peers in terms of educational attainment.

--

When we in New Zealand looked at our revenue gathering process, we found the system extremely complicated in a way that distorted business as well as private decisions. So we asked ourselves some questions: Was our tax system concerned with collecting revenue? Was it concerned with collecting revenue and also delivering social services? Or was it concerned with collecting revenue, delivering social services and changing behavior, all three? We decided that the social services and behavioral components didn't have any place in a rational system of taxation.
Reprinted by permission from IMPRIMIS, the monthly journal of Hillsdale College (www.hillsdale.edu).

READ THE WHOLE THING.

How the hell did they manage to pull that off? Hey, Kiwi Pundit! Is this guy blowing smoke? It sounds too good to be true!

UPDATE 5/1: It IS too good to be true. I emailed Nigel of Kiwi Pundit. Here's his response:
Hi,

The article is mostly correct as far as it goes, there were periods of free-market reform from 1984-88 and 1991-3. It was driven by two different Finance Ministers who had some support, but were eventually reined by their party leadership. We've regressed slowly but steadily since 1994.

The other point to note is that the situation in 1984 was truly atrocious, even centre-left governments of today advocate far less state intervention in the economy. The third paragraph talks about the state of NZ in 1984 so the word 'reform' is relative to that situation.

The claim to have eliminated employees in government departments is misleading because, in the areas mentioned, they created private monopoly companies owned by the state instead of government departments. Some of these companies were later sold, but either way, they regulated the hell out of them.

The education reforms have been almost completely rolled back by the current Labour government. Private schools have always been eligible for state funding, but the strings attached are now pulled tighter than ever. The best schools are the ones that refuse state funding completely, but obviously few people can afford them.

We also have higher taxes than ever now, around 40% of GDP, although the top tax rate is 'only' 39%, it was 66% in 1984.

New Zealand is no libertarian paradise, if that's what you're thinking.

Regards,
Damn. I KNEW the damned statist mutherfuckers politicians couldn't let a good thing go. Individual freedom, low taxes, and limited government offends their sense of "rightness," regardless of results.

ANOTHER case of cognitive dissonance.

Thursday, April 29, 2004

Trees? Meet Forest.

Tim Lambert, professor of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of New South Wales, Australia, and author of the blog Deltoid and I have been having a rather drawn-out exchange over self-defense in England. That exchange began over this news story in which it was reported that a man had been attacked by three others, one having a handgun. The man resisted, using a short-sword, and killed one of his attackers. The man was sentenced to eight years in prison. That was the extent of the report.

That story drew a lot of attention from many of us in the blogosphere, and Tim compiled several of the responses in a post where he called us "Gullible Gunners" and chided us for leaping to the conclusion (or perpetuating the belief) that "self-defense in the UK is illegal." In the comments to that original post I tried to make my point:
(T)here have been numerous cases of the British courts charging people for defending themselves. The law there seems to be one based on "proportional response" - e.g., stabbing someone who isn't armed with a weapon is "excessive force." So is bashing them over the head with a brick. There are many of these cases, and they've lead us to the conclusion that private citizens in Britain had best not resist attack, or face prosecution for usurping the authority of the State in its monopoly on the legitimate use of force. My primary objection to the news story was that it reinforces that conclusion. If you are a reader of that story, ignorant as to the details, in combination with all the other similar stories of people prosecuted after defending themselves, the message is "don't resist, you'll go to jail."
I stand by that statement, (though I'd word it just a bit differently) and I also believe it's indicative of, and endemic to the basic philosophy of the UK government and many (but not all) of its people as pertains to violence.

When I wrote this piece I tried to explain what I see as the generalized UK philosophy concerning self-defense and weapons, and why I believe that mindset is in error. I attempted to illustrate the cognitive dissonance produced by the failure of that philosophy to reduce violent crime, to which Tim Lambert responded:
When you started talking about overall crime rates I pointed out that these were irrelevant to your claim you respond by substituting a different claim, a claim about how weapon restrictions allegedly caused crime increases. Well, I suppose we can discuss that as well, but first I need you to stop flitting about like a butterfly and retract or defend your original claim that "laws against weapons have essentially no effect on the access to weapons by criminals".
As I said, the problem as I see it is that Tim and I have entirely different perspectives due to our entirely different philosophies. I'm obviously not succeeding in getting him to understand my position, or even recognize it.

However, the point of my writing these posts is not to convice Tim of his error, but to explain my philosophy, to draw Tim's philosophy out for scrutiny, and to allow readers to see each and decide which of us has a better grip on reality.

Before I get started in earnest here, in deference to Tim, let's get a couple of things out of the way.

Tim asked in his last post:
(Y)ou asserted that the statement 'self defense in the UK is illegal' is 'practically true'. If you acknowledge that you can defend yourself without a weapon, then surely you must concede that your statement is false?
Yes, Tim. I acknowledge (and have acknowledged) that the subjects of the UK still have a legal right to self defense - without a weapon. I further acknowledge that subjects of the UK have a - severely limited and somewhat nebulous - legal right to defend themselves with a weapon. Point conceded. As I said in my last post, I thought I made my position perfectly clear, but apparently failed.

Let me give a couple of examples. I spent a considerable amount of time trying to do archive research through UK online newspapers for stories on self defense. I found four in which weapons were involved. First, there was this story in which a wheelchair bound man used teargas to fend off a knife-wielding attacker. The victim of the attack, 22 year-old Nicholas Ashworth, bought the teargas after being beaten and robbed of £100 three weeks prior. Instead of yielding to victimhood again, Mr. Ashworth defended himself, but was arrested - not for defending himself per se - but for having the teargas which is illegal to possess in England as it is considered an offensive weapon. (You'll note that Mr. Ashworth's attacker used a knife in the attack, which is also considered an offensive weapon, and is illegal to possess when out in public.)

Mr. Ashworth said:
"I knew it was wrong and against the law but in my view I was acting in self defence. I thought the man was going to kill me.

"It is a sad state of affairs that disabled people like me have to carry such things like CS sprays for protection."
That statement begs for comment, but I'll pass for the moment. (Mr. Ashworth was not, apparently, charged with using the teargas in his defense, but he was charged with possession of it. I have been unable to determine the outcome of the case against him. Perhaps some reasonable local barrister convinced the Crown that no jury would convict a man in a wheelchair.)

Then there was this report in which an 80 year-old woman, Jean Freke, defended herself successfully with a sword against two young attackers. Mrs. Freke described the attack and her response:
She said: "I was sitting in the drawing room doing some writing when I heard six or seven loud explosions.

"I went into the hall and two men came bursting in. They grabbed hold of me and pushed me backwards. It was pretty rough and tumble, I can tell you."

One of the raiders ransacked the room, while Mrs Freke struggled with the other. "He gave me a violent shove and I landed on my back on the floor," she said. "That made me a little nervous but I managed to get to my feet and carry on with the fight.

"Then I realised that in the corner of the room was my sword, which I do keep for self-defence. I manoeuvred him in that direction and was taking punches everywhere.

"But I managed to grab the sword and drew it from its scabbard and placed it in the middle of his chest and shouted, 'Get out, get out'.

"Their attitude then changed and they suddenly became cowards and ran off at the sight of my sword.

"There was a moment when I thought, 'This is it' but you can't take fright and you can't panic. You just do what you have to do."
Her attackers are believed to be 18 to 20 years old and responsible for as many as 15 other similar attacks against elderly victims in the area.

Bear in mind that if this brave and resourceful woman lived in Australia, she would very soon have to give up that sword as the Australian government has decided that citizens shouldn't have access to swords unless they're licensed collectors. After all, her attackers might steal it from her. Or something.

In this story a shop keeper - near where a jeweller was recently shot to death during a robbery - was held up by two men, one armed with a chisel. Mr. Webster, the shop keeper, pulled a baseball bat that he had put in his shop after the death of his neighbor, Mrs. Bates, and a struggle ensued. Mr. Webster explained:
"Since Mrs Bates was killed I've been on my guard against people who arrive on scooters and are wearing crash-helmets coming into the shop. The lad picked up a bottle of drink, came to the counter and gave me a pound. Then, as I went to the till, I saw him take a swing at me. I put my arm up to defend myself but he pulled out a chisel and told me to empty the till. So I grabbed hold of the bat.

"We started struggling. It was an intense fight that lasted a couple of minutes, and half the shop was wrecked in the process before he ran off.

"Obviously what happened to Mrs Bates went through my mind. But I'd do the same again in the same situation. I saw the chisel but, for all I knew, he could have had a gun."

Mr Webster, who was recently targeted by a thief carrying a knife, has started a petition among shopkeepers calling for the police to do more to help them in the face of rising crime. "I don't know what the world is coming to," he said. "It's happening too often."
Now, I don't believe possession of either a chisel or a baseball bat is specifically illegal, but I doubt that the assailant was planning to do some artistic sculpture with it in his free time. I suppose that he believed the presence of a nice, sharp chisel would cow most shopkeepers. I imagine that the baseball bat surprised him every bit as much as Mrs. Freke's sword surprised her attackers.

I found one last story involving a crime intervention by a citizen wielding a weapon. This one, in which blind 62 year-old Thomas O'Connor stabbed 23 year-old Lee Kelso, who died from his wounds. I spent a considerable amount of time searching for self-defense stories, but these were the only four I found. In none of these cases were the defenders charged with excessive use of force, and only one with possession of prohibited "offensive weapons," but the case of Mr. O'Connor, there was a thorough seven week murder investigation after which the Crown determined "it would not be in the public interest for him to stand trial." Or, as one barrister put it "no jury would convict the frail man." Hardly a ringing endorsement of his act, wouldn't you say?

During the stabbing investigation, the police found that the O'Connor's front door, which was equipped with "a Yale lock, two bolts and a security chain," had been "hit with such force it was off its hinges and the door frame had also become dislodged." It seems that the O'Connor's, who "had turned their home into a fortress because of previous trouble and break-ins," equipped it with "a security camera linked to a video recorder fitted to the rear of the house, a security light at the front and an alarm." This was before Mr. Kelso's attack. I find it odd, though, that Mr. O'Connor, his wife, children, and grandchildren (who didn't all live in the same home) had to move to away secretly to undisclosed locations after the incident. It seems The O'Connor home was "torched in a suspected revenge attack" shortly after the stabbing.

But Tim is correct. It is still legal for a UK subject to defend themselves with a weapon, apparently as long as the weapon is legal and the defense takes place inside the home or business of the crime victim. (Outside the home or place of business, you apparently have to take your chances.)

It just seems to be a very rare occurrence, and possibly fraught with danger from forces other than the government, too. Knowing that defending yourself might mean having your home firebombed would be off-putting to most people, I think. (There are numerous cases of witness intimidation in England by thugs who fear little from the law and less from their victims.

As to the more recent accusation, let me stop "flitting around like a butterfly" and address the "access to weapons" question. I wrote earlier:
(D)isarming the law abiding it leaves them essentially defenseless against violent criminals, armed or not. All the criminal need be is physically superior to his victim, or (should he desire) the criminal can be armed, knowing almost as a certainty that his victim won't be. If criminals need not fear effective resistance then they will be emboldened. I pointed to England's experience with violent crime over the course of the 20th Century, noting that the real upswing in violent crime began just shortly after passage of the law that made illlegal carry of any weapon for defense on the grounds that there are no "defensive" weapons for the general public, only "offensive" weapons by definition.
(I am quite aware of the fallacy of the post hoc, ergo propter hoc argument, but I have seen no other factor to explain the apparent coincidence.) In the case of Nicholas Ashworth, his assailant had a knife, Mr. Ashworth had (illegal) tear gas. In the case of Mrs. Freke, she had a (still legal) sword against two physically superior, but unarmed youths. In the case of Mr. Webster, he had a baseball bat against two assailants, one armed with a chisel. In the case of Mr. O'Connor, he had a knife of some kind against a younger, physically superior assailant. In each of these cases the victim was physically inferior to the attacker or attackers. In half the cases the attacker or attackers were also armed. It would seem that my assertion is correct. In any assault occurring outside of a home or business, the attacker is almost guaranteed that his victim will be unarmed. In most assaults occurring IN a home or business, the type of weapons available to the victim are severely limited.

I wrote in the comments to Tim's original post:
In the context of resistance to crime, all a violent criminal need do in order to nearly guarantee himself success is to select a victim that is his physical inferior, or to overwhelm his victim with numbers. If he wants to make it even easier all he needs to do is have a weapon, since his victim will almost certainly not have one and weapons are readily available in spite of the laws against them.
Tim puts much stock in criminologist Gary Kleck's "fallacy of the 'overmotivated criminal'" when it comes to weapon use by criminals. Tim quotes Kleck from his 1997 book Targeting Guns:
Like noncriminals, however, criminals do many things that are casually or only weakly motivated. Indeed, much crime is impulsive or opportunistic, with criminals committing some crimes only if it requires little effort and entails little risk. Gun control is less likely to have much effect on crime committed by criminals with the strongest and most persistent motivation to commit crimes, such as drug dealers, emotionally disturbed mass murderers, professional hit men, terrorists, or political assassins. However, it is not all impossible for crime prevention efforts to be achieved among the more weakly or temporarily motivated criminals who make up the large part of the active offender population.
I have not read this work, so I don't know the context from which this quote was taken, but bear in mind that Kleck is himself a gun-control skeptic. Quoted from a 1994 Tennessee Law Review article at Guncite:
Up until about 1976 or so, there was little reliable scholarly information on the link between violence and weaponry. Consequently, everyone, scholars included, was free to believe whatever they liked about guns and gun control. There was no scientific evidence to interfere with the free play of personal bias. It was easy to be a "true believer" in the advisability of gun control and the uniformly detrimental effects of gun availability (or the opposite positions) because there was so little relevant information to shake one's faith. When I began my research on guns in 1976, like most academics, I was a believer in the "anti-gun" thesis, i.e. the idea that gun availability has a net positive effect on the frequency and/or seriousness of violent acts. It seemed then like self-evident common sense which hardly needed to be empirically tested. However, as a modest body of reliable evidence (and an enormous body of not-so-reliable evidence) accumulated, many of the most able specialists in this area shifted from the "anti-gun" position to a more skeptical stance, in which it was negatively argued that the best available evidence does not convincingly or consistently support the anti-gun position. This is not the same as saying we know the anti-gun position to be wrong, but rather that there is no strong case for it being correct. The most prominent representatives of the skeptic position would be James Wright and Peter Rossi, authors of the best scholarly review of the literature.

[Subsequent research] has caused me to move beyond even the skeptic position. I now believe that the best currently available evidence, imperfect though it is (and must always be), indicates that general gun availability has no measurable net positive effect on rates of homicide, suicide, robbery, assault, rape, or burglary in the U[nited] S[tates]. This is not the same as saying gun availability has no effects on violence--it has many effects on the likelihood of attack, injury, death, and crime completion, but these effects work in both violence-increasing and violence-decreasing directions, with the effects largely canceling out. For example, when aggressors have guns, they are (1) less likely to physically attack their victims, (2) less likely to injure the victim given an attack, but (3) more likely to kill the victim, given an injury. Further, when victims have guns, it is less likely aggressors will attack or injure them and less likely they will lose property in a robbery. At the aggregate level, in both the best available time series and cross-sectional studies, the overall net effect of gun availability on total rates of violence is not significantly different from zero. The positive associations often found between aggregate levels of violence and gun ownership appear to be primarily due to violence increasing gun ownership, rather than the reverse. Gun availability does affect the rates of gun violence (e.g. the gun homicide rate, gun suicide rate, gun robbery rate) and the fraction of violent acts which involve guns (e.g. the percent of homicides, suicides or robberies committed with guns); it just does not affect total rates of violence (total homicide rate, total suicide rate, total robbery rate, etc.).
This would seem to run counter to Tim's interpretation.

However, Tim puts too much emphasis on gun armed criminals. He seems, in fact, fixated on firearms, and extends that fixation to me and other "gullible gunners." He often makes reference to guns to the exclusion of all other weapons:
Kevin, you seem to be equating self defence with guns. This is doubly wrong. First, guns are far more frequently used for offensive purposes than for defensive ones. And second, guns are not the only means for self defence.

--

Even if there are some rare situations where a gun is the only possible means for defence, it does not make the statement that "self defense in the UK is illegal", since that is a general statement describing all situations.
He also discusses the efficacy of weapon control legislation producing somehow a level playing field, but in the context of guns, not other weapons:
1. Using a weapon is not the only way to defend yourself.

2. If the law disarms attackers, then it can make self defence possible where it would have been impossible if the attacker was armed.

--

1. Attacker has a gun. Defender does not.

2. Attacker does not have a gun. Defender doesn't either.

Self defence is possible in the second scenario while it isn't in the first one. Is that clear now?
Actually, no, it's not. Reality is a bit more complex than that. But here is where the difference in the two philosophies is most stark, and where the cracks in the philosophy he seems to support begin to become apparent.

The philosophy I originally attributed to Tim's side of the argument (that he objected to) I originally phrased as follows:

"Honest citizens should never use a weapon in self defense, and the government is honestly doing everything it can to disarm everybody so that you can successfully defend yourself in your unarmed state."

That seemed to fit Tim's position, but I've given the subject a considerable amount of thought in the last week or so, and have concluded that I was, in fact, in error on this point. The actual philosophy, I believe, is more accurately described thus:

Violence is wrong.

Weapons cause or at least augment violence.

Elimination of weapons will reduce or eliminate violence.

Since firearms are the most effective personal weapons available, they must, of course, be eliminated first, and this is the path England took starting in 1920. As of now, all semi-automatic long guns are banned, there are severe legal restrictions on all other long guns, all handguns are banned, and there is strong evidence the "next step" involves strict licensing or banning of air weapons and even toy guns. There are severe restrictions on the ownership and possession of knives, but not yet swords. (Mrs. Freke may keep hers for the time being.) It is illegal to carry any weapon the State considers offensive (and the list is long), and has been since 1953. Use of a weapon in self-defense is restricted to a reasonable response level by a law passed in 1967.

This philosophy on violence is usually based on the belief that all human life is precious, and that - at least in the case of robbery - no amount of property is worth a human life. Sounds good, but the logic is specious. I will illustrate this in a moment.

The philosphy that I ascribe to does not put the onus on the weapon, but on the actor. It is best described thus:

The uprovoked threat or initiation of violence is wrong.

The proper response to a threat of violence is the promise of equal or overwhelming violence in return.

The proper response to a violent attack is equal or overwhelming violence until the threat ceases.

(Bear in mind that my philosophy recognizes that sometimes the proper response is "cover your ass" because responding violently isn't an option at the time.)

The logic of "no amount of property is worth a human life" is specious (defined having deceptive attraction or allure) because the person trying to take your property is threatening you with bodily harm in order to accomplish his goal. The implied exchange is "I won't hurt you if you let me take your property." Why is "I won't inflict severe bodily harm or death if you cease and desist" an incorrect response? Criminals do not have the right to put their victims in fear of bodily harm or death - they're the instigators. If stealing holds no risk to the thief, what incentive exists to inhibit the behavior? If those willing to break the social restrictions against threatening or inflicting violence are not opposed, why should we be surprised to see the level of violence rise? Criminals are generally stupid, but even the dim understand that elementary cost-benefit analysis.

England's law seems to dimly recognize this philosophy, as the book excerpts provided by Tim indicate. The law allows for the use of (ill-defined "reasonable") force not only in self defense but also in the prevention of crime. But the restrictions are byzantine. Read all four pages in Tim's link and tell me that English law on this topic makes any sense whatsoever. It's the worst of both worlds, sort of. The attacker has all the advantages, the victim all the restrictions.

It doesn't matter to Tim that after general weapon restrictions were implemented in England, overall violent crime went up. The philosophy cannot be wrong. Results contrary to the theory merely indicate that the solution wasn't implemented properly. Do it some more, only harder.

It doesn't matter to Tim that handgun crime went up in England after the handgun ban. The philosophy cannot be wrong. Results contrary to the theory merely indicate that the solution wasn't implemented properly. Do it some more, only harder.

It doesn't matter to Tim that eighty years of ever-increasing restrictions on weapons and self-defense has not only not made England safer, it hasn't prevented England from becoming the most criminally violent nation in the industrialized world. The philosophy cannot be wrong. Do it some more only HARDER.

It doesn't matter to Tim that, while the stock of private firearms in the U.S. grows by three million a year, uncontrolled, unlicensed, and unregistered, violent crime has declined ten years running. The philosophy CANNOT BE WRONG.

It doesn't matter to Tim that taking firearms away from the law abiding makes them nearly powerless against those willing to use violence against them. Women, the elderly, the physically disabled are all at a disadvantage against the youthful, strong, and predatory. They don't NEED a gun.
If the law disarms attackers, then it can make self defence possible where it would have been impossible if the attacker was armed.
But the law doesn't disarm attackers. It disarms their victims. The attackers have the choice to be armed or not. The State denies that choice to the victims, and so doing makes their victimization easier.

Now, which philosophy makes more sense? And who sees the forest, and not just the trees?

UPDATE, 4/30: By coincidence, Ravenwood links to a Guardian story printed yesterday that reports:
Violent crime rose 11% in the final three months of 2003 compared with the same period in 2002, Home Office figures revealed today.
Latest figures show 271,500 incidents of violent crime were recorded by police in England and Wales from October to December 2003.

More serious violent crimes such as murder and serious wounding rose by 13%, while "less serious" violent crime such as assaults increased 21% period-on-period to 106,000 incidents. The number of sexual offences rose 6% to 12,600 while robberies fell 7% to 23,900.
I also found this piece in the Manchester News. Just read it, and ponder the philosophy behind the idea.

Oh hell, here's another one:.
Teenager held over robberies

A 16-year-old boy has been remanded in custody following two robberies in Manchester.

The boy, from Levenshulme, is charged on two counts of robbery and two counts of kidnap.

It follows two incidents in Fallowfield where a 21-year-old student then a 32-year-old man were forced into an alleyway by a number of men and robbed of their wallets, cash cards and phones.
No mention of any weapons, but what is an unarmed man to do when confronted by "a number of men" who are threatening bodily harm if he doesn't give up his valuables? What risk did these robbers face? They knew their victims couldn't effectively resist.

Again I ask: How is a woman to exercise her presumed inherent right to lethal force against a rapist if she's denied any means with which to do so? And how is a citizen to exercise his presumed right to resist crime if he is denied any means with which to do so? How does one effectively resist someone larger and stronger unarmed? How does one effectively resist multiple attackers unarmed?

Or, as commenter Sarah rephrased Tim: If the law disarms citizens, then it can make self defence impossible where it would have been possible if the citizen was armed.

UPDATE, 5/3: Tim responds. My response is the first comment to that post.

FURTHER UPDATE: I've slightly edited to the post to hopefully mollify Tim. I've stricken out some attributions that Tim holds are in error.