Guns and stuff

There has been another terrible shooting at a school in the USA, with 17 people dead (so far) and very many more traumatised, families destroyed and lives unfulfilled. According to the statistics, there has been a shooting at a school every other day so far this year, 2018.

There have been calls for gun controls in the USA, the President says no, it’s a mental health thing, many other Republicans say it is not the time to talk about these things, it goes on. You know nothing will be done.

But there is one thing I can tell you – here in the UK we just don’t get it, the fascination with guns, the fact that more than 40% of the American population owns one or more firearms. I don’t. I don’t believe I have ever seen a gun in real life except in a policeman’s holster, and that was not in this country. It’s not any part of our lives for nearly all of us.

So, here are a few UK myths dispelled:

– you can’t get a firearm, no-one has firearms: not true of course, there are plenty of people who have a genuine need for guns, gamekeepers for example. You can get firearms but it is very hard. There are interviews, tests, background checks and so on. You can’t just walk into a shop and buy a gun.

– police are not armed in the UK – not true. It certainly used to be true, but with increased terrorism, you do see armed police at sensitive places, airports, parliament and so on.

– people don’t get murdered in the UK – not true. There is gun crime in this country (I’m sure you can get a gun by some illegal method if you really try) but it is very small. And there are other methods of killing people, including bombs and cars. Sadly, it is not very hard to kill a number of people with a car

In this country, and probably most others, guns are not any part of our culture. Schools and hospitals may have some kind of security (the school I worked at had some security, mainly to stop odd folk wandering in off the street), but no metal detectors. We don’t want to arm teachers. We just want kids to go to school, learn, enjoy their lessons, be safe.

We can’t understand why Americans think it is a human right to carry guns. The Trump attitude of “everyone should carry guns” just mystifies us, except of course, then the gun companies will make even more profit. It’s not the wild west. America is a violent and intolerant country. It seems that you can simply shoot anyone you like, or don’t like, for any or no reason, and nothing happens.

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