This letter was published in an edited form in The Scotsman letters page of the issue for 28 April 1998.
Date: Mon, 27 Apr 1998 13:04:13 +0100 (BST)
To: Scotsman Letters <Letters_ts@scotsman.com>
Subject: Latest US shooting tragedies
The British media again makes big play of the latest US shooting-related deaths. In contrast, US deaths due to "joy-riding" or alcohol abuse amongst the young are never featured in the UK press. This exposes the media agenda on "gun control." What the UK press is trying to do is validate the UK's gun-prohibition by reference to the US situation, and obscure the real issues involved. In one of the US tragedies, the gun involved was one taken from a hand-bag - i.e. a gun a woman was using for self-defence. This is not simply a fundamental human right but in the US is a legal, constitutional right that is recognized as such by a large proportion of the people. The American National Rifle Association's multi-million dollar "Eddy the Eagle" programme of teaching gun safety in schools has in actual fact dramatically reduced the incidence of firearms accidents amongst the young, against stiff opposition from American anti-gun groups such as Handgun Control Inc. and the various government-funded bodies such as the Center for Disease Control.
With violent crime rising year-on-year in the UK I suspect that eventually even the British public (not notable for their perspicacity in seeing when they're being fed propaganda rather than the truth) will sit up and take notice of the many objective criminological studies on the role of firearms in American society and the relevance of that information to the UK. This will be in spite of a biased media that is colluding with the political establishment in attempting to infantilize the UK population and is thoroughly careless of fundamental human rights in its incoherent pursuit of a "fair" and "civilized" society.
"That rifle on the wall of the labourer's cottage or working class flat is the symbol of democracy. It is our job to see that it stays there!"
-- George Orwell, Tribune magazine, 1940.
John Pate <firstname.lastname@example.org>,