America's 'gun culture' and Piers Morgan's selective outrage
It's a strange omission: liberal pundits like CNN's Piers Morgan are fulminating over America's "gun culture" following Newtown's school massacre -- yet they seem blissfully ignorant about what happened after Britain's draconian handgun ban following a school massacre in Scotland, in 1996, eerily similar to Newtown's.
After the ban, more than 160,000 law-abiding citizens gave up their handguns. The idea was to stop gun violence. But ironically, the ban had the opposite effect: crime-related gun violence jumped a whopping 40 percent in the two years after the ban. And since then, gun crime has continued to soar at an alarming rate. Anti-gun liberals may be aghast, but as that old NRA bumper sticker stated: "When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns." One wonders how long before guns are used in another massacre in the United Kingdom; or perhaps next time it will be done by a madman carrying a can of gasoline.
Piers Morgan, an urbane native of England, surely knows what happened after Britain's gun ban. But like others anti-gun media elitists and politicians (whose children are defended by armed guards at upscale private schools) Morgan avoids discussions of the complexities and nuances of gun control and their impact on ordinary people -- that is, law-abiding gun owners. "You're an unbelievably stupid man, aren't you?" Morgan told Larry Pratt, director of Gun Owners of America, during a discussion about gun regulations that included proposed bans on large clips and military-style weapons like the AR-15 used by Newtown, Connecticut's shooter Adam Lanza. Now, an online petition demanding that the smug Brit be deported is drawing tens of thousands of signatures.
Morgan surely knows about Britain's failed effort to reduce gun violence - and how those efforts backfired. Even the lefty BBC took notice -- explaining that the 40 percent surge in gun violence suggested the handgun ban was "targeting legitimate users of firearms rather than criminals." Specifically, the BBC explained that, "The Center for Defense Studies at Kings College in London, which carried out the research, said the number of crimes in which a handgun was reported increased from 2,648 in 1997/98 to 3,685 in 1999/2000." Moreover, it noted there was "no link between high levels of gun crime and areas where there were still high levels of lawful gun possession; that "of the 20 police areas with the lowest number of legally held firearms, 10 had an above average level of gun crime. And of the 20 police areas with the highest levels of legally held guns only two had armed crime levels above the average."
Interestingly, the massacre in Dunblane was hardly the case of an upstanding citizen inexplicably exploding into a murderous rage. Thomas Hamilton, the 43-year-old shooter, had been on the radar of law-enforcement authorities and townspeople for some time, just as Newtown shooter Adam Lanza was on the radar (both to school officials and townspeople) for having significant mental health issues.
Yet in each case, nothing was done.
Hamilton was a closet homosexual and serial child abuser. Interestingly, police were aware of his proclivities for young boys. Parents had lodged a number of complaints about Hamilton's sordid behavior as a Scout leader and in other youth groups. Yet Hamilton, a shopkeeper and registered gun owner, was never brought to justice by legal authorities. It's an issue that came up repeatedly after his rampage, provoking charges that police engaged in a cover-up regarding Hamilton's sexual crimes. Suspicions of police negligence were further aroused when records pertaining to the sexual abuse allegations were sealed for 100 years (ostensibly to protect Hamilton's abuse victims).
Although Hamilton escaped legal prosecution for molesting children, he was nevertheless shunned by townspeople. His shop went out of business. And community leaders prohibited him from leading or organizing anymore groups for boys.
On March 13, 1996, Hamilton took his revenge, entering the Dunblane Primary School with four handguns - two 9 mm Browning HP pistols, and two Smith & Wesson M19 .357 Magnum revolvers. All of them were legally held. He carried 743 bullets.
He fired 109 times and killed 16 children, ages 5 and 6, shooting them at close range in a gymnasium. He murdered their teacher as she tried to protect them. He shot up other parts of the school, then returned to the gym where he committed suicide by putting the barrel of a handgun against the roof of his mouth and pulling the trigger. Fifteen others were wounded in his rampage.
Britain, to be sure, has not experienced another massacre. But given the number of handguns still in Britain - now mostly in the hands of bad guys and not good ones - it's only a matter of time before another massacre happens. After all, when guns are outlawed, only outlaws (and madmen) will have them. And if they can't get their hands on a gun, they'll find another means to kill.
Interestingly, some anti-gun elitists who would deprive ordinary law-abiding citizens from owning firearms seem unconcerned about madmen obtaining nukes in Iran and North Korea. They entertain the naïve delusion that the United Nation's Security Council and Human Rights Commission will keep these madmen at bay, just as they naively believe the United Kingdom's mostly unarmed police officers can keep growing gun crime at bay.
One thing can be safely inferred about Thomas Hamilton's mental state: He had no reason to fear that an armed policeman might quickly show up: Scotland's police, like England's famous bobbies, are mostly unarmed.
Piers Morgan, for his part, says that in the unlikely event he's deported, he may broadcast from the Caribbean island-nation of Jamaica, part of the British commonwealth. Does Morgan know that Jamaica has one of the world's highest murder rates? And that obtaining a handgun permit there, especially for non-Jamaicans, often drags on for months and months?
Good luck, Piers.