BBC correspondent discovers gun-owning America feels safe

Thomas Lifson
Justin Webb, BBC's North America editor, reports to UK listeners and readers on the "paradox" that America is less violent (and feels much safer) than Britain, where private hand gun ownership is banned.

Why is it then that so many Americans - and foreigners who come here - feel that the place is so, well, safe?

"I have met incredulous British tourists who have been shocked to the core by the peacefulness of the place"

A British man I met in Colorado recently told me he used to live in Kent but he moved to the American state of New Jersey and will not go home because it is, as he put it, "a gentler environment for bringing the kids up."

This is New Jersey. Home of the Sopranos.

Brits arriving in New York, hoping to avoid being slaughtered on day one of their shopping mission to Manhattan are, by day two, beginning to wonder what all the fuss was about. By day three they have had had the scales lifted from their eyes.

I have met incredulous British tourists who have been shocked to the core by the peacefulness of the place, the lack of the violent undercurrent so ubiquitous in British cities, even British market towns.

"It seems so nice here," they quaver.

Well, it is!

I credit Mr. Webb for his honesty, but wish he would explore the logic of this reality on which he reports with such surprise. He tut-tuts about a Washington, DC man who has been shot 9 times and who opposes the Supreme Court possibly overturning the DC gun ban. Yet he fails to note that it was that very same gun ban that made DC into the "wild west" he deplores. I would recommend he read John Lott's classic study, More Guns, Less Crime. Or perhaps he could simply analyze what happened to crime rates in the UK (and Australia) once gun buns were enforced.

It would also be nice for him to examine why it is that British tourists have such an unrealistic view of America as a violent place that they are shocked at how safe they feel when visiting. Does the media, including BBC, bear any responsibility for conveying such a misleading impression? 

When people know that others are armed, they tend to be very polite. Some of the politest, most respectful and gracious behavior I have ever seen is found on firing ranges.

Still, it's a start.

Hat tip: Nathan V. Bell
Justin Webb, BBC's North America editor, reports to UK listeners and readers on the "paradox" that America is less violent (and feels much safer) than Britain, where private hand gun ownership is banned.

Why is it then that so many Americans - and foreigners who come here - feel that the place is so, well, safe?

"I have met incredulous British tourists who have been shocked to the core by the peacefulness of the place"

A British man I met in Colorado recently told me he used to live in Kent but he moved to the American state of New Jersey and will not go home because it is, as he put it, "a gentler environment for bringing the kids up."

This is New Jersey. Home of the Sopranos.

Brits arriving in New York, hoping to avoid being slaughtered on day one of their shopping mission to Manhattan are, by day two, beginning to wonder what all the fuss was about. By day three they have had had the scales lifted from their eyes.

I have met incredulous British tourists who have been shocked to the core by the peacefulness of the place, the lack of the violent undercurrent so ubiquitous in British cities, even British market towns.

"It seems so nice here," they quaver.

Well, it is!

I credit Mr. Webb for his honesty, but wish he would explore the logic of this reality on which he reports with such surprise. He tut-tuts about a Washington, DC man who has been shot 9 times and who opposes the Supreme Court possibly overturning the DC gun ban. Yet he fails to note that it was that very same gun ban that made DC into the "wild west" he deplores. I would recommend he read John Lott's classic study, More Guns, Less Crime. Or perhaps he could simply analyze what happened to crime rates in the UK (and Australia) once gun buns were enforced.

It would also be nice for him to examine why it is that British tourists have such an unrealistic view of America as a violent place that they are shocked at how safe they feel when visiting. Does the media, including BBC, bear any responsibility for conveying such a misleading impression? 

When people know that others are armed, they tend to be very polite. Some of the politest, most respectful and gracious behavior I have ever seen is found on firing ranges.

Still, it's a start.

Hat tip: Nathan V. Bell