Like the rest of the country, I am absolutely shocked by this. The latest is that it was a 13 year-old that did it, unloading his pistol as he rode by on his bike. Words fail me.
I have spent many years defending the media (which I have worked in for many moons) but I am suddenly scratching my head asking what reason, other than the current state of the world at large embracing gang/gun culture as a saleable commodity could be responsible for why any kid could ever in a million years think it acceptable to a) obtain a gun and b) unload at a bunch of even younger kids.
For all the gang crime and violence in the UK we simply DO NOT have stuff like this happen here. Possibly twice or three times in the last decade. But this one takes the biscuit. My usual response would be to lay into the parents but I truly think there is a much larger issue at stake.
When I was a kid I had role models in my life that were good, positive influences. Who have kids got now? A bunch of ex crack-dealers turned rappers saying kids shouldn't do drugs now they've made their name and fortunes from it? A bunch of rapacious Bentley-driving chavvy footballers (soccer players) or some dog-fighting NFL scum? To quote the Stranglers, whatever happened to our heroes?
My thoughts and condolences go to his family.
PS - Currently quite rum-fuelled so hopefully this is as coherent as I want it to be. Will check in the am.
Naw, you make perfect sense. Western Civilization eats itself out from the inside until real heroes step up to take bold initiative and revive the masses. That which allows the heroes to function is the same thing that allows villians to take hold as well.
Take solace my friend, those heroes you speak of are still out there, we just haven't hit bottom yet. They'll show up then. Until then all we can do is do our damdest to be those heroes ourselves.
I have been reading about it too, it's sad. If you followed the news you would see that these things are happening all the time now in Britain. Incidents of gun crimes have been steadily increasing every since the handgun ban in 1997.
I can tell by your use of the predjudicial term "gun culture" that the BBC has you brain washed into thinking that gun ownership by law abiding citizens is a bad thing.
Saddly I don't see people in Britain waking up to the fact that their gun control laws are what has been fueling the surge in violent crime that began in 1997 and has continued unabated.
When thirteen year olds can buy guns, that should tell you something about how ineffective gun control is.
The best way to deter people from committing such undiscrminate acts of violence is allow law abiding citizens the right to bear arms. It is common sense that people are much less likely to open fire on people who might shoot back.
I don't see the law in Britain changing any time soon. So the best thing you can do 1packlondoner is get used to it and not let it upset you too much, because there are going to be a lot more of these types of incidents.
I'd normally agree with you on that, but we're dealing with an 11 years old here. Unless kids in your town carry weapons, I don't think more guns will solve the problem. This is a clear case of a deeply-rooted societal problem as 1-pack noted.
With all due respect Genghis, please don't speak to me like I'm a fucking cretin. I live grew up in one of the nastiest parts of London that has one of the highest crime rates and incidences of violent crime. You have no idea what I have witnessed growing up - I have seen gang-related murder take place in front of me not 4ft away. I have also worked in news and current affairs for many years and so to suggest the BBC has me brainwashed is absolutely pathetic.
There is a big big difference between gang and gun crime, and a thirteen year-old kid riding around indiscriminately firing his handgun and killing an 11 year old. You telling me the 11 year old should have access to a gun too so as to have defended himself? By the way, yes I feel that any culture that encourages the ownership or use of firearms, whether it be legal or illegal is a negative one.
Why does it have to be that I am 'brainwashed'. Is it not possible that can hold en equally valid but differing opinion to your own?
As for our changes in gun ownership law. As far as I am aware, these weapons were never licenced for personal protection anyway, but purely for sporting reasons so that particular argument of yours doesn't really hold too much water.
Anyway at a time when young kids are getting hold of and using guns is it a) a good idea or b) a bad idea, to have guns more readily available?
I could go and buy a Mac-10 for about Â£300-450 with about a 24hr turnaround if I wanted to from a guy who knows a guy. So could just about all the kids from where I come from.
The problem is in making the Mac-10 an aspirational object and in showing that the gun is a shortcut to achievement for kids in deprived areas.
The problem isn't availability. It is wholly unrelated to the banning of handguns, but rather to the rising prevalence of gang culture as a saleable commodity and something which is already in the grasp of these young and deprived kids who have nothing else and don't really see too much of a future outside making it on a football pitch, in a record studio or on a street corner dealing smack.
This is the correct response. For all my grievances with guns I do believe parents have a responsibility to teach respect for life. This is where major failings in parenting lie in my opinion.
When I was young I had toy guns and was taught at an early age not to point them at people even though they were not real--even squirt guns where not to be pointed at living things. I didn't understand it then but completely do now.
This behavior reinforced in me a respect for live arms as well as teaching me the consequences that could result from such behavior. I do not own guns now, nor will I ever. They serve only one purpose and I could just as easily use some other nonfatal weapon for my protection if need be but I don't think we need to villainize them or law abiding citizens whom own them.
I often wonder now with all the negative attention on gun violence if the lack of "gun play" doesn't have something to do with child on child gun violence. Parents are less likely to allow their children to play with toy guns and as a result mis-out on this necessary life lesson.
Media images of violence were all around me as a child--often over-glorified without showing the real brutality of violence--but I still had my parents to instill in me the consequences of such violent behavior.
We cannot blame guns or the media because we still need to take responsibility for our children (and ourselves) and instill in them a sense of right and wrong.
My next question would be, where did this child get the gun from and is this person being held accountable?
You're telling me children have easy access to that kind of cheddar that they can buy weapons off the black-market? Somehow I think you exaggerate slightly. Even here in the US with all the gun shops and owners it is not that easy to get a weapon illegally--though a motivated individual could certainly get one.
I do suspect that the incidence of gun violence will continue to rise in your country just because of the influence US media and culture has on it and the fact that your country doesn't yet understand how to deal with it properly since it has never been a real issue before.
Don't worry though--I bet parliament will do the right thing and keep law-abiding citizens from owning guns and gun violence will go down--just like in the US.
It's the culture of violence. I have seen a lot of gang members who shitted away their high school education, but could make numerous hand signs and knew gang alphabets backwards and forewards. If they applied themselves in school, they could use the same knowlege and put it towards mathematics or chemistry....but it's just not cool.
In my town you had kids with tons of guns killing other kids because of the crap in music videos and rap music, they killed people because they didn't like the color clothes they were wearing.
These kids didn't work, didn't want to. They didn't see any reason to make minimum wage when they could sell crack and make it "big" like the rap stars they saw on MTV, living the gangster lifestyle.
Most of these kids come from broken homes. They have no fathers. The gang is their family. Their mothers don't care because they bring home cash. Lots of times their family is in total denial of what is going on, until their kid ends up dead, then, it's someone elses fault, like the cops, or the mayor.
I know kids aged 14 that were earning that per night dealing weed. No joke. No exaggeration. And in a slow month, so what if they had to save up for it? They can use it, and then sell it on...
PS - I come from a broken home. I was still taught respect and that that the only people I should look up to are those who have in some way been of a benefit to his or her fellow man, even if it only be due to their entertainment value.
Also, agree 100% with LIFTICVSMAXIMVS about playing with toy guns and getting over the preoccupation with them by about age 7 or 8, but also having it drilled into me that these were used to kill, not to play with by adults trying to shift records, but to end other people's lives.
There is definitely something for the 'PC gone mad' brigade to sink their teeth into now. I feel taking all the toy guns off the shelves may well have proven counter-productive in the long run.
1-pack feel free to vent, I don't take offense too easily. Freedom of speech is very important. I believe very much in the free discourse of ideas.
The reason why I said you have been brain washed is because you use the term "gun culture". This a term that one sees used in the British press quite often.
Let tell you something about the term "gun culture". If a picture is worth a thousand words, then the term "gun culture" is worth a thousand visuals. To the average Brit those two words conjure up a mental construct based upon every Hollywood shoot'em up they have ever seen.
The British media use that term to lump everyone who supports the right to bear arms into a group, which they try to paint as some kind of lunatic fringe. This way it becomes very easy to dismiss what they have to say and prevent any kind of rational debate. This why I say that term is predjudicial.
If it is true that there is such a thing as gun culture then it is equally true that there is such a thing as "anti gun culture". For some reason the British media never use such a term or any other term to group the gun control crowd. Obviously you media types don't want an even and fair debate. If there was a fair debate your agenda would lose out to reason.
You are against honest, decent citizens having a having a gun to defend themselves. Yet a couple of paragraphs later,you say that you could buy a mac10 submachine gun on twenty four hours notice for a couple hundred quid. When you couple that with thirteen year old gang bangers getting ahold of guns and shooting eleven year olds I have to wonder what the hell you are thinking.
Britains gun control laws have done nothing except disarm law abiding citizens and leave them defenseless against street gangs that have ready access to guns. This is why Britain has seen such a rapid growth in gang violence in the ten years since the gun ban.
This is a set of circumstances that goes way beyond just one thirteen year old shooting an eleven year old. It is about a society that has been stripped naked of the means of controlling or standing up to the most destructive elements in that society.
You think London is bad? I have lived in the East end of London. In some ways it wasn't as bad as where I live in the East side of Detroit but in other ways it was way more dangerous. As bad as things are here, it would be a lot worse if we went to a free for all like the UK.
Sifu, I clearly summed up what I considered when I used the term gun culture. Hopefully you'll accept my definition of it, as a culture which accepts and encourages the ownership and use of firearms.
I have already pointed out that guns in the UK were not licenced for home defence, but for sport or for farmers. It has been a very long time since you could legally buy a gun for home defence in the UK. Far far longer than your post makes out. The fact is the rise in US-style gang culture can be directly linked to the rising prevalence of the US pop-culture in the UK. It has gotten so bad I now hear British kids talking about the 'feds' or '5-O' when referring to the UK police. Sometimes almost affecting an American accent. If it wasn't so sad it would be embarrassing. I wanna say 'It's not enough you wanna be a gangster but why can't you be a British one? Why do you have to pretend to be from somewhere else too?' Man.... We are even losing our gangster heritage to you guys....
Yes I said that getting hold of guns is not a problem for someone who wants them. Your solution appears to be to make guns more available for ALL. Mine would be to stop guns being seen as a shortcut to earning money, respect and power. Your refusal to look at any contributing factor that doesn't fit into your pro-gun agenda is ridiculous. This wasn't even a thread about the pro gun lobby until you turned it into one.
Where did you live in London? I lived in Lewisham, Peckham, New Cross and Deptford. If you made guns legally available in any of those areas there would be a bloodbath.
I expect a heated debate here about wether it's best to ban weapons effectively or allow law-abiding citizens easy gun ownership.
Anyone knows the game "Postal 2"? The most difficult mode was "Heston World" (lol) where EVERYBODY was walking down the streets with heavy weaponry (the game's setting is a small town with people more or less acting like in real life eg. shopping or having a picnic)!
Personally, I would't live in "Heston World". But there probably is a point of no return where the black market/criminals managed to get a hold of too much weapons to assume a general ban is still effective. Good thing that in Germany the criminals are still lacking firepower.
Well for me it's not as much (although partially) the issue that the kid can get hold of a gun. It's the fact through whatever sociolgical conditions that the kids feels it is a good course of action to follow to obtain one.
These factors could be myriad - bringing into the debate issues such as social deprivation, bad parenting, education, and of course we can't rule out - simply being a nasty little shit.
Understand that there are quite a few people out there making an effort to pry guns from law-abiding citizens. I don't think this thread has anything to do with the availability of guns, but us gun-owners can get very touchy when there's even a whiff of anti-gun fervor anywhere. I don't think you are openly anti-gun, but certainly passively anti-gun. This is why I avoided a gun debate initially.
Now that that can of worms has been opened though, why do you think that criminals would honor a gun ban, but as soon as they get a gun in their hot little hands avoid a ...well, murder ban? Wouldn't honest citizens be safer in a tough neighborhood if they were allowed to arm themselves to the level of the local thugs? Besides, excuse me for being heartless but who cares if a bunch of gang-bangers get killed? Besides, how would their ability to get guns be made easier if citizens could arm themselves? At least in the U.S., people must pass a background check to purchase a gun. Criminals would fail any check and would have to resort to the black market, which is where they get their guns in the first place.
All things considered though, I agree that the bulk of these problems are cultural. You really shouldn't (and I'm not saying that you do) allow an inanimate object to be put to blame.
Being totally honest it does scare me a little going to the US and seeing the availability of guns but I guess that is purely a cultural thing. You guys have grown up with them and (one hopes) have the respect and intelligence to know what was and was not appropriate. By the same token though, when I see people up in arms (excuse the pun) about the government thinking about banning assault rifles I get a little confused. WHAT ON EARTH does a right-minded civilian need an assault rifle for? What are you planning on assaulting? A deer in Kevlar?
We have NEVER had that culture in the UK and any attempt to introduce it now would be heavily counter-productive because we do not have the history and inherited respect for firearms. Subsequently it will never be an issue here as far as I am concerned. Furthermore in response to your point, it is not a case for me of criminals honouring a gun ban but rather my feeling that the less guns that are in the public domain, the harder it will be to get hold of one either by theft or other means. And to my mind less guns available = good. You pro-gun guys HAVE to understand the differences in our respective cultures here and why it would not work for us here.
I guess I am anti-gun in the sense that I feel that we should trust in those trained to protect us although be assured that if someone entered my house with ill intent he would soon meet the business end of my baseball bat or whatever is to hand.
As for the 'who cares if a bunch of gang bangers get killed?' Well I can certainly understand the reasoning behind that and to a degree I can sympathise, but having grown up on a rough council estate and knowing a lot of these kids when I was younger, it is far too simplistic to say they either deserve it, are all bad people, or could offer nothing to society if they were shown there was another way. Of course I am not referring to older, hardened career criminals but the young kids who have no choice but to be around it.
And obviously, an 11 year-old kid is by no means a gang-banger or past saving, and this tradgedy just goes to show the dangers inherent in putting more guns in the public domain.
Oh, and yeah. This realy isn't an issue about gun laws. It's about attitudes to kids from deprived areas and how they are not given either the protection needed or the incentives to achieve in the 'real' world as opposed to the 'instant repsect, money and power' lifestyle available on their doorstep with no education and very little effort required.
Perhaps it is a cultural thing. It's a good thing we broke from you guys then. laugh Look, we need assault rifles to shoot government officials. That is what the second amendment is about. It has NOTHING to do with hunting. The right to bear arms is there to defend the right to free speech, and our other most cherished freedoms. We allow our citizens to be armed with assault rifles because, in the event of an armed revolt, the people need to be comparably armed with the military. This isn't wacky, right-wing militia gun nut talk, this is the purpose as stated by our founders.
I would be willing to contend that it wouldn't be counter productive, but that is another debate. I do however agree that less legal guns would make fewer overall guns in circulation. You're probably right. Fewer guns would be stolen and fewer would end up in the hands of criminals. That said, how much of a consolation is that when you're being mugged at knifepoint or an armed man is in your home at 2am threatening your family? And more to the spirit of the right to bear arms, what about when your civil rights are gone and you're under the thumb of the next Hitler or living pages straight out of 1984? For me, it's more a case of priorities. Live free or die? Or live safe as a slave? Besides, I'd rather a few hundred deaths every year that a few million deaths every 60 years.
Here in the U.S. the police are NOT obligated to protect individuals. I forget the case but I'll try to drum it up later. That also said, the police aren't always there. They tend to be pretty good at showing up with the white chalk after the scene though. We recently had a woman in Minnesota get raped over the course of 90 minutes as citizens ignored her screams for help. That's tough. And I certainly trust your valor to grab that bat and kick a little ass, but shouldn't we want to do everything in our power to stack the odds of victory in our favor? Just having a gun doesn't mean you'll win any altercation, but it does improve your odds over your fists or a bat.
As for this, I wholeheartedly agree. Always a pleasure my friend.
Well with all the CCTV cameras here it already feels like 1984 sometimes.
You're allowed to have assault rifles in case of an armed revolt? That is an awesome law! I wanna put in a bid for a Eurofighter so I can have parity with the military when the country goes to pot. Honestly, I had NO idea that was the reason. When was the last armed revolt in the US?
In other news - another guns amnesty has just been declared. Hardly going to be solving gun crime overnight, but the last one in 2003 led to 44,000 illegal firearms being handed in.