Not what we had planned for this morning, actually, but frequent commenter
Oberndorfer Stefan van den Borght (oops, sorry) sends a link to an article about what the reporter clearly thinks is a terrifying explosion of gun ownership in Franconia, a bucolic, mostly rural region of Bavaria.
Before we dig into a brief excerpt that made us laugh out loud, note that Bavaria is arguably the most traditional-minded and conservative of the states of the former West Germany. Bavaria preserved the greatest amount of the Old German hunting tradition. Franconia, specifically, is the home of Germany’s largest and most prominent guns-and-hunting empire, Waffen Frankonia aka Frankonia Jagd, kind of like Kittery Trading Post or Cabela’s with a German accent: traditional tyrolean hats and loden coats instead of Elmer Fudd caps and plaid jackets. So there’s a gun culture of centuries’ standing here, but the reporter, like journos everywhere, is mystified:
Die Zahl der Straftaten mit Schusswaffen im Landkreis Neustadt a.d. Aisch-Bad Windsheim ist der Polizei zufolge trotz der hohen Waffenbesitzquote eher unterdurchschnittlich. Die Polizei registrierte nach eigenen Angaben 15 solcher Fälle im Jahr 2012.
Bwahahaha! Oh wait, you don’t read the language of Goethe (or the nameless reporter), do you? Allow us to translate:
The number of crimes with firearms in the county of Neustast an der Aisch / Bad Windesheim is, according to the police, rather lower than average, despite the high number of weapons-possession permits.
Mystery, innit? And, yes, he said “despite.” We’ve seen more than a few Anglophone journalists make that same logical error, haven’t we? (Note, too, that the permit they’re talking about, the WBK, lets you possess firearms alone. You can’t necessarily do anything with them).
But wait, it gets better. Because to get the number up to “below average,” they have to throw in everything but the kitchen sink as a “gun crime” (another dodge beloved of Yank journos). Let’s continue, auf deutsch and then immediately in good ol;’ American:
Der Durchschnitt in Mittelfranken liege bei 20 – inklusive Straftaten mit Schreckschusswaffen. Davon gab es im Landkreis elf Vorfälle. Straftaten mit scharfem Schusswaffengebrauch, bei denen Menschen verletzt wurden, gab es im Landkreis in den letzten zwei Jahren nicht.
The average in Middle Franconia is about 20 [crimes] — including crimes with non-lethal weapons. Of those there were 11 incidents in the county. Crimes with the use of lethal firearms, in which people were injured, have not occurred in the county in the last two years.
So parsing that into logical English, there are about 20 crimes a year in that counyy with some kind of firearm-looking thing, 11 of which were determined to be with blank, replica, or tear-gas guns. That means there are 9 crimes committed with real guns, or at least, with guns that could not be determined to be fake guns. (A robbery goes down as a real gun unless or until they catch the perp and determine he was packing non-heat).
This was not lost on the readers of the paper. The very first comment, referring to the story’s hyperventilation over the 5,000 registered weapons in the city of Amberg:
In Amberg, it’s like Kennesaw, USA. A city full of weapons brings peace and order….
And at the end of the story, they note that there were 54 dead through firearms in Germany (the construction of the sentence makes us suspect this is homicides, suicides and accidents all together), of which 27 — exactly half! — were with registered weapons. This strongly suggests that gun homicides are disproportionately done with unregistered, black-market guns.
We support freedom everywhere. Germans would be safer if there were 50,000 registered firearms in Amberg, and safer yet if they didn’t have to be registered. Russians would be safer if they could own handguns; how about it, Vladimir Vladimirovich? It’s culture, not weapons, that drives homicides.