Thursday, September 07, 2006

"What Must They Think of Our Guns?"

Here's one you just have to read, from Byron Williams over at Huffington:
The World Must Wonder How the U.S. Can Tolerate Guns


With the current spike in urban violence it is fair question ask is there a correlation between gun availability and escalating murder rates? While I don't believe there is a magic bullet that will eradicate the increase in urban violence, imagine if America embraced the type of gun control similar to Japan.
Shotguns are the only firearms that Japanese citizens can acquire. Sportsmen are permitted to possess shotguns for hunting and for skeet and trap shooting. This however, requires a lengthy licensing procedure. In Japan a person cannot hold a gun in his or her hands without a license.

The licensing procedure is extremely thorough. A prospective gun owner must attend classes and pass a written test. After the safety exam, the applicant takes a simple 'mental test' at a local hospital, to ensure that the applicant is not suffering from a readily detectable mental illness. The applicant then produces for the police a medical certificate attesting that he or she is mentally healthy and not addicted to drugs.

Moreover, the police investigate the applicant's background and relatives, ensuring that both are crime free. Membership in 'aggressive' political or activist groups disqualifies an applicant.

The police have unlimited discretion to deny licenses to any person for whom 'there is reasonable cause to suspect may be dangerous to other persons' lives. Perhaps, most important, handguns are illegal. They also have the right to conduct random searches of individuals who already have the license.
Well, that sounds festive, random searches and all! I always like it when "membership in aggressive political or activists groups" disqualifies one from the means of protecting his or herself from the more dominate political or activists groups. Plus, I would feel so much better if the police...make that the secret police, please...have total discretion on anything that effects my life! What a wonderful plan!

No that why the Japanese kill themselves at such a staggering rate (based on the 2003 statistics, "Every day nearly 100 people take their own lives, at a rate of almost one every 15 minutes.")? Naw, they must be happy as clams!

I particularly like Bitter Bitch'sone of my favorite commentators recently — response to the article:
I’m trying some statements on for size. Let’s see how they fit:

• Unfortunately, too many members of the clergy believe the First Amendment is absolute, thus, all religions should be legal to practice.

• Unfortunately, too many members of the media believe the First Amendment is absolute, thus, all newspapers should be legal to print.

• Unfortunately, too many members of believe the First Amendment is absolute, thus, all peaceful protests and rallies should be legal.

• Unfortunately, too many lawyers believe the Fourth Amendment is absolute, thus, all warrants should have probable cause.

• Unfortunately, too many members of the ACLU believe the Fifth Amendment is absolute, thus, all persons should be granted due process of law.

• Unfortunately, too many members of the Institute for Justice believe the Fifth Amendment is absolute, thus, all takings should be for true public use.

• Unfortunately, too many defendents believe the Sixth Amendment is absolute, thus, all trials should be speedy and public with and impartial jury.

• Unfortunately, too many citizens believe the Eighth Amendment is absolute, thus, all punishment should not be cruel or unusual.

Yet, I didn’t read any of those sentences. Instead, I read this one:

"Unfortunately, too many members of the National Rifle Association believe the Second Amendment is absolute, thus, all arms should be legal."
Amen, sister!

One thing that really torqued me off was Mr. Williams' "world-wide" must the civilized people of the world feel about all those American guns, which back up all those American rights?

Gosh Mr. Williams, I don't know about the whole world...I've never traveled in places with five star hotels and people who sip cappucino with thier little finger sticking out. But I have traveled in scary places, ruled over by men with guns.

In one country, my friends instructed me carefully on what to do when I met a military patrol...if in the city, step off the sidewalk into a gutter, remove my hat, lower my eyes and keep my head down, and pray they didn't notice me, since the military controlled all the drug running and "disappearances" in the country; if in the countryside, stay alert and try to hide from a military patrol...otherwise, step far away from the road, keep my head down and pray twice as hard.

I wonder what those campesinas standing with me in that gutter, up to our ankles in filthy water, our eyes downcast while "the militaria" decided whether to disappear us just for the hell of it thought America with all its guns...

Or the family of farmers kneeling at gunpoint on the side of the road in the rain, waiting their turn, while the "narcopolicia," neither police nor military but, essentially, franchised thugs, finished searching me...and collecting my bribe money...

Or the disappeared from the old Russian republics, where the preferred form of execution is by boiling...

Or the girls and boys from Eastern Europe and the Pacific Rim sold into sex slavery...

Or the citizens of the once-free state of England doing time for defending their lives...

Or the Muslim woman from Bosnia, a world-class runner, I interviewed once who dispassionately described how people she once considered friends and training partners tortured and repeatedly gang-raped her...or the American woman hooked up to batteries in South America...or the people of Rwanda, or Dafur, or any one of a hundred hellholes...

Or or or...

Gee Mr. they must wonder how we tolerate those guns...and wish to god that they had them!


Anonymous said...

"Imagine if America embraced the type of gun control similar to Japan."

OK, let's examine Japan, where only the Yakuza and Police have guns. For common folk intent on commiting crimes of violence against another, or suicide (over 35K a year!), they must resort to all other sorts of horrible means to accomplish their goal. They've been known to use knives, golf-clubs, dish-towels, gravity, commuter trains, carbon-dioxide, metal bats, poisoned curry, sarin gas, axes and ash-trays. Doesn't sound like the crime-free Utopia the author made it to sound like, does it?

Fact is, bad people will always find a way to have weapons.

Anonymous said...

I recall reading somewhere that every person in Japan is required by law to go to the police station once a year for an "interview" with the cops - presumably to see that they've been good little boys and girls and haven't been bothering their neighbours by playing their steroes too loudly...

Anonymous said...

Mr. Williams is only advocating a more stringent system that screnes out the wrong people. For instance, we know that so much crime occurs in the inner cities among heavily minority communities. With a system like Japans we could effectively keep guns out of these "inner city hands."

Let's face reality. So many people in America do not have the education or intelligence to safely own firearms. That is why we need a Japanese style system that Mr. Williams calls for. This will keep guns out of the hands of those who should not own them based on their socio-economic status and limit that right to those that are of, shall we say, a more respectable and therefore trustworthy class.

It is important to remember that rights aren't absolute. There must be some restraint as to the level one can exercise their rights. We seemed to have ignored this simple truth ever since we lost the whole 3/5th of a vote issue some time ago. That's where the slippery slope of absolutism really took hold and look where we are today.

I say Bravo Mr. Williams! Let's first deal with the 2nd amendment then we can revisit the 3/5ths vote and really get this country back on track.

Anonymous said...

So what the above poster saying is, if I happen to be a poverty-stricken "minority" and lacking of an education level of some arbitrary standard of your choosing, that I have no right to defend myself with a firearm?

How ignorant of you.

Also, rights are absolute insofar as long as they do not tread upon the rights of others. The fact that I own a firearm in no way treads upon someone else's decision not to. It is not up to you to decide how I live my life as a free man.

Anonymous said...


I suspect that the Anonymous poster was being sarcastic.

Anonymous said...

Uh, not trying to start anything here, but I gotta ask.

Why would anyone bother reading anything with "" attached to the end of it?

I've seen links to this particular article at least three other places on the Internet.

And you know what? I've still managed to avoid reading it.