Saturday, January 8, 2011

The eloquence of non-analysis

Last spring, Derrick Bird killed twelve people in Cumbria with guns.  In spite of the fact that the weapons were entirely legally owned, the instant reaction of the American gun enthusiasts I had 'debated' with the previous year was to triumphantly insist that this constituted proof that a UK-style gun ban is counter-productive.  "I wonder what James Kelly will have to say about this," Kevin Baker crowed, before working through his standard repertoire of "Do it again, only HARDER!!!" (ie. if gun control 'isn't working', do it some more), and "when there are seconds to spare, the police are only minutes away" (ie. the deaths somehow wouldn't have occurred if only the British public were legally entitled to carry guns for 'self-defence').

Today, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head at a public meeting in Arizona and is now in a critical condition, while five others were killed.  Kevin Baker lives in Arizona.  The state not only has extremely permissive gun ownership laws, but also allows citizens to carry guns for self-defence.

Naturally, given that this is almost an exact reversal of the Bird scenario, one of my first thoughts was to wonder what Baker would have to say about the incident.  Strikingly, this time he doesn't seem to have much to offer beyond a simple summary of the facts, with a number of his commenters briefly noting that it is "sad" and "unfortunate".

Little wonder.


  1. Sorry to post anonymously, but I don't need a posse of US gun nuts on my case.

    They will tell you "Guns don't kill, people do". No,it makes no sense to me either.

    Just be thankful you live here, not there.

  2. "Guns don't kill, people do"

    Oh, I know. Doubtless we can now look forward to convoluted explanations from self-styled "combat experts" of how the attacker could very easily have killed just as many people if he'd been armed with a rock instead of a gun.

    And if the rest of us don't have the "training" to understand these fundamental truths, the least we can do is have the decency to defer to the knowledge of our betters...

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  4. James, as much as we know Tris is only joking, I'd delete that last post. The last thing we need is some "SICK CYBERNATS IN WEB DEATH THREAT SHAME" stories in the press.

  5. You've given me a bit of a dilemma, Ezio - I can see what you're saying, but I'd be reluctant to delete Tris' comment without his permission. I'll leave it for the time being. In any case, I don't think this blog is a magnet for cynical hacks in the way that Mark MacLachlan's was/is, but you never know I suppose!

    Incidentally, by way of contrast, here's one of the latest colourful comments at Kevin's blog -

    "Politicians of every stripe ...

    ... they insist that the products of your labour are theirs, to dispose as they see fit.

    ... they consign generations, as yet unborn, to debt slavery.

    ... they are fulsome in their support of the State's violence against the citizen.

    What's really remarkable, is that SO FEW of them wind up shot."

    I think we can safely assume that one wasn't meant as a joke.

  6. Well my comment was meant light-heartedly (there was for anyone who doubted it, a clue to that, in that I said I would be prepared to listen to an cogent argument for gun ownership, should anyone ever advance one, and do so with humour) but I can see your point.

    The last thing I would want to do is to embarrass you James, and I’m sorry that I put you in a dilemma. This is the first blog I turn to every day. I would be horrified to think I had embarrassed it.

    I have, therefore, deleted the comment myself.

  7. No problem at all, Tris - I'm sure the vast majority of people would have taken your comment in the spirit in which it was intended.

  8. Ezio Auditore da FirenzeJanuary 9, 2011 at 9:00 PM

    Tris, I certainly don't think you embarrassed this blog and it was completely obvious to me and any other normal person you were kidding. But we know by now the individuals who make up the unionist press are NOT normal people. They will take anything they can get to have a go at the SNP or nationalists in general.

    No offence and all. Florence loves ya baby!

  9. I suppose most readers of this blog would be familiar with the magnificent work of the Lallands Peat Worrier, but just in case you've missed it...


  10. I was just going to point to the LPW comparison. It's scarey to imagine what Scotland would be like if we had their gun laws!