Archive for March 26th, 2005

Lord Callaghan dies

When I heard this, I immediately thought, so what? I never liked the man, and I never liked the “Winter of discontent”.

But then I heard something else that sort of changed my view a little. No, on reflection, it changed my mind a lot.

I learned he died just eleven days after his wife died.

So I reappraise my views. I mean, with love of this kind… there must have been something a little more to the man than I first thought.

Rest in peace, Lord Callaghan.



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Do guns kill people?

Annie with her gun

I know people argue that the expression that “people kill people rather than guns kill people” is wrong. But is it?

The fact is, people with guns kill people. But also people with knives kill people, and people with iron bars in their hands kill people.

So surely, the common denominator here has to be, people kill people. They kill animals as well, but for this blog, that’s another story.

On August 19th 1987, a lone gunman Michael Ryan, went on the rampage through the sleepy English market town of Hungerford, shooting dead 15 people and wounding 14 others, before turning the gun on himself.

On the 13th. March 1996, Thomas Hamilton (43) walked into Dunblane Primary School armed with 4 legally held weapons. In the space of 3 minutes he shot 3 staff and 28 pupils. Of these 1 staff member died and 16 children were killed.

Both Ryan and Hamilton had guns purchased after the police had authorised firearm certificates to be issued to each of them.

In both these killings it was established afterwards that the people were of unsound minds and should never have been issued with firearm certificates.

But the simplest solution of blaming the police and tightening up the issue of these certificates was not contemplated. Oh no, legally held guns fired at ranges by enthusuasts throughout Britain were banned.

In fact the rules were so draconian that, if London holds the Olympics in 2012, they are going to have to alter the law so that three pistol events may be held in Britain!

The prime minister, Tony Blair, at the time, said “This will remove all guns from our society”. Ha Ha Ha! Burglars, never certain whether householders would be armed, were very circumspect. Now they don’t give a hoot, and smash their way out if a householder dares to try to aprehend them. As for guns off our street. Villains all seem to be armed, and not with ordinary pistols but with machine guns et al.

I think all householders without criminal records should be allowed to keep guns.

OK, now a lot of you will scream about what happens in America. My answer to you, dear reader, is to button your lip! How dare you suggest we are as excitable as the Americans. We are not.

There is a country in Europe where all males between 18 and 65 are permantly armed. And a lot of woman as well. The government actually supply these guns free and allow the people to buy extra weapons for their other family members at reduced market prices. They even have shooting fairs throughout the country where children as young as twelve learn to shoot.

Hands up if you know what European country it is? I will give you a clue.

Here is an article on the BBC website, cut short for space…

Guns are deeply rooted within their culture – but the gun crime rate is so low that statistics are not even kept.

The country has a population of six million, but there are estimated to be at least two million publicly-owned firearms, including about 600,000 automatic rifles and 500,000 pistols.

This is in a very large part due to this country’s unique system of national defence, developed over the centuries.

Instead of a standing, full-time army, the country requires every man to undergo some form of military training for a few days or weeks a year throughout most of their lives.

Between the ages of 21 and 32 men serve as frontline troops. They are given an M-57 assault rifle and 24 rounds of ammunition which they are required to keep at home.

Once discharged, men serve in their equivalent of the US National Guard, but still have to train occasionally and are given bolt rifles. Women do not have to own firearms, but are encouraged to.

The frontier of Switzerland

Have you guessed the country? It is Switzerland!

I offer the suggestion that we are a little more like the swiss than we are like the Americans when it comes to behaving responsibly with firearms.

Mind you, we would also have to adopt the military training part as guns are dangerous in the hands of people who haven’t been trained. The police learned that the hard way, years ago.

Also, a country where most of the citizens carry guns is less likely to be invaded.

During WW2 Hitler gave the order to invade Switzerland but the Generals managed to persuade Hitler that it would be too costly as all the Swiss were armed and the majority lived up in the mountains.

The British used to be a strong nation of warriors. Our army is still better than any other. But most our people are mollycoddled from the day they are born to the day they die.

I will leave you, dear reader, to read, digest, and make your own minds up here. And that includes you, Keith!


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