Jim Austin's Vermonter at Large
Jim Austin
Jim Austin
is a freelance writer from Putney, Vermont.

His previous columns are archived HERE.

Posted 02.17.03


Guns and bozos

While George Bush is busy alienating America internationally, his wormy little National Rifle Association comrades remain busy imperiling all of us with their pro handgun rhetoric.

'More guns means less crime' is one of the many moronic mantras chanted by the brain-starved NRA. Research from Stanford and Yale has thoroughly debunked the more guns, less crime myth that has been promoted by pro-gun economist John Lott. Unable to produce corroborating data, describe methodology, or identify any person involved in performing the study, Lott proves once again that self-serving NRA polls or _studies are worth the same as recycled bull fodder.

I'll lay out some of the latest data for you on a comparison between gun violence in Britain and that in the USA. We often use Britain in these comparisons because they are people with a similar ethnic mix to us and we are separated by a common language, as George Bernard Shaw used to say. <

In 2001 Great Britain had 97 firearm deaths including 73 murders.

In the year 2000 the United States had 28,663 deaths including 10,801 murders.

This puts the US gun murder rate at 48 times greater than Britain's.

No doubt some drooling NRA supporter will write to the paper and point out that Britain's increased 24 percent since 1997 and that coincided with the ban on handguns.

Gee, that sounds serious doesn't it? Well, put that crayon down Bubba -- it only means that murder increased briefly from 59 to 73 -- a difference of fourteen murders over five years.

In the USA we have that many handgun murders per month in daycare --by the kids!

In reality, the trend over the last five years in Britain saw all crime down by 27 percent, burglary down 39 percent and violent crime down thirty-two percent In Britain you are more likely to choke to death on your dinner than be killed by a gun.

Britain's outright ban on handguns is a result of the massacre of sixteen kindergarten children and their teacher in Dunblane Scotland in 1996. The deranged killer had a handgun and a license to own it.

The difference between legislators in Britain and those in the USA are highlighted by the British legislation. When politicians in Britain see a monstrous calamity, they take steps to see that it doesn't happen again. When one of many Columbine-type disasters occurs in the USA, politicians just check their war chest, observe the gobs of bribe money donated by the NRA, and then start urinating on the citizenry while telling them that its raining.

Have you any idea how much firearms-related injuries cost us in this country?

While kids go without health care we saw 35,000 preventable injuries due to gunfire in 1997. Firearms-related injuries ranked number one of all injuries sustained by the uninsured.

This translates into 802 million 1997 dollars, 29 percent of which were uninsured.

The Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence compiled these figures. Unfortunately there seem to be some issues that are beyond the grasp of many Americans. After reading the above one would think that people would be moved to question the gun-show loophole, or the laws in many states allowing concealed weapons.

Not a chance.

Somewhere along the line the NRA has won. They have bombarded us with lies, dismissed the deaths of thousands per year, and in the process lined the pockets of their masters in the gun industry. Above all, they have relied on the ennui of a bloated and self-center population. I guess the same thing will happen as our government moves to tile over the malfeasance of their Enron and World Com buddies.

Will we hear a public outcry? Not likely.

Are we really that stupid? Likely.

Over the next two years, Congress will face battles over the assault-weapons ban, federal firearm industry immunity, ballistic fingerprinting, the gun-show loophole, background checks for the mentally ill and more. So sayeth the Stop Gun Violence newsletter. I admire their tenacity in trying to chip away at the marble-headed intransigence of the American public. I, for one, have just about given up. But not quite.