Peter Hitchens is a columnist in London for the Mail on Sunday. He has written a book, A Brief History of Crime: The Decline of Order, Justice and Liberty in England. In it he warns his countrymen (and us) of the dangers of gun control. He also shows how the government, as a result of their failure to stem crime by disarming the good guys, infringes other liberties in a fruitless effort to put a lid on crime.
The successful cultural revolution in England explains more of the drive for gun control a crime problem which was truly non-existent. "The real issue appears to be not crime or public danger, but the state's desire for a monopoly of armed force."
Britain and America shared the traumatic experience of war in the twentieth century. Not surprisingly some of the same losses of liberty ensued in both countries, although in different degrees. "The war changed everything, accustoming Englishmen to state control, regulation, rationing, identity checks and conscription, and bringing the government into their lives in a way never before known."
Gun control was no exception. All areas of life were to be placed on the altar before the high priests of the religion of government. "[M]ost of the legislation and reform of the last half-century, [was] based on the idea that government has supplanted God and can solve all dissensions, bind up all wounds and wipe away every tear from every eye."
A very alarming watershed was the successful war against individual self-defense. In 1946 the policy of the government on granting permits to own guns shifted against self-defense as a reason for having a gun. When the government is officially against the legitimacy of gun use for self-defense, only relatively frivolous reasons are left for owning guns -- target shooting and hunting. How can the pleasure of a few be a valid reason for opposing the banning of guns which have no use in self-defense -- according to the government.
Indeed, believers in the religion of government find it blasphemous that anyone would advocate independent action and responsibility in this area. Why, that's why we have 911! The socialists who rule England believe that criminals are not evil, but simply victims of social injustices. For a citizen to shoot an assailant is to agree that some actions deserve death because they are so evil and dangerous. Socialism and effective self-defense are not compatible.
Criminals, as Hitchens points out, are seen by the Socialist Nanny State elite as victims every bit as much as the criminals' victims. That is why the British police advise people to assume defensive postures when under attack and to not fight back. Not only would you not want to hurt the criminal, but if later on your actions are viewed as an unreasonable use of force, you will be incarcerated. This is not a joke, but the report about a dangerous reality.
Juries are being bypassed and neutered in an effort to facilitate convictions by anyone the government accuses. Americans should not be shocked that this is happening in Britain; the same pressures are pressing in against our juries, also. And the same effort to criminalize acts that are not criminal (chopping down a tree without a permit, for example) has paralleled the drive to decriminalize real criminal acts. Real juries can't be counted upon to rubber stamp the "new wisdom" of the state.
One thing that will not happen to a criminal, no matter how vicious a murderer he may be, is suffer capital punishment. This figures, since murderers are victims too, and the socialists believe that their system of justice can be restorative.
Talk about mixing church and state! Biblically and constitutionally, the role of the state is limited to punishment; the role of the church is restoration of sinners. That is why we used to have a clergyman exhort a murderer to get right with his maker before his execution. Executing a saved murderer was considered the optimal outcome -- justice was accomplished and the kingdom of God was enlarged.
Hitchens makes a very good case that much crime simply never occurs when police walk their beats. They are much more visible and connected to the neighborhoods they are patrolling. A DC taxi commissioner I interviewed concurs. She had observed that when the cops were on foot, they had a wonderful alliance with the taxi drivers. Much of their information came to them from the cabbies. That no longer was the case once the officers got behind the wheel.
Hitchens' book is available through Amazon.com and bookstores here. My Live Fire interview with Hitchens is available on the web at http://gunowners.org/radio.htm.