Scotland: A Model for the Rest of Us

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After the terrible
tragedy at Virginia Tech, it is time that we turned to an older,
more civilized country as a role-model. I speak, of course, of Scotland.
Scotland has long since evolved beyond such displays of violence
as we saw in Blacksburg this past week.

A
United Nations report
has labeled Scotland the
most violent country in the developed world, with people three
times more likely to be assaulted than in America. England and
Wales recorded the second highest number of violent assaults while
Northern Ireland recorded the fewest.

The reason
why is obvious: on March 13, 1996, a lone gunman entered the Dunblane,
Scotland school gym and killed 16 children and their teacher. Within
the next year handguns were made illegal in Britain bringing an
end to gun violence in that ancient land.

The
ban has had no discernible effect on gun crime,
which
has continued a steady rise dating back more than 25 years and
which accounted for some 4,000 injuries in the UK last year [2006].
Immediately after the ban, the number of shootings actually went
up and has stayed up, though the homicide rate, which is relatively
low, has been almost unaffected. In Scotland, for instance, the
rate of about eight killings a year by guns has remained the same
despite the Dunblane ban.

Bravo for the
Brits! Without guns, people are now safe to walk the streets.

[Dr.
Ian] Holland and his colleagues
operate on someone
in Glasgow an average of every six hours, every day of the year.
They try to fix the damage done by knives, razors, bats, fists,
kicks and, very occasionally, innocent accidents. More than a
thousand patients are sent to maxillofacial surgery every year
as a result of violence in Glasgow alone — and the figure is rising.
Only a fraction is reported to the police.

When will we
Americans realize that the only way to make law-abiding people safe
is to take away everyone's guns?

Early
indications
, in the west [of Scotland] at least, suggest
[crime statistics] will be up again in 2006-07, at least for murder
— the easiest violent crime to count. There were 60 murders in
Strathclyde between April and December 2006, 19 more than in the
last nine months of 2005. Officially, reported attempted murders
were up too — to nearly 300.

Without the
guns, criminals are no longer able to hurt the innocent. Gang violence
will come to an end.

[In
Scotland, a
] crackdown on the sale of swords has been
launched as part of a campaign to tackle knife crime and violence….

The measures
are the latest steps from the Scottish Executive to curb the problem
of knife crime….

[Justice
Minister Cathy] Jamieson said: “Knife-carrying is all too prevalent
in some communities, particularly in the west of Scotland, and
has cut short and scarred too many young lives.

“In these
areas police, doctors and law-abiding citizens have seen the damaging
effects of swords, including samurai swords, being wielded on
the streets. “It is simply far too easy at present for these weapons
to be bought and sold.”

Other
parts of the plan brought in under the Police, Public Order and
Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act doubled the maximum penalty for
carrying a knife to four years, gave police the unconditional
power to search someone they suspect of carrying a weapon and
increased the minimum age for buying a knife from 16 to 18.

[Detective
Chief Superintendent] John Carnochan, head of the police’s violence
reduction unit, hailed the measures as “another major step forward
in the fight against knife crime and violence”. More than half
the murders in Scotland each year are carried out with knives
or other sharp weapons.

True, law-abiding
people including women and the elderly will no longer have the means
to defend themselves from the young, violent criminal once all guns
are confiscated, but those people will no longer have a need for
self-defense. Without the guns, there will be no violence from which
to be protected.

3
per cent of Scots
had been victims of assault compared
with 1.2 per cent in America and just 0.1 per cent in Japan, 0.2
per cent in Italy and 0.8 per cent in Austria. In England and
Wales the figure was 2.8 per cent.

Scotland has
shown us all, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that removing guns solves
the underlying problem. Today, Scotland is once more a picturesque
land where you and your mates can gather for a peaceful pint at
the local pub.

Glasses
and bottles
face being banned from Edinburgh’s pubs
and clubs under plans to tackle the soaring number of violent
attacks fuelled by drink….

The
move comes after the number of glass and bottle attacks in the
city soared by 40 per cent last year….

A
similar ban is about to be rolled out across Glasgow….

So allow me
to raise a glass to my ancestral people, the Scots, and to say thank
you. Thank you for showing us the result of outlawing guns. Peace,
serenity and culture.

The
machetes are worst.
As heavy as they are sharp, they
cleave cheeks and split jaws — mash faces. Victims never look
the same again, their twisted smiles revealing the true scale
of Scotland’s toll of violent crime.

April
27, 2007

Rob
Blackstock [send him mail]
teaches economics at Louisiana Tech University and is the Senior
Economist for American Economic Services.

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