Scotland: A Model for the Rest of Us


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