Tuesday, 28 August 2007

In All Charity...get thee to a confessional father !

I am as mad as hell !!

Fr Jim Tucker - devout, normally highly orthodox priest from Virginia; usually a voice of reason amongst all the insanity that exudes from his region ; His blog 'Dappled Things' is normatively a clever, coherent and sincere discourse on the difficulties in contemporary society and The Church ; only on a rare occasion have I had to question his [what I consider inappropriate for a cleric] over-politicising ; but this time he has gone too far !

Britain's Gun Ban -- An interesting look at why gun bans are so foolish. Outlaw possession of weapons, and then the majority of people with weapons will be the criminals who don't care about your gun ban anyway.

In Britain's case:
It's a law so severe that the Britain's Olympic shooting team is forced to train abroad, lest one of its members try to shoot up a grammar school. So how effective has the law been? A doubling in gun-related crimes since the ban, naturally.
Fr Jim's reasoning sounds so sensible doesn't it ? Well it might if you're ignorant !
Well let's have a look at the real truth...from Virginia state records...remember their population is only 7.7 million compared to the UK's 60.6 million.

Many childhood unintentional shooting deaths occur in or around the home of a friend or relative. While Virginians have the right to own guns, they have the responsibility to store those guns safely and out of children's reach. According to the 2002 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey, approximately 38 percent of Virginians keep firearms in or around their homes; and 1 in 6 are unlocked and loaded.

An even larger number of children are hurt by nonfatal gun related injuries. Although gun related injuries peak in adolescence, they can affect infants and younger children too. Younger children are most likely to be injured, either shooting themselves or a playmate, after playing with a gun that they have found in the home, not realizing that the gun is real or that it is loaded.

Virginia Firearm Statistics 2003 [taken from Virginia Department of Health]

There were 798 firearm deaths in Virginia in 2003 making it the second leading cause of injury death.
The firearm death rate was 10.8 per 100,000.
The age-adjusted death rate was 10.66 per 100,000.
Males were almost 6 times more likely to suffer a firearm related death than were females.
Blacks were 2 times more likely to suffer a firearm related death than were whites.
There were 446 firearm related suicides, 330 firearm related homicides and 11 accidental firearm deaths.
Firearms were the leading cause of injury for suicide deaths, responsible for over half (56%) of these deaths.
Handguns were used in 34% of suicides, and shotguns were used in 17%.
Firearms were the leading cause of homicide deaths, responsible for almost three-fourths (73%) of these deaths.
There were 596 firearm related injury hospitalizations in 2003 for a rate of 8 per 100,000.
Forty-eight were self-inflicted, and 339 were assault-related.
Twenty-eight were shotgun related and 163 were handgun related.
The median charge per episode of care was $19,462 and the average length of stay was 6.5 days. Over 22 million dollars were billed for firearm related hospitalizations.
Thirty-five percent of discharges had self as the expected source of payment, and 36% had a private payer.
Men were at 12 times the risk of a hospitalization due to a firearm injury than were females.
Blacks were at almost 9 times the risk as whites for hospitalizations from a firearm injury.
The most common injury types were fractures (31%), internal organs (32%), and open wounds (31%).
There were 8 hospitalizations from BB/pellet guns for unintentional injury, 1 for suicide and 1 for assault.
.....and now let's look at the UK statistics :
According to provisional Home Office figures, there were 58 firearms-related homicides in 2006-07 compared with 49 in the previous year. That is an increase of 18% in just one year. If we include airguns, the number of homicides in 2006-07 rises to 61. There were 413 firearms incidents that resulted in serious injury - more than one a day.
But at the same time, the trend in gun crime overall has been going down.

Overall firearms offences fell 13% in 2006-07 to 9,608 incidents - the lowest number in seven years. Firearms robberies, handgun offences and serious injuries from firearms are also down.

London: Six deaths
James Andre Smarrt-Ford, 16
Michael Dosunmu, 15
Billy Cox, 15,
Annaka Keniesha Pinto, 17
Abukar Mahamed, 16
Nathan Foster, 18
Manchester: One death
Kamilah Peniston, 12
Liverpool: One death
Rhys Jones, 11

Just over half of all firearms offences occurred in just three major forces - the Metropolitan Police in London, Greater Manchester and West Midlands.
Drilling down into the national figures up to the end of April 2006 shows that West Midlands, Merseyside and Greater Manchester Police have all experienced drops in firearms offences whereas London has seen an increase.
The Metropolitan Police says that in the 12 months to July 2007 it saw a 3.5% rise in firearms offences - up from 3,485 to 3,607 incidents.
Nottingham is another city that has struggled with a guns label after a number of killings in 2004, including schoolgirl Danielle Beccan - but its police chiefs say public perception is at odds with reality because the city witnesses far fewer incidents per resident than other so-called gun hotspots. Figures show Nottinghamshire Police recorded one firearms-related death in 2006 and none as of August 2007.

While there has been substantial concern in recent years over the use of imitation weapons in gang incidents - not least because some can be converted into real guns - the figures show there has also been a decrease here.

Further detailed research on firearms crimes on a regional basis will be published in 2008.
What all of this means is that we cannot draw any simple nationwide conclusions about gun crime. What we can say with certainty is that gun crime is a problem that remains closely focused in some cities that have witnessed some terrible deaths.

The figures do not show that gun crime is prolific or widespread in England and Wales.
Now for those who can't be bothered to read the statistics - UK Gun Deaths : 58 [a shockingly high figure !] but as we are only a fifth of the population of the US we should expect the figure to be significantly higher - by a factor of 5 ? No. 10 ? Guess again. 50 ? closer but no coconut...
ok 100 times the amount of gun deaths ? No sorry wrong again : take a look
In 2004 (the most recent year for which data is available), there were 29,569 gun deaths in the U.S:
16,750 suicides (56% of all U.S gun deaths),
11,624 homicides (40% of all U.S gun deaths),
649 unintentional shootings, 311 from legal intervention and 235 from undetermined intent (4% of all U.S gun deaths combined).
In other words there are , wait for it 50,981.034 % more gun deaths compared to the UK !!!!
Now if you want to be more fair , and you don't mind nearly 17000 people blowing their brains out when other attempts at suicide might have been less effective and they had more chance of getting help before they killed themselves - let's remove those figures.
You are still Two Hundred and Eleven Times more likely to die at the end of a gun in the US than in the UK !!!! Whereas we have had only a few hundred deaths in the past decade since the handgun ban of 1997; the US has lost a quarter of a million people due to guns ! That's about the population of the city of Trenton , New Jersey.
Now God Bless Father Jim, but when it comes to inaccurate , inane , and blatantly ,[ to resort to the vernacular], DUMBASS statements - he takes today's biscuit !


Fr Ray Blake said...

Such a silly statement! I dithered whether to put us something on my blog, then didn't have time. Glad you have done it.

James H said...

Will curious why you think the Father is "over-politicising"

You and I have discussed this before on your blog and even though we disagree you seem to find it a very important part of your faith this issue. The good Father is just taking a opposite position