15 December, 2012

Gun control

The whole world has seen the news from Connecticut,  where schoolchildren and their teachers have been gunned down.

The perpetrator's mother was a teacher. He apparently used her guns to commit the massacre. A teacher's guns.

There will be the usual calls for gun control and they will have the usual result. Opponents of control will say that is not guns which kill people, but people who kill people.

They ignore the problem. I could easily have a gun. In fact the landlord of a London pub once offered to sell me one of his. But I don't, so every time I feel homicidal, and I probably shall with the BBC's forthcoming programme on Europe, I can't just reach for a firearm. There is no culture in Britain or most other countries (outside Switzerland) of ordinary people owning guns (violent criminals, yes: police and soldiers, yes: the rest of us, no).

To stop these outrages, even to limit them, the culture in America would have to change: guns would have to become a rarity, an oddity. That change would take a generation. I am not saying it is impossible, but it is very, very unlikely.

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