The Christmas Gun, and Some Advice for Britons

You know you’re on target when you start taking flak from Britain’s low-class tabloids, like the Daily Mail. When you’re driving even the oiks’ own oikophobia to a Nigel-Tufnel-esque 11, you’re doing something right. And the Scrooges at the Mail are alarmed that we give one another guns for Christmas over here. “What, are there no prisons?” the editor asks. “Are the workhouses closed?”

Mail freaks over gun gifts

The Mail has a bunch more Christmas guns at the link, complete with a tone like a Shakespearean actor who just had Larry the Cable Guy stumble on to his set. Unsurprisingly, for dwellers in the wannabe Gun-Free Zone that’s modern Britain, they confuse a BB gun for a firearm at least twice — but then, so do the gun laws of such backward jurisdictions.

Really, free people do fine with guns. You guys should try it. We owe you a cultural revolution as payback for the Beatles, anyway.

Some advice for Britons facing their frightening first firearm:

  • Guns are not slimy, merely cool and smooth to the touch.
  • Listen to and heed the safety briefing.
  • Hold the firearm firmly and with confidence. It may help to pretend you’re one of your own Victorian forebears, like Sir Harry Flashman or Blackadder or somebody like that, from before you gave the keys to the nation to any of the recent ninnies. (Not that our ninnies are any better).
  • We think you’d benefit from liberalizing your laws, but we recognize your human right to organize your laws any way that suits you. Please extend us the same respect and we’ll get on swimmingly.

Likewise, we think other jurisdictions with strict gun laws might do well to liberalize theirs, but should any of our deprived friends from Penzance to Petropavlovsk find himself in the northeastern USA, drop by and we’ll take you to the range to shoot all the stuff that’s illegal back home. We promise you will get home with the same number of bullet holes you have now. (We used to say “zero bullet holes,” but our friends come from a somewhat more ventilated demographic).

Previous British attempts to persuade us to keep your royals’ mugs on our currency, to dine on the parts of the animal the hunter normally discards (and the slaughterhouse turns into pet food), and to play football without any hands, have not been crowned with success. So keep the persuasion low-key and don’t expect much, and we in turn will not try to replace your cultural touchstones, like David Bowie or Mr Bean, with our cultural touchstones, like John Wayne or Clint Eastwood.

You did, however, sell us an entire sealift of Beatles records, back in the day, so there is that.

H/t Stranger at Extrano’s Alley, who also charts out British vs US crime rates. Doing the math that he did not put in his post, if you count murders as stated by the crime stats (542 for the year ending 30 Jun 13), and take the UK mid-2013 population estimate from the Office of National Statistics (remembering to discard Scotland and NI to match data with the crime data, which are England and Wales only),  you get 0.93 compared to the US’s much higher 4.5. However,the UK uses an idiosyncratic definition of homicide which excludes all cases in which a suspect has not been both identified and convicted — so cold cases and even open cases that are presently in the courts are not “homicides,” although the victims are no less dead. If you count murdered bodies, US-style, instead of murder convictions,the England and Wales rate is around 2.8 per 100,000 living inhabitants — still lower than the overall US rate, but higher than some US states, and very close to the US homicide rate for whites (that’s 2011 data, see p. 4 of the .pdf). The higher US homicide rate is driven by much higher rates (17+ per 100k!) in our very much larger black population.

12 thoughts on “The Christmas Gun, and Some Advice for Britons

  1. Martin S

    There is a low intensity but constant stream of horrified, pearl clutching “americans and guns” documentaries from the UK.

    The way so many nations spend so much time on US gun laws is annoying. But at least from this norwegian, your gun laws are ok (but there are elements from other nations I’d prefer). And i have spent much time understanding them, to hopefully dispell the “machineguns over the counter” myth so damned prevalent.

    What if the US spent as much time on other nations legislation, including trying to change them, as they do, I wonder how loud they’d complain.

    1. Hognose Post author

      Well, the US does throw its weight around. I was in Oslo during some of the run-up to Desert Storm, and I recall a street demonstration — the usual University crowd — about American imperialism. I mentioned to a friend that the only imperialism the US ever inflicted on the world these days was cultural imperialism — waving at a magazine rack. A young Norwegian hipster who was thumbing through an American guitar magazine looked over his shoulder and said, “You got that shit right.” In a classically Norwegian accent. We nearly fell over laughing.

      We went along to see the protest, and somebody stood up and harangued the crowd, and they went off and protested at the Russian/Soviet embassy. I dunno what Ivan did that pissed them off more than our impending war in the mideast — I couldn’t follow the speaker’s Norsk — but it must have been something, or maybe students just protest for any reason, and small nations are always a bit nervous about the big nations around them.

      With good reason, historically.

      1. Martin S

        Students will be students, I’d consider being more scared of a country where the students didnt protest Some Stupid Shit or other. And I’d wager most guys are there to meet girls anyways.

        Hell I’m sure the ancient greeks grumbled about their own students objecting vociferously to whatever Stupid Shit was popular at the time. Romans probably had demonstrations on Vigiles heavy handedness and chants of “slave/peregrini/barbarian lives matter” or some such.

        That cultural imperialism is still strong. Hell, you can’t embrace our viking cultural heritage, the neo- nazis ruined it just like Hitler did the ‘tache.

        Any Norway related stories to regale us with BTW?

        1. Burnt Toast

          “Any Norway related stories to regale us with BTW?”

          From my Great Grandfather Rolstad,
          You can always tell a Norwegian, but you cannot tell them much.

          Good story, Eh?

  2. Y.

    Linking or caring about the article just helps Daily Mail stronger.

    I imagine the journalist knows full-well the article is full of shit, but publishes it anyway, as outraging the Americans probably gets them multiples of hits they’d expect if it wasn’t outrageous..

  3. Tom Schultz

    Brits, down deep just don’t like us as a nation. It is just based on four little things that they just cannot accept and face up to. We whipped their asses twice and bailed them out twice.

    And as Uncle Walter used to close with “And that’s the way it is…..”

    1. Y.

      And you shouldn’t have bailed them out. Central Powers victory in WWI would have prevented both WWII and the rise of Communism. What would have been the downsides? The Frogs having to eat humble pie once again? Would that have been so awful?

      With hindsight, US involvement in WWI was a geopolitical disaster.

  4. Think Defence (@thinkdefence)

    I wouldn’t worry about a Daily Mail article to be honest guys, there is no constant stream of news pieces about American gun laws, I just don’t think we care, frankly.

    Anyway, with our repressive gun laws at least we don’t have 2 year olds gunning their mothers down in Walmart whilst paying for the shopping.

    Horses for courses and all that

    Tom, am embarrassed for you

  5. Boat Guy

    Ah Jeez, Rupert (or whatever your “ThinkDefence” name might be) lets not get all knickers-in-a-twist about an isolated tragedy when residing in a country where child-rape is condoned in the name of “sensitivity”.
    Thanks for Mark Knopfler, though…

  6. Think Defence (@thinkdefence)

    My knickers are not in a twist, am sure we all have things that happen in our nations that we don’t like but I think I am one safe ground with ‘accidental shootings’ or the lack thereof, where I live, something I am actually rather pleased about.

    The post was about a news article moaning about your gun laws and as I said, frankly, no one actually cares. I do wish British journalists would refrain from writing about things they know nothing of, including US gun laws.

    That said, and it is something that I have mentioned before, you guys are happy with what you have, we, likewise. Which is all good, I am not going to advocate you changing your laws because 1) I don’t know enough 2) it aint none of my business and 3) trying to compare two completely different societies whilst trying to prove a point is rather pointless

    Anyway, thanks for Pat Benatar *

    Might be showing my age there :)

    1. Hognose Post author

      True enough. We have Christmas Eve shootings at movie premieres here.
      http://news-briefs.ew.com/2014/12/24/atlanta-movie-theater-shooting/?xid=outbrain#
      Of course, the news stories don’t mention that the movie was one celebrating, shall we say, urban criminals. “Nobody snitched!” to the Atlanta police about who the shooters were.

      Horses for courses. We Yanks may occasionally have to eat lead, but we don’t have yobs doing amateur plastic surgery with a beer glass. Happy New Year to our English and British cousins (the literal and figurative ones alike), the hour will be tolling soon on your side of the pond. We have six hours to go.

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