Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Thanks Newt, but no thanks

What a shame Newt Gingrich's chances of being the US Presidential candidate have dwindled so much. From the LA Times:

... displaying the outsized thinking for which he is known, he said he would work to get the United Nations to recognize the right to bear arms as a universal right.
"The right to bear arms comes from our creator, not from our government,” he said, to cheers. “It is one of the inalienable rights alluded to in our Declaration of Independence. ... Far fewer women would be raped, far fewer children would be killed ... and far fewer dictators would survive if people had the right to bear arms everywhere on the planet.”

And some of you would claim that Americans don't pay much heed to the rest of the world... here is a clear example of a guy who knows what we need so desperately.

He's obviously quoting the bit from Genesis where it says, "And the Lord so loved man that he gave him the right to carry a machine gun around everywhere, knowing that man was responsible enough to use it solely for good purposes."

Seriously though. There are lots of things about the US of A that I'm more than happy for them to export. Gun culture is not one of them. And I think I speak for most of us rest-of-the-worlders when I say that the "universal" right to bear arms is not something we particularly want or need.

As an example, allow me to make a quick comparison of my own country, Australia, to the USA. I think it's a fair comparison since they are demographically similar in many ways (despite Australia's much smaller population).

GUNS PER 100 RESIDENTS

United States      =    88.8 (#1 in the world)
Australia             =    15 (#19 in the world)

FIREARM HOMICIDE RATE PER 100,000 POPULATION

United States      =   3.6 (#8 in the world)
Australia             =   0.3 (#26 in the world)

Of course, some of you might argue, "But maybe in countries with lots of guns, people are killed in other ways, like stabbing."
So to save you the trouble of bothering to argue that, read this first:

MURDERS PER 100,000 POPULATION

United States      =    5.9 (#63 in the world)
Australia             =    1.5 (#108 in the world)

Of course, in the murder rate and the firearm homicide rate, there are other countries that rate worse than the US - in some cases, far worse - but none of them could really be described as a first-world country.

So yes, murders still take place in countries with low rates of gun ownership, but having a gun makes it far easier for the potential killer. Anders Breivik could not have killed 69 of his fellow Norwegians with a knife.

Of course, the US is a sort of special case - it has so many guns already (not to mention a creepy obsession with them) that gun control becomes extremely complicated. But most other developed countries don't have that problem. So we'd appreciate it, USians, if you didn't try and extend your "freedoms" to us. I prefer the freedom from being shot at.


See also:

Guns, courts and white supremacy

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