A commenter to last week's piece OK, I WILL Comment on this "Study" was shocked, shocked by the piece and by the other commenters:
It is unbelievable that there are people like you lot who can defend guns as 'harmless fun' or seriously state that 'guns make you safer'. If you weren't so dangerous the absurdity of it all would be hilarious.I left a little response of my own in the comments, but, since he so kindly left a real email address I dropped him a note:
I love how the topic quickly moves from your gun fantasies to your racial genocide fantasies in one swift paragraph.
I particularly like the idiocy of these comments.
"if you're not a young black male living in an inner city, your likelihood of dying by homicide (regardless of weapon) is about equal to that of someone living in Europe."
"if you remove the crimes committed by blacks and latinos, the U.S. violent crime rate is almost identical to that of Canada."
Like duh!! What a surprise eh? So if I remove the most deprived higher crime areas and people from the US figures and then compare it with the average in Europe (that includes all their deprived higher crime areas and population) it is 'roughly similar. Is there no amount of distortion of statistics you lot will go to to justify your idiocy? Let alone your thinly disguised prejudice against black people. Deny black people opportunities so the majority end up in poverty stricken neighbourhoods with little or no prospects and then when they act all dysfunctional, use this to justify your superiority and racial fantasies. I despair for humanity when there are dumb f***s like you walking the planet.
Boy am I glad I don't live next door to you guys.
Mr. Harding:Surprisingly, Mr. Harding replied today:
Thank you for the heartfelt comments you left at my blog, The Smallest Minority.
Obviously you and I differ vastly in worldview (since you called me a racist dumbf**k, among other things.) Just as obviously, you read very little of my site. Then again, you are apparently a knee-jerk Leftist, so I suppose I can't expect any better from you.
However, should you care to debate the topic of gun control, I'd be more than happy to have you join me at The Smallest Minority. I find that I learn so much more when discussing the topic with those who disagree with me. Perhaps you'd like to educate me?
Kevin,I was, of course, moved to answer:
Sorry if my comments were a little forthright and I thank you for responding in a friendly way. I apologise for calling you names, I think I was referring to commenters not yourself, I cannot remember exactly, but I was reacting to some pretty unbelievably frightening comments on your blog.
This stuff about black people and crime. How else could it be described other than racism?
Surely you only have to compare gun death rates between the US and UK to see that limiting guns is the safer option. Guns are so dangerous, they should not be the playthings of people.
Neil:I wonder if I'll get a response?
Thank you for responding. No apology necessary, though you were referring to me. I have a rather thick skin at this point, and ignorance does not offend me. Ignorance is a lack of knowledge or understanding, not an incapacity for it. Thus, ignorance can be overcome through learning.
No offense intended, but you seem to frighten easily. This is also a indication of ignorance, as humans tend to fear what they do not understand. Let's take, for example, your comment "This stuff about black people and crime. How else could it be described other than racism?" Well, it can be taken as a description of reality, for one thing. Please, before you click 'delete,' allow me to explain.
What you objected to was this comment: "Never mind the fact that if you're not a young black male living in an inner city, your likelihood of dying by homicide (regardless of weapon) is about equal to that of someone living in Europe."
To you that was a racist statement. Your comment: "Like duh!! What a surprise eh? So if I remove the most deprived higher crime areas and people from the US figures and then compare it with the average in Europe (that includes all their deprived higher crime areas and population) it is 'roughly similar. Is there no amount of distortion of statistics you lot will go to to justify your idiocy? Let alone your thinly disguised prejudice against black people."
Here's what I've written about this question at another blog:Is the incredibly disproportionate level of violent crime in the young urban black male community due to the fact they're black? Don't be ridiculous. Black immigrants from Africa and the Caribbean don't exhibit the same behavior. (Which is why I don't use the appellation "African-American.") Throughout history it has been the poor who have been the primary criminal predators and who have provided the primary pool of victims, regardless of skin tone. If you're well off, you don't have to steal, for example. Nor do you feel it necessary to "drown your sorrows" in intoxicants in order to escape the crappy life you live for a few minutes or hours or days.Is that a racist statement? I'm unfamiliar with the European statistics on this, but do blacks represent thirteen (13) percent of the population there? Do they make up 47% of homicide victims overall? Or is there another minority that does? Is there any significant group that inflicts homicide on itself at a rate six times the national average?
There's obviously more to it than just general poverty, though, because the level is so high. I would point to the exceedingly high percentage of fatherless children (due, I believe, to some really idiotic welfare policies), a welfare system that punishes attempts to escape it (I'm sorry, but you make $20 a month too much for us to subsidize your day-care! You'll have to bear the entire $400/month burden of that yourself!), and a drug policy that makes trafficking in drugs so tremendously lucrative that - in that environment - it appears to be the best (and often only) way out.
Our national history of oppressing blacks, combined with a well-meaning but incredibly flawed social policy, plus a drug policy well-intentioned but completely disconnected from reality have all combined to create the level of violence that the numbers show.
Who is to blame? My finger points at us, because the people we voted into office chose to do what felt good, rather than taking a hard, objective look at what the policies they voted for would actually result in. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis put it very well: "Experience teaches us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government's purposes are beneficent."
Edited to add: If you want further evidence of this, look what our government policies have done for the American Indian populations.
Doesn't this make you wonder if there is something we could do that would directly affect the specific problem of young black men killing each other at epidemic levels? Because "gun control" most definitely does not.
I have compared the death rates between the US and the UK, Neil - something that you, obviously, have not. Ever since we've been keeping records, the UK has had about 1/8th the rate of homicides that the U.S. has had, regardless of the gun laws in place at the time. Guns were rarely used to commit homicide even when their possession was wholly unregulated. The UK began its path towards gun-control nirvana starting in 1920. It had no effect on that ratio. In 1953 Parliament passed the Prevention of Crime Act, which made it illegal to carry an "offensive weapon" without being able to demonstrate a need for it. Offensive weapons included knives, pointed objects, and tear gas along with firearms. Ownership of a handgun for self-defense was no longer considered a reasonable need. After all, you were prohibited by law from carrying it. Curiously, violent crime in England began to climb beginning in the late 50's, until at the present time you are far more likely to be assaulted in England than in the U.S. - you just don't kill each other as often, as has been the tradition since the turn of the last century.
One bit of interesting news: The ratio of homicide rates between the U.S. and England is now down to about 3.6:1. Throw in Scotland and Northern Ireland and the disparity is even smaller.
Now, as to your last statement: "Guns are so dangerous, they should not be the playthings of people." This is the place where our worldviews are most widely divergent. Yes, guns are dangerous. So dangerous that they cannot be trusted in the hands of only the government and violent criminals - because we've seen what both of those groups do with such power. "Playthings of people"? Well, I do enjoy recreational shooting, as do a small (but growing) contingent of your countrymen, but "playthings"? I think not.
If some of my commenters frightened you, I'm concerned what these effect these quotes will have:
To be civilized is to restrain the ability to commit mayhem.
To be incapable of committing mayhem is not the mark of the civilized,
merely the domesticated. – Trefor Thomas
To believe one is incompetent to bear arms is, therefore, to live in corroding and almost always needless fear of the self - in fact, to affirm oneself a moral coward. A state further fromthe dignity of a free manwould be rather hard to imagine. - Eric S. Raymond, Ethics from the Barrel of a Gun
In a state of psychological weakness, weapons become a burden for the capitulating side. To defend oneself, one must also be ready to die; there is little such readiness in a society raised in the cult of material well-being. Nothing is left, then, but concessions, attempts to gain time and betrayal. - Alexander Solzhenitsyn
"Playthings of people"? No, indeed. Serious tools. But recreation with serious tools is something we do all the time here.
I would be pleased to continue this conversation, if you are so inclined. But if you feel the need to hide under your bed, I certainly understand.