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Monday, 4 February 2013

A question of perspective again?

I came across some very interesting numbers recently on violent crime in the US and the UK. According to the FBI statistics the US police and Federal criminal agencies recorded 1.2 million "violent crimes" which includes all murders, assaults involving violence and weapons and physical assaults, in 2012. With a population of 314 million, this means there were 380 violent crimes for every 100,000 people in the population. By contrast, British Police recorded 1.94 million violent crimes for the same period. As the UK population is 63 million, this means we had 3,100 "violent crimes" per 100,000 people - which is, frankly, shocking.

I suspect that the reasons for this discrepancy are much more complex than it appears, though some in the US are already pointing to the ownership of firearms as one reason their "violent crime" statistics are falling while ours are rising. I don't think it is that simple, though I do believe that our lack of a clear-cut right of "self-defence" may be a contributory factor. When a pensioner defending himself from a robber with a walking stick can be charged and convicted of "assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm" because a jury of the robber's supporters felt his response to being relieved of his wallet was "disproportionate," it should be no surprise that people are afraid to retaliate. Frankly, the UK legal system is a mess, with only the criminal element and their lawyers standing to benefit from it.

For me the biggest question is, what are we doing about reducing the violent crime rate? Patently the 'softly, softly,' regime our courts are adopting doesn't work. Patently our laws are being bent and abused by criminals, yet our politicians are afraid to adopt a harder line. We know that juries are being intimidated by supporters of the accused - but we do nothing about it. We know that "suspended sentences" are seldom imposed - a recent report actually highlights the fact that many criminals convicted of violent crimes flout their paroles, flout the threat of suspended sentences and are "given another chance" by soft touch judges.

Perhaps the US arms lobby has a point. After all, a criminal who's been shot dead during his attempted crime, doesn't repeat the offence - ever. No, I'm not an advocate of everyone having free and easy access to a firearm, but it is certainly no coincidence that, since the Blair ban on the ownership of handguns, gun crime in the UK has shot through the roof and is, no doubt, a major factor in the violent crime statistics I've quoted above ...

The question remains, what is being done about it?

3 comments:

  1. The NRA-ILA (National Rifle Association's Institute for Legislative Action) produces a publication called "The Armed Citizen".

    http://www.nraila.org/gun-laws/armed-citizen.aspx

    This has been kept continuously up to date for decades, detailing specific incidents in which armed, law abiding U.S. citizens have protected themselves, their homes and their families from violent criminals.

    Unfortunately the mostly left wing, anti Second Amendment media never seems to "be aware of", or at least view these events as "newsworthy".

    Statistically, despite "liberals'" penchant for somwhow blaming crime on legal gun ownership, those states with the least restrictions on gun ownership seem to also have the least problems with armed criminals.

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  2. That certainly is an interesting point, but, as I said in my post, there do seem to be some other quite complex factors in play as well - like the right to use whatever force is necessary in defending yourself, and not being bound by what a bunch of lawyers and a jury sympathetic to the criminal consider 'appropriate.'

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  3. New York seems to possess a malady you mentioned in your post, that being the penchant for arresting people for so-called "disproportionate" force in the course of self defense.

    My husband, whose military career contained more than the average share of violence and who has (to my complete agreement) zero tolerance for predators who victimize those they assume to be weak or afraid, believes that once a predator commits himself to an act of violence (including the threat thereof, as in robbery, rape, even bullying), he is automatically authorizing the intended victim to define the rules of engagement and if they include a devastating, merciless response, so be it. The intended victim did not invite the predator to attack...

    What really is ridiculous is those law suits that have been won against homeowners by burglars and others who have been injured or wounded in the course of breaking and entering.

    As far as the insanity of the courts that excuse criminal behavior, this practice, at least in the U.S., began over 40 years ago when the liberals of the time injected into the "common wisdom" that minority types who committed street crimes were not to blame, instead "society" (the rest of us) was at fault for some reason and these innocent, misunderstood "victims" of society were only reacting to the injustice of their environment.

    Judges began issuing wrist slaps instead of stiff penalties like real prison terms -- time served, probation, suspended sentences, a few short months behind bars, counselling, etc -- and this sent the criminals the message that they could pretty well do as they please without paying a price.

    Shortly thereafter, minority neighborhoods began turning into combat zones wherein law abiding citizens, especially the elderly, were afraid to go out at night.

    Despite the obvious disaster spawned by these policies, the tradition has remained in place among certain judges and most liberals, especially those who live in upper income, well patrolled neighborhoods and gated communities, far removed from the realities faced by "the unwashed masses".

    There's a saying here: The definition of a liberal is a conservative who's never been mugged. :-)

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