Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Things That Make You Think... and Shudder

I did some math this morning to support a combox debate on whether or not banning guns reduces violence. I compared the murder rates in the US and UK, and then the murder-with-gun rates in both countries. The results:

The US murder-with-gun rate is 34x the one in the UK. The overall US murder rate is 3x that of the UK. That means that if you look only at murders that don't use a gun, the UK rate is over 6x the US rate.

Now, dead is dead, but compared to some options, a gun is not the worst way to go. (I still remember vividly a story out of Rwanda of a man describing how a mob forced him to kill his wife -- she was from a different tribe -- with a garden hoe.) But what should I run across a few minutes later but this link on CatholicCaveman to a story from the Daily Mail about one of those non-gun UK murders: a 20-year-old woman or Kurdish origin who was strangled and stamped to death over the course of several hours with her family's approval as an 'honor killing'.

A gun would make this worse how?

The murderers got around 20 years a piece in prison. Call my barbaric, but I can't help thinking that the Britain of Dorothy Sayers' novels had its priorities better sorted out in dealing with these situations with hemp.


Bernard Brandt said...

In this context, I am reminded of Poul Anderson's comment (through his character of Nicholas Van Rijn) of the appropriate punishment for people who kill other people:

Bullets are a waste of money and time. A rope can be reused.

Vir Speluncae Catholicus said...

Something else to consider... ever since the arrival of the first European settlers to what is now the United States, American homes have traditionally be veritable armories of firearms.

Yet firearm related crimes didn't start going through the roof until we dumped moral absolutes (IE: kicked God out of the public arena)


LogEyed Roman said...

I doubt it, Catholicus.

For me: Here's a few entertaining bits of information. One: The murder-by-gun rate in the United Kingdom has increased along with the reduction of privately-owned firearms.

Hong Kong, where private firearms ownership is illegal, with strong penalties, has a very high homicide-with-guns rate.

In Switzerland and Israel, not just guns but combat firearms capable of full-automatic fire are everywhere because all adults (all male adults in Switzerland) are actually in the army and keep their weapons in their homes. Factor out terrorism, and the homicide rate with ANY means is astonishingly low. (I wonder why?)

The manager of a gun range told me a thought-provoking statistic: Liability insurance for private gun ranges in America are fairly high, but this is due to potentially huge awards, not to a high rate of accidents or violence. In fact, his insurance agent told him that, per hour per person, church socials are more dangerous than gun ranges in America.

I've spent many hours in many different ranges. People are astonishingly soft-spoken and well behaved when they are surrounded by other people with loaded guns in their hands. Gee, now why do you suppose that is?

Regarding the use of hemp, I quote from Ambrose Bierce's "Devil's Dictionary": "Hemp-Noun: A plant from whose fibrous bark is made an article of neckwear which is put on after public speaking in the open air and prevents the wearer from catching cold." Notice that Saddam Hussein has not had to visit a doctor for some time now?

Let me quote myself. Now, "recidivism" is a fancy word meaning for someone who has done a prison term commits a crime again. It is generally considered a "good thing" when something society does reduced recidivism. I have said often that whatever else you think about capital punishment, I think any reasonable person would agree that "the recidivism rate of executed criminals is acceptably low."

LogEyed Roman

Foxfier said...

"You can't stop the honor killings, it's tradition!"
"Well, in my culture, we have a tradition as well-- when men kill women, we kill them. When families kill their children, we kill them. We shall let them keep their tradition of honor killings-- and we shall keep ours, afterwards."
(with apologies to history)