Sorry folks, I just can’t resist taking the bait. I’m gonna talk about former CNN anchor and rabid anti-gunner Piers Morgan once again.
I know, I know you’re happy that he disappeared for awhile and the thought of discussing him at present likely makes you sick… But since he’s making the rounds lately, appearing on various talk shows spouting the same claptrap he always does about how awesome Britain’s ban on firearms is, which was enacted following the mass shooting at a primary school in Dunblane, Scotland, in March of 1996, I figured I’d at least post something to make him reconsider his position.
It comes courtesy of Sam Harris, a public intellectual and moderately pro-gun advocate. If you’ve never read any of Harris’s essays on guns or violence, you should on his blog SamHarris.Org. He’s extremely logical and thorough with his reasoning and research.
This is part of a longer post, but here is the essential part:
It is also worth noting that relatively gun-free countries are not as peaceful as many think. Here are some recent crime data comparing the U.S., the U.K., Australia, and Sweden. Although the U.S. has a higher rate of homicide, the problem of assaults and rapes in these other countries is worse. (Note 1/20/13: The crime of homicide is unique in that it admits of no ambiguity. However, many readers have pointed out that cultural differences in how often assaults and rapes get reported, and how they are defined by different police departments, makes comparing rates of nonlethal violence between countries problematic. I tend to agree. Nevertheless, these are the data that the UN supplies. Note 7/18/13: A skeptical look at international comparisons of crime statistics can be found here.)
Incidents in the year 2010 per 100,000 population
UK (includes Northern Ireland) 1.2
UK (England and Wales) 28.8
U.K. (England and Wales) 664.4
Source: United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)
Note: UNODC data and those of the Australian government do not agree. For Australian rates of Assault and Rape, I have relied on the report issued by the Australian Institute of Criminology
So, while the U.S. has many more murders, the U.K., Australia, and Sweden appear to have much higher levels of assault (I broke out the data on Scotland just to emphasize the point). One might think that having a few more murders per 100,000 persons each year is still much worse than having many hundreds more assaults. Perhaps it is. (One could also argue, as several readers have, that differences in proportion are all we should care about.) But there should be no doubt that the term “assault” often conceals some extraordinary instances of physical and psychological suffering.
Is banning firearms solely responsible for the difference in the numbers? Probably not. But there’s no doubt that it plays a role as a defenseless populous is one that is easily victimized, whether it be by a serial rapists, a band of hoodlums or a tyrannical government.
I’d also add that the homicide rate in the U.S. is inflated by gangs and drug-related activity which is a pandemic here when compared to Europe. Unfortunately, we have more gangbangers here, which leads to an overall higher homicide rate.
So Piers, how do you continue to justify the ban in light of those numbers?