06 April 2003

Winter Break in England

This winter break I spent 10 days in England. I had a great time. It was quite a cultural experience. People driving on the left side of the road, trying to cross the street without getting killed, strange accents, and video cameras every where you look.

Why the video cameras? It's to help the police. Crime is rampant in England. According to the English newspaper, The Telegraph, violent attacks, sexual offenses and car theft have all increased. Crime overall has increased 9.3%, domestic break-ins rose 7.9%, violence against people increased by 19%, sexual offences by 18.2%, car theft by 3.5%, and robberies by 14.5%. (news.telegraph.co.uk 1/10/03)

The crazy part of this story is not only the increases in crime across the board, but the fact that "police have been ordered not to bother investigating crimes such as burglary, vandalism and assaults unless evidence pointing to the culprits is easily available" (news.telegraph.co.uk 1/12/03). They have new guidelines ordering them to focus on "serious" crimes such as murder, rape or hate crimes. Oliver Letwin, Conservative home affairs spokesman stated, "This news will be regarded as the final nail in the coffin of this Government's policy on crime. Instead of zero tolerance it seems that we are to be faced with total tolerance" (news.telegraph.co.uk 12/1/03.

What is interesting about all of this is that England has such strict gun laws, that a person is not allowed to own any kind of gun, they are even considering outlawing airguns. One would think that guns are the cause of crime. In other words, more guns equals more crime, the fact is just the opposite. According to the United Nations, England and Wales have the highest crime rate among the world's leading economies. The report shows that people are more likely to be mugged, houses burglerized, robbed and assaulted in England than in the United States, Germany, Russia, South Africa, or any of the world's 20 largest countries

(news.telegraph.co.uk 1/12/02).

Even with all its gun control laws in effect gun violence is a major issue for England. Gun ownership was banned in 1996 following a shooting in Dunblane, Perthshire hoping to reduce the amount of guns available to criminals. However the opposite has been proven true. According to England's Internal Home Office Statistics, handgun crime is now at its highest since 1993 (news.telegraph.co.uk 2/24/02).

Gun control does not control criminals, it onlystrips law abiding citizens of the right to defend themselves. Subjects of her Royal Highness are sick and tired of being victims. In an editorial to The Telegraph Simon Heffer makes my point. He assumed that the people had a contract with the government. The government would protect the citizens from crime. However, "..it must, though, be clear that the state has broken that contract....The Government absolutely lacks the political will to deal with the violation of one of the most fundamental liberties of the people it governs: their right to feel safe in their own homes...it is time for the Government to confer a new right on the people: the right to bear arms. Gun control in this country is in any case a joke" (opinion.telegraph.co.uk 2/24/02)

We in the United States must learn from others. Gun control is not the answer, it hasn't worked anywhere. We need to learn from our friends in England whose police force is told to focus on "serious" crime. Like the Home Office in England said "The Government did not believe that banning handguns by itself would eradicate gun crime..." (news.telegraph.co.uk 7/15/01) So by disarming the citizens, what did they believe would happen? It's open season on the man on the street.

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