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December 31, 2012


Martin Adamson

This is nonsense, only this morning I was reading about the second-hand gun market in Victorian London - completely unregulated.


Pinker does a good job of explaining why Americans have guns, but certainly not the violence itself. For that, I think, you need to look at deinstitutionalization. Many of the murderers have a history of mental illness, and in some cases the parents have tried, unsuccessfully, to have them put away.

Mick H

For shooting pheasants, not peasants. Well, perhaps the odd peasant...

[That was in reply to Martin]

Mick H

Yes Dom, but I imagine the same problems about mental illness occur in Europe too - but not the same levels of violence.

Matthew Walker

Outside of inner cities, the USA has a lower rate of violent crime than anywhere in Europe.

Also, the state never has a monopoly on force. The guy who kicks your door in at 3 am to rob the place, the guy who rapes a girl in her apartment: They have their own little local monopoly on force, in your house. When it actually matters most to you. Or do you have cops on staff?

In my house, I have no cops either, but there's a loaded revolver under the bed. I don't care to hand a force-monopoly to violent morons who break into houses. Hope to God I never use it, but bad things do happen, even in sleepy peaceful Maine.


Nice story, shame to spoil it with evidence to the contrary. Like Switzerland, for example. I can see why despots would like to disarm the people, but not why the people should want to let them.


When it comes to data on guns and violence, the US has to be considered something like an outlier. Our laws are simply too screwy. Is there any country in Europe that has something like the Haynes Decision?


Essentially, this decision ensures that laws that tighten gun registration can never be used against criminals.

And I admit that I know nothing about deinstitutionalization in Europe, but I doubt that it is as bad as it is in the US.

Mick H

I don't know enough to compare US and UK rates of deinstitutionalisation, but certainly there was a major shift here from the Eighties onwards in terms of closing down mental hospitals. All presented as being done with the best possible motives, of course. ["Just about saving money? Dear me no. Patients get institutionalised, you see - much better to get them out into the community - and have you seen "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest"?"] As a result loads of people with mental health issues were tipped out into communities which weren't frankly all that happy to receive them.

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