May 21st 2013

Gun law in the shires (UK)

Images of paramilitary-style policemen with assault rifles in Luton are a shocking
confirmation that law and order has collapsed in parts of the country


This is an article from the UK's Daily telegraph, reporting what many would like to ignore since the 1997 extreme 'firearms control measures. As is so predictable, the gangs rule the streets in many places and everyone else is left defenseless, not to mention victims too often being treated with casual disdain.

By Telegraph View, 16 May 2013

Daily Telegraph article origin

Armed police patrol the Marsh Farm estate in Luton after a spate of shootings,

In an age of terrorism, we have become used to seeing armed police at major railway stations and airports, or guarding other potential targets such as embassies. But when officers with guns are needed to patrol the streets of an English town because of an upsurge in gang shootings, it seems we have reached something of a watershed in our national life.

The images of paramilitary-style policemen with assault rifles escorting parents and children to school in Luton are a shocking confirmation that law and order has collapsed in parts of our country. In the past four months, there have been nine gun-related incidents on two estates in the Bedfordshire town. Last weekend, a 16-year-old boy was shot in the back and may be paralysed.

Many residents say they are too frightened to venture out of their homes and that they find the presence of the armed officers "reassuring", despite their forbidding appearance. But how much more reassured might they have been had these crime-ridden estates not fallen under the sway of the gangs in the first place? The police did put extra patrols and resources into the notorious Marsh Farm estate after rioting in the mid-Nineties and they are now out in force again, intending to "get a grip" on the gang problem. But clearly, after nine shootings, they lost control some time ago.

Policing these areas is difficult and officers have arrested around a dozen people in connection with drugs and firearms offences. But people in Luton, and others afflicted by such violence, are entitled to ask how armed gangs have been allowed to flourish with apparent impunity for so long. Once the perpetrators of these shootings have been tracked down, the police must ensure that the law-abiding people who live on estates such as these are not abandoned again.

Comments can be found from this page link.

Here are just some examples of the comments:

Whilst gun proliferation as in the USA would not be good, it also has to be realised that in the land of the gunless, the man with a .22 is king. Arguably, gun prohibition has thus led to an increase in the use of guns by criminals.

If a few of the more responsible members of the public are allowed to keep guns (as things used to be) then that greatly reduces the advangate of carrying a gun whilst committing crime.

It's not just the issue of being able to own and carry a weapon for self defense. It also includes a robust view of self defense, where the victim will always be given the benefit of the doubt and be treated as a victim and not a criminal.

Of course, gun control has no basis as an anti-violent crime initiative. Never has, never will.

It's been going on for 9 decades, and emerged at a time when the UK was awash with weapons and insignificant crime levels.

The UK is just finding out the hard way about the consequences of gun control and concomitant destruction of the right to defend oneself.

Once you grant the unlawful more rights than the lawful and make the lawful responsible for the actions of the unlawful, you destroy the entire basis of a law-abiding society.

Reversing this will not be easy for you.

". . . But when officers with guns are needed to patrol the streets of an English town because of an upsurge in gang shootings, it seems we have reached something of a watershed in our national life ... "

There is a particular problem with gang conflict. It is that the victims - the principal witnesses - almost invariably do not wish to deal with the authorities. Take a real example of a lad being walked into hospital by a bunch of yobs. He had a stab wound to the chest. Police are called. Victim refuses to speak to them. Yobs disappear. Another example comes to mind where a lad with four minor stab wounds (inasmuch as any such injury can be regarded as minor) had "fallen over". Evidence gathering opportunities in the golden hour after the event are immediately limited. Indeed some some of the more 'minor' events are not reported at all.

Why do they take this line? If you or (certainly) I were stabbed we would be filling Plod's pocket book in no time. But that is because we are different. We play by the rules. If we're stabbed it would be because we'd blamelessly disturbed a burglar or were being robbed or something. We'd be a straightforward case of good guy versus bad guy.

Gangs play by rules too, but the rules are different.

Firstly the victim is likely to be as bad as the perpetrator, at least in the judgement of all the right minded people who may be reading this. Their own previous misdemeanours, (drugs,acquisitive crime etc) mean they do not wish to deal with police at all. They might find out what it's all about. The question "Why" can be most unwelcome if the true answer is (for example) "I was dealing in a certain area" or "My mate had robbed my assailant last week" or "I took the drugs and then lost the money" or [insert your own explanation here]. Essentially criminals are not noted for co-operating with police ... unless there is a motive for them to do so.

Secondly, let's bring honour into the mix. You've been injured. You have your mates, your 'crew' your gang to sort it out. Bringing Plod into the mix may (err) 'complicate' things as above (and not just for you} and make you lose face. There are enough 'up and comings' behind you who feel the need to assert their own status and make it better than yours. Peer approval is most important.

Thirdly (and leading on) Your 'elders' must be consulted. They for some reason were not there when you needed their help. You talking to Plod may affect others. Can you be trusted? What might they do about it? They can make you or break you - perhaps literally.

There are other reasons, but hopefully you get the drift.

Now lets consider the unlikely case of actually getting a victim to testify. A look at his 'previous' (including offences of dishonesty, drugs etc) is likely to make an investigator want to triple check everything. Investigator's Rule One: A person will ONLY ever tell you what he wants you to know. The trick is making him want to tell it. Furthermore that optimistically assumes that what he tells you is the truth. Is "what he wants you to know" the truth, partly the truth or nothing like the truth. That's quite (un)like the oath we take when we step into the witness box isn't it?

Now put your star witness in the witness box in front of a jury and wait, quaking in your boots, for the cross examination. The jury - understandably - has trouble distinguishing what is in the dock from what is in the witness box. Ain't likely to work out well unless there is some quality corroborative evidence too.

And so a frustrated police top brass, realising that the rules of evidence are against them must do something. They resort to a show of force - what else can they do. A grateful public is reassured. In a way. As the article notes, it's come to something when the British public appreciates police armed with sub machine guns so overtly deployed - police do not use assault riflles by the way Mr Leader-Writer. I refer you to the Parachute Regiment and other such fine body of people who would regard the item pictured as something of a pea-shooter.

What can be done? If the answer were easy then it would have been found by now. I am confident that the present rules of evidence do not come close to dealing effectively unless someone dies. That sometimes loosens tongues and anyway gets an exhaustive investigation running. Do police have the capacity to exhaustively investigate more than a firearms incident every fortnight, especially when the prospects for success are so unpromising? Remember that resources are finite and police are forever being criticized for not taking burglaries, car crime etc seriously. Yet a big proportion of these are committed by the up and coming gang members ... and when caught, sentences are often ineffective. For example, from the DT 05/14/2013 .

"One man crime-wave Christopher Harrison, 30, has a record of 160 burglaries and 70 attempted burglaries over a 17-year career."

The maximum term for residential burglary (for that is what he was doing - targeting vulnerable OAPs incidentally) is fourteen years. He got six so I guess he'll be out in three or four [Mr Moderator - I do not assert that Mr Harrison is linked to gang crime and I hope this clarification prevents this sadly misunderstood and otherwise creditable member of society from suing the pair of us - but you published him first!]

One wonders what else he must do to get a maximum term ... In fact one shudders to think. Still, I'm sure Mr Grayling will find him to be an interesting project for rehab.

I've gone on long enough. Hope I haven't spoiled your Sunday folks!

Refer to the "Sandy Hook Index" for an archive collection of valuable material we have shown since the events at the Newtown Elementary School.

Check out Gun/Murder Statistics: A set of tabulated and graphical data showing relationships between gun numbers and murders - categorized by alphabetical countries listing. Useful research material.

Thought for the day -- "Isn't it strange that after a bombing, everyone blames the bomber ... but after a shooting, the problem is the Gun ! "

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