So I have been in Washington for a while and one thing that I have noticed here is that the famous American Second Amendment is fully utilised. For those who do not know, this is the constitutional right for Americans to use and bear arms.
So Sue Me (Oh Wait I’m in America)
Now I am aware that there is a passionate debate pro-gun and anti-gun in the US, and I want to be careful to people’s sensitivities, after all, you do have guns. So as we all know ignorance is no defence, however to expect that I could know everything would be a bizarre pedestal to place me on, so I will just try to approach this subject as if I have some sort of foreign ignorance waiver to let me by. My aim is not go about this as some sort of anti-gun preacher. After all one of the reasons the US have their second amendment was so they didn’t have to listen to us English folk, and plus, we have already given you Piers Morgan to do rock that boat.
So after all that grovelling, if anybody does get offended by my lack of understanding or comparisons, then….erm…sorry I guess. I would say “so sue me” but over here I feel that is a very dangerous game to play. To be honest when American servers tell me “have a nice day” I’m surprised they do not make me sign a waiver in case I have a rubbish day and decides to sue them. So Americans, just call me a ‘left wing, hippy, communist’, or a ‘bad-teethed limey,’ or what ever is you think will insult me if it makes you feel better.
Logic and Guns
So people in the UK can have guns, they just need to have a licence, and preferably not to have the intention to use it to shoot at other human beings. Pheasants, ducks, partridge, all sorts of game birds and even deer may feel no benefit from this gun control, but generally, I will not see a gun in a public place. I can vividly remember as a primary schooler watching the tragic news coverage of the Dunblane School Massacre which preceded a move for tighter controls on guns controls in Britain. Obviously these sort of crimes have affected the US as well, but I will not go down that path here. It is interesting just how ingrained in many British peoples’ minds this incident seems to be, and how much we believe that controlling gun ownership will help prevent it from happening again.
From what I can see the logic for safety in the US is exactly the opposite. As a local said to me “if somebody knows that everybody has a gun, they will think twice before pulling something, and if they still do then they will probably get killed before they does people harm.” The argument is an intriguing one.
So you guys didn’t like being told what to do or how much taxes to pay to us English colonialists. To me that does seem fair enough, many other places didn’t either. So learning from history it seems that to break free from us English you can either peacefully not fight us, as Gandhi skilfully did, confusing us with a fearful lack of confrontation. Or you can just kick us in the groin by throwing all our tea in the Atlantic Sea and with your right to bear arms, send us off to drink it.
We used to have similar laws in the UK allowing us to shoot at people. Historic laws involved shooting the Welsh with bows and being scared of the Scottish. It seems that many countries have felt the need for their citizens to be prepared to bear arms for their security. Fortunately in the UK, the Welsh are not the threat to English that they once were and such laws have since become obsolete. So as for the USA perhaps the English threat just hasn’t gone away yet, after all …. Piers Morgan.
I See Guns
So I am in the North West of America, not Texas or Louisiana or the other Deep South places stereotyped for loving their weaponry. Yet still I can not help but be amazed by just how many people walk in public with holsters bulging from their hips. One evening myself and Sacha decided to go to the Bellingham’s cinema to watch a movie and I was amazed to see how many people walked into the theatre carrying popcorn, nachos, a fizzy drink, possibly a hot dog and a semi automatic weapon. It was constantly going through he back of my mind that I hope a bullet doesn’t. Speaking for myself, I felt less safe.
The Bad Guys
Well I had to ask some people I met, just to understand. Here is roughly how the conversations go;
Me: “Well it feels weird seeing people in public carrying guns”.
Them: “Yeah, we wouldn’t go out to eat without our gun.” What surprises me here is how matter of fact the responses are, no hint of irony or humour, it is just common sense.
Me: “Really? You take it to the restaurant with you?”
Them: “It comes everywhere.”
Me: “You think you need it all the time?”
Them: “Well you never know when the bad guy will come in, it would probably be the day I didn’t take it.”
I must admit, adults referring to somebody as “the bad guy” does seem a bit too close to Die Hard. However has we were discussing how nice Dim Sum was in Vancouver it amazed me that the person said “I’ve heard it is nice but I can’t go there, I’m not allowed to take my gun over the border.” It seems that the concern that we are surrounded by “bad guys” seems to descend very quickly into paranoia.
So My Thoughts
Well when wondering if the UK is safer than the USA and who is right , the pro or anti gun lobbyists, it occurs to me that I am moving to Canada and to be honest the views of an Englishman is the last thing an American wants or needs! Phew, a bullet dodged…maybe literally!
On a more important note the film we went to see was Divergent. It was a descent film to pass a couple of hours, but it has nothing on the Hunger Games trilogy in my opinion.