America's Safety Catch: Reality Slaps BBC Around


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Dain Bramage
April 25, 2008, 11:40 AM
There's a serious "does not compute" irony swirling around this BBC story. Just like those androids that can't handle paradox in Star Trek, I can picture smoke curling out the ears of the BBC higher-ups, as they receive copy from their man in deepest, darkest Missouri.

BBC Link (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/low/programmes/from_our_own_correspondent/7359513.stm)

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FieroCDSP
April 25, 2008, 11:47 AM
Interesting read. I don't personally leave my doors unlocked, and my neighbors get drunk and fight three to five times a week, but on the whole, our country doesn't see the amount of crime that other countries paint us as having. An armed society is a polite society.

Technosavant
April 25, 2008, 11:49 AM
Interesting opinion piece. Despite the reputation for crime in our cities, the fact is that the vast majority of violent crime is visited by criminals on criminals. We don't walk around in fear or in apprehension, no matter where we live. Our guns don't even take us over and cause us to become ruthless killing machines.

The thing that must really make the person throw a gasket is that where we have guns and even carry them in public, you're going to be even safer than in places like NYC, where legal carry by common citizens is unthinkably rare.

Fish Miner
April 25, 2008, 11:52 AM
Walk around my University- I could show you some public drunkeness....

skidmark
April 25, 2008, 05:10 PM
Walk around my University- I could show you some public drunkeness....

Or walk around any other neighborhood and you could see evidence of criminal behavior -- but not to the extent that the Brits seem to be enduring.

With the exception of a few "wilding" incidents, there is no widespread evidence of feral children (especially of the 5 - 12 years old variety) or the "yobs" (13 - 25 years old) going around in packs and face-slapping folks randomly because they can get away with it, or of herds of them running amuck in a grocery store much like the scence from Police Academy I.

I do not think the police in the USA are that much better than the cops in Great Britain. However, they are not quite as hamstrung as their brothers on Airstrip One, who are reduced to handing out Anti-Social Behavior (ASB) citations and an invitation to appear in court three or more months hence to discuss the matter. I do not think the general citizenry of the USA is of a better caliber than the Brits, but they are certainly less constrained by the law in what they can do regarding defense of self and home when the front door is kicked in at 11:30PM.

While we are as a society catching up to the Brits in many ways regarding the coddling of criminals and the abandoning of decent citizens to the predations of our own version of the packs of feral youth/yobs, we are not yet at the point that has been reached on the other side of the Atlantic. My guesstimate is that it will never reach that level, given our cultural history of personal self defense

The great bright spot here is that in spite of the yammering of those opposed to gun ownership, there are very few amongst that crowd that adhere completely to the idea of just giving up, rolling over, and letting the criminals run wild. Even the most rabid anti-gunner will pick up the phone and plead for the police to come solve their delima du jur. And as we see by all the news reports, the average Ameriocan cop is still not yet willing to surrender use of the gun, tazer, ASP/billyclub or plain old fisticuffs when dealing with bad persons.

stay safe.

skidmark

Kitchen_Duty
April 25, 2008, 06:04 PM
was it just me or was the article doing some really weird turns back forth, kinda like the author had a mild form of ADD (no offense to the ADD gun owners of THR)...

I would also like to see some references cited, oh wait...:banghead: that would be real journalism not fear-mongering

UTdave
April 25, 2008, 07:54 PM
It seemed like it might have been a transcript of a broadcast or something, it did seem to jump all over the place and had a pretty low word count.

NukemJim
April 25, 2008, 08:05 PM
Because links go down.
America's 'safety catch'
By Justin Webb
BBC North America editor, Missouri


Despite the fact there are more than 200 million guns in circulation, there is a certain tranquility and civility about American life.

Deepwater, Missouri has a motto: "A great lil' town nestled in the heartland."



Deepwater considers itself to be an exemplar of the best of American life. A place where outsiders - if they ever penetrated this far - would find home-cooked apple pie and friendly, warm, hard-working folk.

Among those folk, I have no doubt, is Ronald Long.

Last month Mr Long decided to install a satellite television system in his Deepwater home. His efforts to make a hole in the outside wall came to nothing because Mr Long did not possess a drill.

But he did have a .22 calibre gun.

He fired two shots from the inside of the bedroom.

The second killed his wife who was standing outside.

He will face no charges. The police accept it was an accident.

Gun control

To many foreigners - and to some Americans - the tolerance of guns in everyday American life is simply inexplicable.


"In Montana, we like our guns... most of us own two or three"
Brian Schweitzer, Governor of Montana



As a New York Times columnist put it recently:

"The nation is saturated with violence. Thousands upon thousands of murders are committed each year. There are more than 200 million guns in circulation."

Someone suggested a few days ago that the Democrats' presidential candidates might like to take up the issue of gun control.

Forget about it.

They were warned off - in colourful style - by a fellow Democrat, the Governor of Montana, Brian Schweitzer.

"In Montana, we like our guns", he said.

"Most of us own two or three guns. 'Gun control' is hitting what you shoot at. So I'd be a little careful about blowing smoke up our skirts."

Democrats would like to win in the Mountain West this November. Enough said.

Washington weapons ban

On the anniversary of the Virginia Tech shooting, all this will feel to some like a rather depressing, if predictable, American story. A story of an inability to get to grips with violence.



At the moment, there is an effort being made to overturn a ban on some types of weapon in Washington DC.

Among those dead against this plan - those who claim it would turn the nation's capital into the Wild West - is a lanky black man (he looks like a basketball player) called Anwan Glover.

Anwan peeled off articles of clothing for our cameras and revealed that he had been shot nine times.

One bullet is still lodged in an elbow.

His younger brother was shot and killed a few months ago.

Anwan was speaking to us in a back alley in north-east Washington. If you heard a gun shot in this neighbourhood you would not feel surprised.

'Gentler environment'

Why is it then that so many Americans - and foreigners who come here - feel that the place is so, well, safe?


"I have met incredulous British tourists who have been shocked to the core by the peacefulness of the place"




A British man I met in Colorado recently told me he used to live in Kent but he moved to the American state of New Jersey and will not go home because it is, as he put it, "a gentler environment for bringing the kids up."

This is New Jersey. Home of the Sopranos.

Brits arriving in New York, hoping to avoid being slaughtered on day one of their shopping mission to Manhattan are, by day two, beginning to wonder what all the fuss was about. By day three they have had had the scales lifted from their eyes.

I have met incredulous British tourists who have been shocked to the core by the peacefulness of the place, the lack of the violent undercurrent so ubiquitous in British cities, even British market towns.

"It seems so nice here," they quaver.

Well, it is!

Violent paradox

Ten or 20 years ago, it was a different story, but things have changed.

And this is Manhattan.

Wait till you get to London Texas, or Glasgow Montana, or Oxford Mississippi or Virgin Utah, for that matter, where every household is required by local ordinance to possess a gun.

Folks will have guns in all of these places and if you break into their homes they will probably kill you.

They will occasionally kill each other in anger or by mistake, but you never feel as unsafe as you can feel in south London.

It is a paradox. Along with the guns there is a tranquillity and civility about American life of which most British people can only dream.

Peace and serenity

What surprises the British tourists is that, in areas of the US that look and feel like suburban Britain, there is simply less crime and much less violent crime.

Doors are left unlocked, public telephones unbroken.

One reason - perhaps the overriding reason - is that there is no public drunkenness in polite America, simply none.

I have never seen a group of drunk young people in the entire six years I have lived here. I travel a lot and not always to the better parts of town.

It is an odd fact that a nation we associate - quite properly - with violence is also so serene, so unscarred by petty crime, so innocent of brawling.

Virginia Tech had the headlines in the last few days and reminded us of the violence for which the US is well known.

But most American lives were as peaceful on this anniversary as they are every day.



NukemJim

CypherNinja
April 25, 2008, 10:58 PM
That link was to the lo-fi version, which is why it looks a bit sparse.

Here's the 'spiffier' version:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/from_our_own_correspondent/7359513.stm

Formatting and pics make a big difference. :D

Standing Wolf
April 25, 2008, 11:14 PM
One reason - perhaps the overriding reason - is that there is no public drunkenness in polite America, simply none.

Not true in the larger cities' deteriorating neighborhoods, which may partly explain why they're deteriorating.

Seancass
April 25, 2008, 11:28 PM
I kinda feel bad that the British are so disapointed in our lack of violence.

Speaking of violence, brawling, and public drunkenness, British guys are ones i've always said i would go out of my way to avoid a fist fight with. Along with the Irish and hockey players, they just have too much training.

They will occasionally kill each other in anger or by mistake, but you never feel (unsafe)
happens a couple times a day in my small town, what about yours?

Scanr
April 25, 2008, 11:38 PM
First they gave up their guns, then they gave up their God. No Jesus, no peace, know Jesus, know peace.

jakeswensonmt
April 26, 2008, 12:09 AM
With the exception of a few "wilding" incidents, there is no widespread evidence of feral children (especially of the 5 - 12 years old variety) or the "yobs" (13 - 25 years old) going around in packs and face-slapping folks
They call it "happy slapping". Definition (http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=happy+slapping) from the urban dictionary

The practice of slapping or punching somebody unsuspectedly and recording it with a camera phone.

In America we call this practice assault and I do believe you would get shot with a gun if you tried it.

- or -

happy slapping is the act of hitting/slapping someone wile recording it on a camera phone. Very popular with chavs, who think they are cool. If a chave ever happy slapps you, crack his mother****ing skull open and/or blow his head off with a shot gun. Be prepared if you see a chave with a camera phone, be ready to crack him in the jaw.

And in case you're wondering what a "chav (http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=chav)" is

Emerging British subculture which is quickly becoming an epidemic. Chavs can be found the length and breadth of the country, hanging around any junk food outlet, off licence or just hanging around the streets, where they pass the time by vandalising property, drinking cheap cider, shouting abuse at passers by and terrorising old people.

Appearance: Chavs have a strict dress code. Designer labels are everything, although knocked off/fake items are almost de-rigeur. Typically, the male chav will wear a Nickelson or Schott hooded top, baggy tracksuit trousers, white designer trainers, and a baseball cap by burberry or Nike. The female chav (chavette) will have peroxide blonde hair scrunched so tight into a pony tail with colourful scrunchies that her forehead stretches. She will wear a dark blue tracksuit with white stripes, an enormous puffa jacket, hoop earrings, and white trainers. Female chavs are forbidden from wearing socks, and all chavs must wear as much fake gold jewellery as they can fit on their bodies. Mobiles are an added status symbol, and when equipped, the chav must shout into it in the most anti-social way possible, using at least one expletive and the word "innit" per second. Every other word in between should be unrecognisable to non-chavs.

Cars: Typically the Vauxhall Nova, but could include Ford Escort/Orion, Vauxhall Astra, and for chavs with "bling", even a totally shagged 3 series BMW. Whatever the type of car, it must have a spoiler shaped plank of MDF nailed to the back, 20" alloy wheels which rub on the wheel arches over every bump, a badly fitted bodykit (extra points for being able to see EXACTLY where the car ends and bodykit starts), a lairy paint job with runs in it, exhaust pipes the size of the space shuttle's booster nozzles, and blue LED's on the washer jets. Neon undercar lighting is also desirable.

Attitude: The chav's attitude depends heavily on the number of mates backing him up. If he's on his own, he'll skulk along anonymously. In numbers, he'll challenge anyone to anything.

PS: Here's a funny video (http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=2457550630150624327) of what happens when two chavs happy slap the wrong guy's girlfriend.

PPS: Hope this post isn't too low road...

RaspberrySurprise
April 26, 2008, 12:48 AM
First they gave up their guns, then they gave up their God. No Jesus, no peace, know Jesus, know peace.
Scanr I'm not sure if your trying to imply a lack of Jesus or religion makes a person bad by default or that it is a cure for such things but that's how it seems to me.

Deanimator
April 26, 2008, 08:43 AM
With the exception of a few "wilding" incidents, there is no widespread evidence of feral children (especially of the 5 - 12 years old variety) or the "yobs" (13 - 25 years old) going around in packs and face-slapping folks randomly because they can get away with it, or of herds of them running amuck in a grocery store much like the scence from Police Academy I.
In Cleveland last year, a 15 year old (out on probation for armed robbery) tried to rob a guy on his own front lawn. He got drilled for his trouble.

His mutant family and friends started a stink about his "suicide by citizen". They were horrified to have just about the ENTIRE community tell them what to kiss and when. There was virtually NO sympathy for poor Arthur Buford. The general consensus from EVERYBODY was, "Armed robbery's dangerous. You might want to rethink it as a career choice".

I like to tell that story to anti-gunners, especially Brits. The idea of somebody NOT putting his life in the hands of a previously convicted violent felon just sends them into a tizzy.

Deanimator
April 26, 2008, 08:47 AM
Scanr I'm not sure if your trying to imply a lack of Jesus or religion makes a person bad by default or that it is a cure for such things but that's how it seems to me.
Hey, as long as you protect your 2nd Amendment rights, it'll never be anything more than a suggestion.

Armed agnosticism, indifference with the courage of its convictions! ;)

John828
April 26, 2008, 08:59 AM
Attitude: The chav's attitude depends heavily on the number of mates backing him up. If he's on his own, he'll skulk along anonymously. In numbers, he'll challenge anyone to anything.

Typical of a true coward. Where are the fathers of these miscreants?

That video was great. If only more people would stand up and fight back, the chav's would then only pick on the truly weak--themselves.

Gerald in Ga
April 26, 2008, 09:11 AM
jakeswensonmt,
Excellent video!!!!!

FieroCDSP
April 26, 2008, 09:25 AM
His mutant family and friends started a stink about his "suicide by citizen". They were horrified to have just about the ENTIRE community tell them what to kiss and when. There was virtually NO sympathy for poor Arthur Buford.

The friends and relations of the kid promptly vandalized the victim's house, breaking every window. I'm a bit surprised they didn't torch it, since that would have vindicated the kid's actions that got him killed. :banghead:

That video was great. The punks deserved to get their butts kicked by that guy. Someone pulls that crap on me or a friend, it's on.

digiears
April 26, 2008, 09:37 AM
"An armed society is a polite society"
Robert Heinlein

Had to be said.

macadore
April 26, 2008, 09:46 AM
Folks will have guns in all of these places and if you break into their homes they will probably kill you.

They will occasionally kill each other in anger or by mistake, but you never feel as unsafe as you can feel in south London.

It is a paradox. Along with the guns there is a tranquillity and civility about American life of which most British people can only dream.

No paradox. As Heinlein said, ďAn armed society is a polite societyĒ.

Scanr
April 26, 2008, 10:18 AM
off topic

macadore
April 26, 2008, 10:55 AM
Without a moral compass a person is given leeway to determine what is right to them.

Donít go there. Youíre not the only ones with morals. Is it more righteous to live a moral life because youíre a coward and fear Hell, or to live a righteous life because you feel it is the right thing to do? Pharisees need an external moral compass because they lack an internal moral compass. I realize you canít understand that. You really donít want to have this discussion. It will not be like preaching to the choir, and the moderators will not let it continue. I wish they would close threads like this as soon as your kind starts condescending.

mgregg85
April 26, 2008, 11:03 AM
Why doesn't anyone ever include the rest of the Heinlein quote?

I rather like the full version...
An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life.

schloe
April 26, 2008, 11:24 AM
get that stuff out of here Scanr

Scanr
April 26, 2008, 11:26 AM
I do understand what you are saying, but that is going off topic so this is as much of a response you will receive.

rero360
April 26, 2008, 02:22 PM
Scanr,

this is a firearms forum, not a religious forum, not everyone here is christian, there are Jews, Muslims, Atheists, Buddhists (myself included) Taoists, Hinduists, those who follow Wicca, and every other concievable religion and philosophy. To state that being of one religion over another makes a person a better person is pure ignorance, and is one the main problems with the world today.

A good person is a good person, whether he follows what is written in a book or by what his gut tells him. There are plenty of good and bad examples for any religion or philosophy. One must judge each and every individual by their own personal actions.

Getting back on topic, those two in the video got off lucky, someone was to do that to my woman, they'd end up in the hospital in a coma for their efforts. Plus I'd sue them for assult and battery.

AJ Dual
April 26, 2008, 04:45 PM
This mirrors my experience knowing some British ex-pats who have relocated to America.

Simply put, when it comes to crime, their worst can't hold a candle to ours. There's no denying that. Your average British chav dropped in a real American ghetto would not survive long. Conversely, I'm sure he'd be quite the menace in one of our suburbs. However, their worst is pretty much distributed evenly everywhere. Yet another side effect of socialism. Everyone here in the U.S. knows a horror story first or second-hand of when "section 8" housing goes up in a particular area and things start going to hell.

Now do that to an entire country, smaller than many U.S. states, and you begin to grasp their problem.

Despite our troubles, 95% of America is an exceptionally laid-back and sane place to live, which is why the statistics the "blame America first" crowd, both foreign and domestic loves to point out endlessly don't matter to most of us. And even where America is far from safe and sane, our criminal element thankfully seems somewhat more prone to engaging with itself. It all seems a fair trade to me, and I'll also flat out say so to anyone who asks.

Just by way of example, if Detroit were to be annexed by Canada, our per-capita crime-rates would suddenly be almost even. The cancer we suffer here is still largely compartmentalized. And we do not have as strong a socialist tradition to metastasize it.

And frankly, whatever ancillary death we do have here from firearms ownership that's above and beyond the much, much, much stronger crime drivers of culture and socio-economics is worth our freedom.

Cosmoline
April 26, 2008, 05:15 PM
It's true that when violence does rear its head here it tends to be extremely serious and often lethal. But at the same time, you won't see people ignoring or turning a blind eye to public assaults. Just a few weeks back a fellow was fighting another on 4th ave. near my office. One of them went down, and the other continued to kick him in the head. Before I even had a chance to call the cops, a passer by from down the block ran full tilt and tackled the kicker, detaining him until the cops showed up. It reminded me of the video from Denmark(?) of the man slashing his ex and almost killing her while the passer byes either ignored it or tried very ineffectually to do something about it. We do kill each other sometimes, and sometimes shoot when we shouldn't, but at least we don't stand by and watch in helplessness.

punchdrunk
April 26, 2008, 05:40 PM
If you eliminate the gang vs gang killings our stats get pretty sparse.

XD Fan
April 26, 2008, 06:19 PM
Citation, punchdrunk? My instinct agrees with your suggestion, but I would really like to be able to back that up in a covnersation with an anti.

CypherNinja
April 26, 2008, 08:43 PM
+1 on the Cleveland incident. After the home was vandalized a number of Cleveland PD officers volunteered their off-duty time to watch the guy's house.

If I remember correctly, they found a gun in somebody's mailbox a couple of houses down that was ditched by the fleeing accomplice(s).

Zedicus
April 26, 2008, 10:04 PM
the UK, the ONLY place that would be "Disappointed" by a Lack of Violent Crime in the USA....

3rdpig
April 27, 2008, 01:09 AM
I've got a British client who's lived in the USA for 30 years. She went back for the first time last year and she said she'll NEVER go back again. She said she was scared to death the whole time she was there. But she still refuses to accept that guns in the hands of citizens, even if you don't own them yourself, makes us safer. The just can't get it through their heads that a disarmed populace means criminals, thugs, drunks, youth gangs, etc, etc, become emboldened to do anything they please, and her description of London and what I've read, really drives that point home.

Heinlein was right, when you have to back up your manners with your life random happy slapping becomes a risky business, as well it should be.

LightningJoe
April 27, 2008, 01:31 AM
The happy-slapping video was great. Wonder why they don't do that stuff in Texas? Oh. Nevermind.

LightningJoe
April 27, 2008, 01:33 AM
You know, if my wife and I were walking along and we passed two guys and one of them reached out and slapped her face, she would beat his ass. I guess I'd take the other guy.

Albatross
April 27, 2008, 01:59 AM
If I bumped someone walking past me while gesturing and that person started assaulting me I'd aggressively defend myself.

Looked like an accident to me and assaulting someone for an accident is a good way to get shot or go to jail for assault. I don't think "But officer, he bumped my wife!" defense is a good one for throwing punches.

By the way, this video has been on the Internet for years and years. Long before chavs and happy slapping. I don't think it is related, just retitled.

LightningJoe
April 27, 2008, 02:06 AM
If I bumped someone walking past me while gesturing and that person started assaulting me I'd aggressively defend myself.


Good luck. My wife is the only person I know who's ever put somebody in the hospital barehanded (it wasn't me). Anyway, good guys who accidentally slap somebody while gesturing apologize profusely and immediately.

Dolvio
April 27, 2008, 03:35 AM
That video is from Russia...not England. It was an accident and the guy with the girl was a semi-pro boxer...think his testosterone was clouding his judgment.

This vid is from Wales:

http://www.metacafe.com/watch/156435/random_face_punching/

woodybrighton
April 27, 2008, 05:07 AM
swings and roundabouts we have more yobbish behavior but we always have had its nothing new :(
spree shootings exactly twice with years apart unlikely to happen again.
different society different rules

DagoRed
April 27, 2008, 10:19 AM
Interesting read, thanks for posting it.

Pilot
April 27, 2008, 10:30 AM
If you eliminate the gang vs gang killings our stats get pretty sparse.

X2. And its also limited to urban centers. Get out of the inner city and the stats on gun violence go WAY down. It mostly occurs in poor, minority neighborhoods where the overall crime rate is higher. This needs to be fixed folks, but not by limiting LEGAL gun ownership.

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