It never ceases to...well, bemuse me how American gun rights activists seem to honestly believe that any time an atrocity is committed with a gun in the UK, it somehow strengthens their case. You'd think even they might recognise that a moment like now would be a very good time to keep their heads well down, but not a bit of it. Witness Exhibit A - an utterly brazen post on the Raoul Moat case written by a former poster on this blog, 'Weer'd Beard'...
"Remember the the Police can protect you, you don’t need to defend yourself! Also Gun Control stops this nonsense from happening!
I wonder what James Kelly will have to say about this."
Well, you need wonder no longer, Mr Beard, because this is what James Kelly has to say about it : thank heavens we have gun control, and that it does indeed prevent 'this nonsense' from happening on the majority of occasions. Do I really have to point out yet again the mind-boggling disparity between gun deaths in the UK and the US? But, that said, what a tragedy our controls weren't quite stringent enough to prevent Derrick Bird carrying out a mass killing with a legally-owned weapon just a few weeks ago - not least because, as a criminal psychologist pointed out on Newsnight tonight, such high-profile incidents always produce a copycat effect, and Moat's actions are highly likely to be an example of that phenomenon.
Mr Beard then goes on to trot out the hoary old argument about how the tool used for killing is an irrelevance, ie. the killing would have happened anyway, so it might as well have happened with a gun as anything else -
"Because James sees cases like this as some how superior to cases like the one above, because Moat shot people with a gun, while the monsters in the linked case, beat, raped, robbed, and burned their victims.
Much better, right?"
I'm reluctant to use the 'L' word here, but the absolute minimum that needs to be said is that Mr Beard is consciously, cynically and comprehensively misrepresenting my views. Every murder is an equal tragedy. It's simply a tragedy that's significantly less likely to happen in the first place if the assailant isn't armed with a gun.
Mr Beard concludes with another question -
"May I propose a better solution?"
Oh, well, now, dear me, let me guess. Would your solution by any chance be - "Quick, more guns"?