This one didn't get published in The Scotsman so I guess it will have to go on the web-
Date: Thu, 26 Mar 1998 01:23:36 +0000 (GMT)
To: Scotsman Letters <Letters_ts@scotsman.com>
Subject: Arkansas school shootings
It seems odd that the shooting atrocity in Arkansas should be the lead item in UK TV News and newspapers. Also, that there should be so much media comment about the need for "stricter gun control" in the USA. One wonders as to the relevance of this to the UK scene with its prohibitory gun laws.
The usual UK Media knee-jerk reaction to banning guns is paraded for all. Reports of feelings in the Arkansas town involved suggest that many there are taking a rather more balanced approach and waiting to see what the full story was before rushing to conclusions. This attitude, and the lack of an immediate US gun ban is blamed in the "gun culture" in the US (which seemingly we had here in the UK prior to Dunblane).
However, when we look a bit more closely perhaps the Americans aren't quite so daft after all. Clinton is currently in Rwanda, where UK journalists reported that many of the awful massacres there, on a far larger scale than the killings seen here or in America, were committed using edged weapons. Further, the response to "drunk-driving" or "joy-riding" is never seen to be to ban cars or alcohol (or both). Quite rightly, the perpetrators and their motives are focused on. After all, what exactly do we gain if we remove guns from the equation? Might not such adolescents as in the Arkansas case instead grow up to become "Arkansas Bombers" (a la Timothy McVeigh) or some other flavour of indiscriminate mass-murderer, or perhaps serial-killer? (Maybe after joining the Marine Corps!) The implication in the UK Media is always that removing the guns from civilians will solve the problem of deranged persons. This makes no sense at all, unless perhaps you believe in sympathetic magic. Because "strict gun laws" will disarm the law-abiding and prevent them from defending themselves against aggression we should expect that to have positively harmful outcomes.
Internet connected readers might care to peruse--
which will throw some light on the matter.
John Pate <email@example.com>,