Monday, April 9, 2018

First They Came For Our Guns & Then Our Scissors.

No doubt you have all heard that London has surpassed NYC in murders in the last few weeks. Interestingly, these were not gun deaths since private gun ownership has been outlawed in the UK for almost 20 years. No, London has surpassed NYC in murders wtih a dramatic increase in fatal stabbings. As a NYC dweller, I am thrilled that London has surpassed us, but... there's always a "but".

In response to the spate of knife murders, the current Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, decided to make this statement:
"No excuses: there is never a reason to carry a knife. Anyone who does will be caught, and they will feel the full force of the law."
Now, as someone who has been to a prestigious cooking school, I can think of about 25-35 reasons that I have in several drawers in my kitchen to carry a knife or two from place to place.

As if not being allowed to carry a knife from place to place is stupid enough, then this happened today. The Metropolitan Police in London started doing sweeps of random people in parks (what we in NYC would call "stop & frisk") and this is what they found and seized. Oh, just must see for yourself...

Oh, no!!! No knives, but they seized a flat head screw driver, a Phillips screwdriver, wire cutters, a file, and, the horrors, a pair of scissors!!! Apparently there have been networks of tailors and electricians roaming the mean streets of London just waiting to...fix stuff! Jeez, this photo covers about every tool that I have ever carried on my person in the course of my various and sundry careers! I have been walking the streets for years with these dangerous objects just sittign there in my tool bags waiting to commit crimes!

Let the Brits be a cautionary tale for what happens when we allow our rights to be chipped away. Once we give up even a little of our 2nd Amendment rights, eventually, we will lose our right to carry scissors and screwdrivers and paring knives.

I am sure you have lots to say, so say it already!


Critch said...

I've spent a lot of time in big cities, a lot of time. Even in Memphis, my hometown, I have never seen what I saw in London about 12 years ago. London criminals know that their victims are 99 and 9/10 guaranteed to be one day, once in Piccadilly Square and once near Victoria Station I saw violent purse snatchings...and people just stood there and watched, except for us Yanks who tried to get across the street and help...Memphis criminals know that it's very likely that someone will intervene if they get too crazy,,they may also get shot. Even in NYC I didn't see that kind of open street crime..and I personally believe, based on accounts of friends of mine that live there, a lot seems to happen in London and the UK that never gets reported.

Anthony said...

I'm sure gun rights activists will dine on that Regent Park tweet for years, but its meaningless. Its in a whole other country, but if one wants to look for local resonances, I see a much stronger connection to stop and frisk, which in my view is something that should be viewed with extreme skepticism because it is ripe for abuse.

If London cops banned knives but were only grabbing them up when people were using them in crimes or waving them around, that would be one thing, but instead they are searching random people.

Continuing with the stop and frisk comparison the erosion of rights in place X is interesting to watch, but not necessarily one that means much elsewhere or even means much in the long term in that one place. Local tastes/conditions are often a dominant factor. Generally speaking escalating crime and/or vice creates consensus for broad laws, declining crime and/or vice creates consensus for narrow laws.

Of course, there is a ton of local variance. In my lifetime the English have taken a much dimmer view of individual rights than we have. One could make a career out of fretting about how many much weaker individual rights are in England than they are in America. From an American perspective I'd say its bad, but I'm not sure the English feel the same way. One place's intolerable oppression is another place's the way things should be.

tryanmax said...

Anthony, no one will have to dine out on a single tweet for years. For awhile, police all over the UK have been proudly tweeting their "weapons" seizures, pulling in everything from garden tools to pinking shears to butter knives. The absurdity shows no signs of slowing. But personally, I'd prefer to dine out on this "terrifying arsenal" of antique museum pieces. LINK At least two are visibly non-functional, and I'd be surprised if any of them work!

As far as their being a whole other country, so much the better to make Britain a cautionary tale against complacency. The English may be comfortable clearing their kitchens of cutlery, but the average American would be horrified. Better it stay that way.

BevfromNYC said...

Critch - There's a lot of crime in NYC that goes unreported as well.
And one of the reasons that crime here is "down", is our Mayor/city council have taken it upon themselves to decriminize petty quality of life crimes.

We have a disturbing trend in NYC that no one talks about much and it's the dramatic rise in crimes against the elderly. Of course, some of our elderly in NYC are seriously not to be trifled with...they will take you down. But still there are sick people who prey on them just for a few dollars. Is sick.

BevfromNYC said...

Anthony and Tryanmax - And let's not forget that a UK court just sentence a man to prison for teaching his pug to raise his paw in a "Nazi" salute as a joke. To me, that is scarier than taking my garden shears...

tryanmax said...

Britain and Canada seem to be in a competition to test just how little freedom of speech you can allow while still claiming to have freedom of speech with a straight face.

Anthony said...

When I did a trimester in the UK two decades and change ago I was warned that the UK took a much dimmer view of freedom of speech than the US (there are laws against 'hate speech'), so we had to watch what we said. Subsequently every so often I've seen articles about US college professors and talk radio hosts being denied entry.

Most lists of such things categorize the UK as very permissive in terms of free speech, but it and every other place I've been is a lot less of a believer in free speech than the US (Speechwise in the US one has to worry about retaliation from private employers, not the government).

The US is a unique thing so while I am interested in what goes on in the rest of the world, I don't let weird stuff in country X scare me. However, fear is kind of fun and often politically useful so I don't blame people for stretching to find ways to justify fear.

tryanmax said...

One man's fear mongering is another man's cautionary tale, I suppose.

Critch said...

The 5th gun from the right, the six-shooter, is a replica, it's not and never has been a functioning firearm. Everything terrifies the Brits...their newspapers use that word a lot. I don't really care what other countries do, however, one of Obama's SCOTUS appointees said they would look to other countries for guidance if need be...really? The English haven't been free in a long time...I really like the BBC production Sherlock with Benedict Cumberbatch,,but it's funny how many guns I see in that show..

BevfromNYC said...

Critch - The reason that the Brits are so easy to scare is that they really have no way to protect themselves or their families. A man was arrested (and finally released) because someone broke into his home and he had the audacity to kill the intruder. I get that the cops needed to make sure of the facts, but seriously it was the guys home and he was being invaded.

I often ask this question of Hollywood types who demand change..."Have you ever demanded an inventory of the weapons in the prop departments of the studios you work in?" Talk about weapons of war...they've got it all. Or "How many people are killed/maimed by gun fire per hour for our entertainment?" So far no one has responded.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, Shocking isn't it, what Britain has become? A land that punishes its people for have the wrong ideas and can't trust its own people with scissors.

BevfromNYC said...

Anthony and Tryanmax - There is a reason that George Orwell wrote the kinds of books he did. One person's cautionary tales can come to life.

tryanmax said...

Critch, I remember that. And Democrats routinely cite British and Australian gun law as models. If that's the position of one of our major political parties, then what goes on in those countries is of great relevance to what goes one here.

BevfromNYC said...

Hey, Andrew! Welcome back! How was the vacay?

Critch said...

Years ago a man broke into Sir George Harrison's house and attacked him and his seems to me that the wife grabbed a lamp and hit the attacker over the head and knocked him unconscious...the police chief of that town in a press conference said that they were investigating Harrison's wife for possible charges...I'm not making this up. Here in Missouri, if you break into someone's house, well, your soul may belong to Jesus, but your butt belongs to the homeowner.

Anthony said...

If one wants to find cases of homeowners charged with murder for killing intruders one doesn't have to go abroad. Generally speaking once someone breaks into your home your can kill them but local laws vary and circumstances are sometimes weird, so a small chunk of such incidents result in charges (and an even smaller chunk in convictions).

There was a pretty stupid case in Maryland a few years back in which a guy was charged for killing an intruder who was demanding to talk to his wife (how well he knew the wife is up for debate). The two men knew each other and there was a verbal confrontation, after which the intruder refused to leave despite a gun being in his face, so the homeowner pulled the trigger. The guy was acquitted but its insane he was tried.

McPherson testified that Pinkerton used a derogatory term to refer to Green while telling his wife to get him off the porch; Aro said Pinkerton used the term while speaking directly to Green, and again while speaking about Green to his wife.
Provoked by Pinkerton's words, Green then came through the front door, prosecutors said.
Pinkerton pulled his gun and again told Green to leave, Aro said. When Green saw the weapon, he "taunted" Pinkerton and challenged him to pull the trigger, McPherson said.
Pinkerton was walking backward, about 13 feet away from Green, when he fired two quick shots, hitting Green twice in the chest, the witnesses said.

One case that result in a conviction was a guy in Montana that got 70 years for setting a trap for thieves and then shooting a thief multiple times.

Prosecutors argued during the trial that Kaarma had installed motion detectors and a baby monitor days before the shooting and left a purse filled with cash and other items in the attached garage on the day Dede was killed.
They further contended that when Kaarma left his house to corner Dede in the garage after being alerted to his presence by the monitoring devices, he lost legal protection for his actions under Montana law.
They also cast doubt throughout the trial as to whether Kaarma believed any danger existed, and said that ballistic evidence showed Kaarma had repositioned himself for a final kill shot of an already wounded, weaponless Dede.

Critch said...

Missouri's laws regarding use of force are vague to say the least. We are under no compulsion to retreat when we are there legally...One prosecutor explained to me that there is a world of difference between me shooting some drunk who is in my backyard or my wife shooting some drunk who is in the backyard. I remember many years ago a farmer setting booby trap in Kansas and ended up in prison...OTOH, anything that happens to you in the commission of a felony in our state is probably going to be on you. I've seen juries in this area let some people walk simply because they seemed to be tired of the dead guy.

Critch said...

Our justice has echoes of the frontier at 1981 the town bully in Skidmore, MO, up in Nodaway County was gunned down in the street,,,the FBI eventually closed the case due to not one of the 60 people in the street that day seeing anything. I once asked a State Trooper if they had any leads on the murder of one of our county commissioners...he told me they weren't ruling out anyone west of the Current River,,,nobody liked that dude. Don't confuse St. Louis with Missouri...The Loo is basically Chicago-West.

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