Monday, December 08, 2008

Leaving Las Vegas

Well, I lost big. Of my designated $10 gambling fund, I lost $6, then gave the remaining chit to my Sweetie, who proceeded to lose the rest of it.

I was hoping to finance our dinner at Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill (tuna, if you must know, and God's own chili relleno), but the penny slots refused to cooperate.

Gunwise, I note in the Chicago Sun Times this AM that President Elect Hussein Obama says we don't need to buy guns, since he believes in the Second Amendment:
"I believe in common-sense gun safety laws, and I believe in the second amendment," Obama said at a news conference. "Lawful gun owners have nothing to fear. I said that throughout the campaign. I haven't indicated anything different during the transition. I think people can take me at my word."
Obama also reportedly promised that he will respect us all in the morning and that, on his proverbial word, he will do nothing...untoward...in any of our orifices.

Here's a much better gunny article from Richard Munday in the Times of London...at least some Brits get it!
The guns used in last week’s Bombay massacre were all “prohibited weapons” under Indian law, just as they are in Britain. In this country we have seen the irrelevance of such bans (handgun crime, for instance, doubled here within five years of the prohibition of legal pistol ownership), but the largely drug-related nature of most extreme violence here has left most of us with a sheltered awareness of the threat. We have not yet faced a determined and broad-based attack.

The Mumbai massacre also exposed the myth that arming the police force guarantees security. Sebastian D’Souza, a picture editor on the Mumbai Mirror who took some of the dramatic pictures of the assault on the Chhatrapati Shivaji railway station, was angered to find India’s armed police taking cover and apparently failing to engage the gunmen.

In Britain we might recall the prolonged failure of armed police to contain the Hungerford killer, whose rampage lasted more than four hours, and who in the end shot himself. In Dunblane, too, it was the killer who ended his own life: even at best, police response is almost always belated when gunmen are on the loose. One might think, too, of the McDonald’s massacre in San Ysidro, California, in 1984, where the Swat team waited for their leader (who was held up in a traffic jam) while 21 unarmed diners were murdered.

Rhetoric about standing firm against terrorists aside, in Britain we have no more legal deterrent to prevent an armed assault than did the people of Mumbai, and individually we would be just as helpless as victims. The Mumbai massacre could happen in London tomorrow; but probably it could not have happened to Londoners 100 years ago.

In January 1909 two such anarchists, lately come from an attempt to blow up the president of France, tried to commit a robbery in north London, armed with automatic pistols. Edwardian Londoners, however, shot back – and the anarchists were pursued through the streets by a spontaneous hue-and-cry. The police, who could not find the key to their own gun cupboard, borrowed at least four pistols from passers-by, while other citizens armed with revolvers and shotguns preferred to use their weapons themselves to bring the assailants down.

Today we are probably more shocked at the idea of so many ordinary Londoners carrying guns in the street than we are at the idea of an armed robbery. But the world of Conan Doyle’s Dr Watson, pocketing his revolver before he walked the London streets, was real. The arming of the populace guaranteed rather than disturbed the peace.

That armed England existed within living memory; but it is now so alien to our expectations that it has become a foreign country. Our image of an armed society is conditioned instead by America: or by what we imagine we know about America. It is a skewed image, because (despite the Second Amendment) until recently in much of the US it has been illegal to bear arms outside the home or workplace; and therefore only people willing to defy the law have carried weapons.

In the past two decades the enactment of “right to carry” legislation in the majority of states, and the issue of permits for the carrying of concealed firearms to citizens of good repute, has brought a radical change. Opponents of the right to bear arms predicted that right to carry would cause blood to flow in the streets, but the reverse has been true: violent crime in America has plummeted.

There are exceptions: Virginia Tech, the site of the 2007 massacre of 32 people, was one local “gun-free zone” that forbade the bearing of arms even to those with a licence to carry.

In Britain we are not yet ready to recall the final liberty of the subject listed by William Blackstone in his Commentaries on the Laws of England as underpinning all others: “The right of having and using arms for self-preservation and defence.” We would still not be ready to do so were the Mumbai massacre to happen in London tomorrow.

“Among the many misdeeds of British rule in India,” Mahatma Gandhi said, “history will look upon the act depriving a whole nation of arms as the blackest.” The Mumbai massacre is a bitter postscript to Gandhi’s comment. D’Souza now laments his own helplessness in the face of the killers: “I only wish I had had a gun rather than a camera.”

7 comments:

SMP242 said...

Here in the US most if not all police departments are required by SOP to engage in active shooter situations (malls, schools, etc)immediately. We do not wait for SWAT. One of the lessons learned from Columbine. In fact our training here in Florida has been changed to include active shooter response until the calvary arrives

Anonymous said...

Not much to say, that was summed up rather nicely. God help the Republic. the mushroom

Anonymous said...

Very well said AND argued! This should be required reading ever U. S. government and civics class, as the "fair-and-balanced" side of the story.
Life Member

BobA said...

The unedited article is even better.

Bob said...

You notice that Obama, in his statement, put gun control first, and the 2nd Amendment last?

GunGeek said...

Speaking of Vegas chits... I stopped there a while back and I've got to say that the new coin-less slot machines seem rather boring. There's something about hearing real coins hitting the metal tray (as opposed to a digitized version of it played through speakers) and feeding real money into the machine and pulling down on a real handle that just cannot compare to having the unarmed bandit spit out a piece of paper telling you how much you won.

I enjoyed losing a few dollars to the old fashioned machine at the gas station (probably set to 4% payback) more than actually winning some on the new style.

Oh, and "amen" to the rest of your message. :)

Jerry The Geek said...

Sebastian D’Souza ... now, there is a man who has Seen the Elephant, and gets it.

To bad so many readers in America will completely ignore the lessons to be learned in Bombay.

Oh, excuse me; I mean Mumbai.

{Mumble mumble mumble)