RKBA Commentary in the Times of London


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ArmedLiberal
December 7, 2008, 12:06 AM
Excellent comment in response to the Mumbai massacre.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/article5299010.ece


The Sunday Times
December 7, 2008

Think tank: If each of us carried a gun . . .
. . . we could help to combat terrorism

Richard Munday

The firearms massacres that have periodically caused shock and horror around the world have been dwarfed by the Mumbai shootings, in which a handful of gunmen left some 500 people killed or wounded.

For anybody who still believed in it, the Mumbai shootings exposed the myth of “gun control”. India had some of the strictest firearms laws in the world, going back to the Indian Arms Act of 1878, by which Britain had sought to prevent a recurrence of the Indian Mutiny.

The guns used in last week’s Bombay massacre were all “prohibited weapons” under Indian law, just as they are in Britain. In this country we have seen the irrelevance of such bans (handgun crime, for instance, doubled here within five years of the prohibition of legal pistol ownership), but the largely drug-related nature of most extreme violence here has left most of us with a sheltered awareness of the threat. We have not yet faced a determined and broad-based attack.

The Mumbai massacre also exposed the myth that arming the police force guarantees security. Sebastian D’Souza, a picture editor on the Mumbai Mirror who took some of the dramatic pictures of the assault on the Chhatrapati Shivaji railway station, was angered to find India’s armed police taking cover and apparently failing to engage the gunmen.

In Britain we might recall the prolonged failure of armed police to contain the Hungerford killer, whose rampage lasted more than four hours, and who in the end shot himself. In Dunblane, too, it was the killer who ended his own life: even at best, police response is almost always belated when gunmen are on the loose. One might think, too, of the McDonald’s massacre in San Ysidro, California, in 1984, where the Swat team waited for their leader (who was held up in a traffic jam) while 21 unarmed diners were murdered.

Rhetoric about standing firm against terrorists aside, in Britain we have no more legal deterrent to prevent an armed assault than did the people of Mumbai, and individually we would be just as helpless as victims. The Mumbai massacre could happen in London tomorrow; but probably it could not have happened to Londoners 100 years ago.

In January 1909 two such anarchists, lately come from an attempt to blow up the president of France, tried to commit a robbery in north London, armed with automatic pistols. Edwardian Londoners, however, shot back – and the anarchists were pursued through the streets by a spontaneous hue-and-cry. The police, who could not find the key to their own gun cupboard, borrowed at least four pistols from passers-by, while other citizens armed with revolvers and shotguns preferred to use their weapons themselves to bring the assailants down.

Today we are probably more shocked at the idea of so many ordinary Londoners carrying guns in the street than we are at the idea of an armed robbery. But the world of Conan Doyle’s Dr Watson, pocketing his revolver before he walked the London streets, was real. The arming of the populace guaranteed rather than disturbed the peace.

That armed England existed within living memory; but it is now so alien to our expectations that it has become a foreign country. Our image of an armed society is conditioned instead by America: or by what we imagine we know about America. It is a skewed image, because (despite the Second Amendment) until recently in much of the US it has been illegal to bear arms outside the home or workplace; and therefore only people willing to defy the law have carried weapons.

In the past two decades the enactment of “right to carry” legislation in the majority of states, and the issue of permits for the carrying of concealed firearms to citizens of good repute, has brought a radical change. Opponents of the right to bear arms predicted that right to carry would cause blood to flow in the streets, but the reverse has been true: violent crime in America has plummeted.

There are exceptions: Virginia Tech, the site of the 2007 massacre of 32 people, was one local “gun-free zone” that forbade the bearing of arms even to those with a licence to carry.

In Britain we are not yet ready to recall the final liberty of the subject listed by William Blackstone in his Commentaries on the Laws of England as underpinning all others: “The right of having and using arms for self-preservation and defence.” We would still not be ready to do so were the Mumbai massacre to happen in London tomorrow.

“Among the many misdeeds of British rule in India,” Mahatma Gandhi said, “history will look upon the act depriving a whole nation of arms as the blackest.” The Mumbai massacre is a bitter postscript to Gandhi’s comment. D’Souza now laments his own helplessness in the face of the killers: “I only wish I had had a gun rather than a camera.”

Richard Munday is the co-author and editor of Guns & Violence: The Debate Before Lord Cullen

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george29
December 7, 2008, 12:10 AM
Mods, this needs to be a sticky!

Eightball
December 7, 2008, 12:19 AM
Is there a way for us to email the author with praise of his work?

Alpine Storm
December 7, 2008, 02:17 AM
I am rubbing my eyes and pinching myself, this must be a dream!!! It's Logic, I thought journalists gave that nonsense up.

Bubba613
December 7, 2008, 03:34 AM
IN a country considering banning pointy kitchen knives I am afraid this is a voice crying in the wilderness.

Frangibility
December 7, 2008, 04:39 AM
Well, I've sent that on to a number of friends and family. That deserves a wider audience.

Frangibility
December 7, 2008, 04:40 AM
Well, I've sent that on to a number of friends and family. That deserves a wider audience.

DRYHUMOR
December 7, 2008, 06:54 AM
Outstanding.

subknave
December 7, 2008, 11:59 AM
I think I'm gonna cry!! A great article.

Master Blaster
December 7, 2008, 01:13 PM
Dont expect this to convince an anti.

Just like the mayor of NYC Bloomberg or any anti will tell you this is a result of the easy access to firearms in the neighboring state / country.
The real problem is that here are any guns, If there were NO GUNS at all the Terrosists would not have been able to commit the crime.
The crime is a result of loose gun control and easy access which enabled the terrorists to be armed.

Of course this is a stoooooopid arguement since guns will never completely disappear from the face of the earth.

The_Shootist
December 7, 2008, 01:19 PM
Maybe merge this thread with the one in General/

Its a dup, but a good one!!!:D

I've already started to spread this around.

7.62X25mm
December 7, 2008, 06:33 PM
Armed citizens in Israel stopped a terrorist at a holy site. They pulled out their legally held guns and shot him dead, proving that "a well regulated militia" is more than an abstract theory.

sailortoo
December 7, 2008, 10:49 PM
A refreshing read from a hopelessly lost "gun rights area". Maybe, just maybe, the pendulum is ready to swing back toward reality. Most persons that will look at a problem with logic, weighing both good and bad aspects, have got to realize the futility of "gun control/people control". An action such as Mumbia, where the small number of "bad guys" were so freely killing and injuring innocent people, plus major eye catching property damage, might set some responsible legislators (an oxymoron?) to reconsider their excesses.
sailortoo

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