Neil Gaiman has provided me (via Tumblr) with some more lovely information about UK versus US gun laws.
On March 13, 1995, in the small Scottish town of Dunblane, a forty-three-year-old man, Thomas Hamilton walked into a primary school with four handguns and opened fire, methodically killing sixteen children and one adult teacher before killing himself. The unprecedented massacre of children led, within two years, to legislation that imposed a total ban on the private ownership of handguns in the United Kingdom. Today, no one in the United Kingdom can privately own a handgun or a semiautomatic weapon. There was not much hand wringing or heated debate over this legislation. It was discussed, and enacted, with overwhelming public support, in response to the mood of national shame and grief over the killings.
I remember. Mostly, the people in the UK felt that not having things like this happen was a good thing. I wish these massacres would persuade the American voting public of the same thing.
(The UK had 14 Firearm-related murders last year; the US, with a population only 5 times that of the UK, had 9,369. Per this website.)
The New Yorker article, from which that quote was pulled, makes a number of clear, unambiguous points about the absurdity of American gun laws.
It occurs to me that this is the second time this year that I've blogged about American gun laws for days in a row. Last time was following a preventable massacre, too. The last time I did it was following the Aurora, CO shootings. But now that I check, there was also the shooting at the Sikh temple in August. So, we're up to 3 this year. 3 fatal attacks on civilian locations by individual deranged people.
To wrap this up, and hopefully not come back to it, here's one more quote, a post by confusedtannenbaum on tumblr:
There’s something I want to say about the Connecticut shooting that hasn’t been sitting well with me and it’s how a lot of people talking about this shooter are quantifying his motivations as being due to mental illness
I know a lot of people who follow me don’t really seem to buy social theories about white privilege and ableism (to be frank, I don’t know why you’d be here if you don’t, but that’s another discussion altogether) but here’s why doing that is kind of hurtful
Very few, if any of these sorts of tragedies are caused by mental illness when the killers are professionally evaluated and that’s because more often than not, these are not regrettably avoidable instances where proper psychiatric care would prevent them - they’re the power fantasies of privileged white males who grow up in a culture of fetishized violence
This is important to note for two reasons
- If the killer wasn’t white, the media would have absolutely no problem calling it terrorism or levying allegations of gang connections
- People with mental illnesses are not ticking timebombs and there are huge differences between mental illness and mental disturbances and people who suffer from mental illnesses severe enough to push them to do something like this show extremely troubling warning signs long before they have the chance to do something, if they’re not already incarcerated for lesser crimes
I know you guys think you’re contributing to a positive and accepting discourse by saying one of the ways we can learn from this horrific event is to provide better care for people with mental illnesses but what you are doing is implicitly adding an “or else…” to the end of that sentence and that’s very hurtful to a lot of people, some of whom I bet you care about