Monday, 30 March 2009

A Snapshot of British Society? (Yorkshire Evening Post)

I would like to draw your attention to this front page article of the Yorkshire Evening Post. For any bloggers unfamiliar with the region, West Yorkshire is a largely metropolitan area in the North of England and includes the cities of Leeds, Bradford and their respective urban towns and suburbs. The area has a population of around 5 million people. The investigation into the July 7th terrorist bombings had a particular focus on this area. The article highlights the figures of knife and gun crime in the past 2 yrs, with nearly 500 people suffering a knife attack and 28 being stabbed to death. A further 280 people were shot, 4 of whom died and 50 classed as `seriously hurt`. Victims included schoolboys, fathers, grandmothers and police officers. It was, however, comforting to hear the police spokesman, Inspector Steve Emmett reassure us by saying that `compared with other areas we do not have a serious knife crime problem`. Phew! and thank goodness for that, but what a shame about those nasty `other areas` he declined to name. Stop Press: There was another fatal shooting in Bradford early this morning, with a second person seriously injured in the same `domestic` incident. It is a pure co-incidence that Leeds is also the home to The Royal Armouries, Britains National Museum of arms and armour, formally held at The Tower of London but moved to Leeds some years ago - a totally absorbing place and well worth a visit. The Armouries do a lot of work liaising with local groups working to reduce the gun and knife culture as well as displaying a simply amazing collection, with live interpretations of moments in history, Broadsword fighting displays and jousting in their outdoor Tiltyard. Handguns, pump action shotguns, automatic weapons and CS/OC/Mace sprays are prohibited weapons in the UK. We have, arguably, the toughest gun control laws in the world. By way of stark contrast, the most armed civilian population in the world, per capita, are not the US, but in peaceful, combat-neutral Switzerland. Yodel-ay ee-deeee!! Funny old world, isn't it?


Anonymous said...

Violent criminals will always find a way to commit violent crimes simply because they're cowards. A coward will not challenge someone they feel has the means to defend against their cowardice acts. The right to own and bear arms by the citizens is the defense and deterrent necessary to stop cowards.

powdergirl said...

"( ) but if he kills someone he is out of luck.

I'm thinking the Swiss courts must actually punish the small percentage of their population who do abuse their right to bare arms.

What a novel idea.

"( ) trained in civic virtue."

Well that speaks for itself,doesn't it?

Also,a great comment from the above poster.

Thanks for the great read HD.

Hogday said...

KLR: Blessed are the peacemakers (I presume they meant Sam Colt's variety) - a matched pair of which are in The Royal Armouries Museum, presented by Mr. Colt himself, to the owner of the local Yorkshire steelworks where he got his raw materials. They also have the original Maxim gun on display there!
Final bit of trivia, The Royal Armouries also have a small branch in Louisville, Ky. where they occupy the entire 3rd floor of the Frazier Museum.

PG. Glad you enjoyed that. Nothing false in my stuff ;) (Blimey, that was almost Shakespeareian - false stuff/Falstaff? No? OK)

Annette said...

This is the one you told me about on my blog site wasn't it?
For which I thank you for that.
I have joined "Thelanesarmoury" in brighton.By that I mean I have it in my favs on the computer!
I love it. It is so interesting and I would love to buy guns, pistols (my fave are the pistols) but they cost to much!!
The cheapest is about £900.00 going up to about £4,000
You probably saw the knives and baronets we had with that deactivated rifle we had and I like them too. As I said my dad asked us to have them because he knows I am into militaria, as he was, thats where I get it from.
As for the people that go around knifing/shooting others, that really is a different matter, for a collector would never use their collection for that reason.
But thanks anyway, good post. I would love to go to the tower of london and see all that.
P.S. Did you see my air rifle?
I put a photo of it on my site but that was some time ago.

Blue Eyes said...

Just imagine what would happen, though, if everyone in England was suddenly free to buy a gun...

Annette said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Annette said...

There would be utter chaos.
You would have more murders than you could ever cope with!

Sorry, that was deleting that last post.
Making a comment on the wrong site!

Hogday said...

Thanks Annette. I'll check out your website.

Fortunately there wasn't freedom for anyone to buy a gun in the UK, even when handguns were permitted before the post-Dunblane legislation changes. It is just very interesting to see how a society like Switzerland can manage to have every adult legally required to keep arms as part of their civil militia requirements for protecting their neutrality. Nice watches too.

Blue Eyes said...

Mr H - Switzerland is a very different society (some might say "better" than ours!). The reason they have the guns is vital to the debate: they have them because they are all trained as part of their annual national service.

Hogday said...

Absolutely B E, a fascinating contrast. As someone who spent nearly half my police service in firearms ops I would have melted down every last one of the things given the chance, but I find the attitude of the Swiss so interesting.
A country that goes to such lengths to defend its borders and neutrality is a very interesting case study for such things as citizenship and civil responsibility n'est pas?

Hogday said...

On the subject of perceived chaos if we returned to handgun ownership for approved applicants, all I can say is that up until 1997 I policed an area that had a large number of registered handgun owners, all bona fide members of registered gun clubs, and none of them shot and killed anyone. Post 1997 legislation and there are no more registered handgun owners and still none of them shot and killed anyone.

Blue Eyes said...

It is very interesting. It is fair to say that the gun is not the murderer. A murderer could use any number of easily available weapons. The thing about guns is that even sensible people can experience a moment of madness driven by a flash of anger or fear and if that happens when they have a gun tucked into their trousers...

The Swiss keep their guns locked away at home as would most registered users. It's the gang stars who hide them in their trackie bottoms and get upset by people dissing them or straying into their manor that we have to worry about.

Hogday said...

Right on BE. In the UK it never was legal to carry a loaded gun in public, even if it was legally registered.