#TheaterShootings: Advances in weapon technology makes the US Constitution a poor defence against lone wolf ‘terrorists’

Quite separately from the human tragedy of the shootings in Aurora, Colorado the intriguing issue of gun law in the US comes, once more to the fore. This seems to work on two levels: public safety; and the principles of ‘spontaneous order’ which so coloured the thinking of the founding fathers of the United States itself.

One outbats the other when it comes to priorities when it comes to American politics. It took a Conservative [Of sorts – Ed], to lay out the case for prioritising the former, albeit in the broadest of broad terms:

You know, soothing words are nice, but maybe it’s time that the two people who want to be president of the United States stand up and tell us what they are going to do about it, because this is obviously a problem across the country,”

The problem, in bald terms, is that the right to bear arms has been an American citizen’s birthright since the days when it took two and a half minutes to reload a weapon of choice. These days you can lay waste to a dozen lives wel within that time and injure many more.

How many of those in the cinema last week bore arms thinking it would protect them from such an attack?

It would certainly have been the right of most of them to do so, but it turns out the only thing that saved more was the prompt arrival of the state’s police and emergency services.

Lionel Shriver has given up commenting on such events, arguing that paying attention to such perpetrators only encourages others.

The intention of the founding fathers of the American Republic is a bulwark many in the gun lobby invoke and it is well dug in

It is hard to see it easily unravelled, even at state level. But if it is not tackled at the level of the Constitution, calls for reforms are worthless.

I am not sure how anyone could argue that the founders’ intentions were permissive of such thoughtless mass slaughter of its own citizens?

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  • Mister_Joe

    It seems obvious to me from the wording that the intent was to be able to quickly organize a militia to deal with an imminent threat. Yet the Supreme Court has ruled otherwise.

  • Mister_Joe

    Here is the wording from the Second Amendment:

    A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

  • andnowwhat

    I saw Richard Dawkins tweet that these events should not get coverage.

    The feeding frenzy of rolling news needs to stop. It’s usually pointless conjecture and repetition for hours and hours anyway

  • Mick Fealty

    Kudos to Ms Shriver then!!

  • Dec

    Charlie Brooker covered the ‘publicity’ angle rather well in Newswipe’ a few years ago:

  • The Raven

    Found some interesting figures online at a site run by the University of Sydney. A range of organisations with various interests in the reduction of firearms seem to back the site. Take from that what you will.

    Current estimated population of the US is around 311m

    The estimated total number of guns held privately in the US is 270m; 88 firearms per hundred people.

    Annual homicides by any means:
    2010: 14,159
    2009: 15,241
    2008: 16,272
    2007: 16,929
    2006: 17,030

    Number of gun homicides:
    2010 – not available
    2009: 9,146
    2008: 9,484
    2007: 10,129
    2006: 10,225

    So last year, a town the size of say, Banbridge or Limavady was “murdered”, with around two thirds of that being as a result of privately held firearms. This doesn’t count “unintentional” or accidental deaths, or indeed suicides.

    I have no comment on this thread, not being American, not feeling the desire to bear arms against government – though I think the day for that in our own little pair of islands isn’t far off, should things get worse – and never having felt very comfortable in the presence of guns. But the level of ownership discussed here is frankly frightening.

    I personally have no problem with someone owning a Glock/other handgun for home defence, but I get the impression that there are veritable arsenals behind closed doors – never mind open streets – in the States.

  • gendjinn

    How many of those in the cinema last week bore arms thinking it would protect them from such an attack?

    None, the cinema in Aurora was a gun free zone.

  • wild turkey

    “maybe it’s time that the two people who want to be president of the United States stand up and tell us what they are going to do about it, because this is obviously a problem across the country,” which goes a long way to explaining why i have cast ballots in the last 7 presidential elections via the american consultate in belfast.

    Regarding the right to bear arms, he framers of the constitution were not of one mind. For example, if my reading is correct, John Adams saw the need for a militia but had doubts about the efficacy of individuals bearing arms for the sake of it.

    “To suppose arms in the hands of citizens, to be used at individual discretion, except in private self-defense, or by partial orders of towns, countries or districts of a state, is to demolish every constitution, and lay the laws prostrate, so that liberty can be enjoyed by no man; it is a dissolution of the government. The fundamental law of the militia is, that it be created, directed and commanded by the laws, and ever for the support of the laws.”
    –John Adams, A Defense of the Constitutions of the United States 475 (1787-1788)

    Alternatively, Alexander Hamilton was concerned with the need of the citzenry to protect itself against the power elite(s).

    If the representatives of the people betray their constituents, there is then no recourse left but in the exertion of that original right of self-defense which is paramount to all positive forms of government, and which against the usurpations of the national rulers may be exerted with infinitely better prospect of success than against those of the rulers of an individual State. In a single State, if the persons entrusted with supreme power become usurpers, the different parcels, subdivisions, or districts of which it consists, having no distinct government in each, can take no regular measures for defense. The citizens must rush tumultuously to arms, without concert, without system, without resource; except in their courage and despair.
    — Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 28

    I wonder what Big Als’ take would be on the right to bear, AND USE, arms in view of the ongoing tsumani of sleaze,greed,deceit,corruption and incompetence amongst the various pillars; press, police, banking, gov’t, both in the USA and the YUK.

    just a question, like.

  • Mister_Joe

    I’m lucky enough to live in a small town in rural ontario so, apart from occasional petty theft, crime is very rare. Almost all violent offences are the result of domestic disputes. But, if I lived in the USA I think I would probably keep a gun at home.

  • The intention of the founding fathers was that an armed citizenry was the ultimate check against tyranny and thus one of many checks and balances within the American system.

    At issue is the operation in practice of the second amendment as intended by the founding fathers.

    One interpretation is that the second amendment guarantees the collective right to own guns and to form a militia, the view taken by most reformers. The other interpretation is that the amendment guarantees the right for an individual to own guns, the view taken by the NRA. In 2008 the Supreme Court sided with the NRA and against the District of Columbia who had banned the individual ownership of guns.

    But given the genie has been out of the bottle for a long time I’d give serious consideration to keeping a gun if I was a US citizen.

  • ptolemyforbesbrown

    There is little likelihood of gun ownership being “tackled” at constitutional level, and even if it were any move to curtail legal access to firearms would be resisted. This opposition I suspect would come from a wider constituency than the so-called ‘gun lobby’.

    It would appear that many people living in the United States are at best suspicious of what they think of pejoratively as the ‘federal authorities’. For those, from the ‘survivalist’ far right to those who simply dislike ‘big government’, gun control is a touchstone of ‘freedom’ and it would not succeed in removing guns from society.

    Indeed in some of the reportage following the shooting it was claimed that the movie theatre had banned patrons from bringing guns into the performance (perhaps concerned for an over enthusiastic reaction to the film).

    However the post-shooting reaction was not to support this mild and seemingly quite understandable curtailment but to lament the fact that movie goers could not shoot back to ‘take out’ the gunman.

    Sadly ‘rolling-news’ is another genie that will not be put back into the bottle. With so many platforms available, so much airtime to be filled every story will be picked to the bone, and then the bones boiled up to extract the last piece of juice they may hold.

    There is an army of ‘experts’ out there awaiting the media’s call to grab their fifteen minutes pontificating on whatever, no matter how tragic is their subject. Sensationalism and ‘angle’ drives the agenda.

    Witness even the main TV news where some jurno has to plump themselves down beside some guy firing off a few rounds. Guns and cameras a marriage made in hell.

  • BluesJazz

    Would it really be so difficult to amend the (Federal) law to make legal ownership of guns either single shot, shotguns, or low calibre? The minimum for self defence or farmers.

    Going in to a shop and buying an assault rifle seems to be less difficult than buying a Budweiser in some states. In fact you have to be older to get a bud.

    The UK/Irish equivalent (so far) appears to be knives or pit bulls.

  • Just to refer back to my previous posting and the second amendment, I wrote as follows:

    The intention of the founding fathers was that an armed citizenry was the ultimate check against tyranny ……

    Thus the second amendment and the right to bear arms, however interpreted, implies the right of revolution.

    Just think of what Gerry, Marty and the boys would have made of a similar amendment in a similar British written constitution, not only would they have claimed the ideological and moral right but also the Constitutional right to do what they did. Some things are best left uncodified.

  • Mister_Joe

    Is resisting an attempt to impose tyranny in order to maintain the current system a revolution?

  • wild turkey

    “Would it really be so difficult to amend the (Federal) law to make legal ownership of guns either single shot, shotguns, or low calibre? The minimum for self defence or farmers.”

    BluesJazz. given the influence of the NRA and its fellow travellers, an ammendment of the constitution and/or any other solution at a federal level is a non-starter.

    Going in to a shop and buying an assault rifle seems to be less difficult than buying a Budweiser in some states. In fact you have to be older to get a bud. ”

    ah, back around 1993 or so, just to take the piss i walked into the ‘hardware’ department of a mega-walmart in oregon right across from the california border. serious, serious hardware. i asked the guy if i could get a sales tax rebate if i had the ‘gear’ shipped directly to my ex-USA residence.

    salesguy “no problem. where do you live?”
    wt: “belfast. northern ireland”… he didn’t blink an eye

    the basic philosphy in large swathes of the ol USofA?

    accept no substitutes.

  • Alias

    “How many of those in the cinema last week bore arms thinking it would protect them from such an attack?”

    Actually, a contributory problem was that none of them ‘bore arms’ because the cinema’s policy is to ban them. If they did have arms they could have defended themselves from the attack. Unfortunately, the bad guys don’t abide by house rules so the gunman chose the cinema because the cinema had placed its customers at a considerable disadvantage to himself. He was literally shooting at a captive audience that could not shoot back.

    But the point about the constitution being outdated and now enabling acts of mass-murder that it never intended to enable when it enabled the right of armed self-defence is highly salient.

    It is not all guns that should be banned but guns that have a greater killing capacity than that needed for self-defence.

  • wild turkey

    mick

    almost forgot/ thanks for shriver link. one of all-time faves. ranks right up there with the chapter about Derry in Paul Theroux’s Kingdom by the Sea.

  • Hi Joe

    Revolution broadly speaking is I suggest root and branch change and by definition cannot be a defence of the status quo. Tyranny like pregnancy is one half of a binary, you’re either pregnant or you’re not. Revolutions are mass popular actions and the most famous of all, the Russian, is a misnomer being in reality a coup d’état. Ironically Marxists would argue that the American revolution was not a true revolution either given that the systems of ownership and structure were left intact and there was no replacement of one economic system by another.

    I’m getting a bit too yappy today, I must return to my less is more , its also less time consuming.

  • HeinzGuderian

    ‘Mass popular actions’ that invariably ends up with mass unpopular actions against the populace.

    This madness can happen in any country at any time,regardless of ‘gun laws’,as we have already witnessed in Norway.

    I’m sure the good people of the U.S. of A. will sort it out without any input from this ‘peace loving island’.

  • BluesJazz

    In Mexico, Colombia, Honduras etc this probably wouldn’t even warrant a mention on the evening news.

    But there will no doubt be a movie, an academic tsunami of sociological analysis and much water cooler talk about the death penalty. That’s the way the American cookie crumbles.

    Because the victims were ‘one of us’ (mostly white) *Americans*. And to think the phD perpetrator could have went on to be a ‘success’ in life as a CIA drone operative targetting Afghan wedding parties.

    Stupid boy.

  • aquifer

    Ironic that we may recall and understand the historic background to the second amendment better than the Americans.

    Here we understand that militias raised by the landowning ascendancy class in the eighteenth century were used to oppress people, so that the right of everyone to bear arms and be part of a disciplined state militia was an appropriate internal political safeguard, as well as making sense for the security of the new state. e.g. Didn’t the Brits re-invade in 1815 or something?

    “it took two and a half minutes to reload a weapon of choice.” Well spotted, but one bullet in a shaking musket could deter a bully. An assault rifle might fire 1000 bullets in the same time. Gruesome in a crowd.

    And some media idiot is now naming massacres after the perp.

    Where are the victims? What is their story?

  • jthree

    Alias,

    Presumably if several shooters had started blazing away in a dark, noisy, gas-filled, panic-stricken theatre everything would have turned out much better.

    Needs moar gunz!

  • Alias

    Yes, how right you are. It is much better to sit politely in your seat and smile at the nutcase as you are being shot than it is to draw your gun and watch the little maggot scarper for the door. Maybe if you gain a few pounds and stick your ass between the seats, the extra flab on your ass with absorb the bullets? That’ll work to.

    At best, that is an argument that all people should be trained to use firearms, not that firearms should be banned.

    If the cinema didn’t have a ‘no firearms’ policy, the cinema goers would have been able to watch the movie with the same uninterrupted comfort as those cinema goers which used cinemas that don’t have a ‘no firearms’ policy. Oddly enough, these nutcases choose places such as schools, workplaces, etc, that have a ‘no firearms’ policy. I wonder why that is? You’d almost think they want the odds stacked in their favour to kill as many unarmed people as they can.

  • Greenflag

    @ aquifer,

    ”Where are the victims? What is their story?”

    Who cares other than their immediate families and friends .? The local and national politicians have promised they will always be ‘honoured’ -the dead that is and not forgotten .Meanwhile the gun companies sell more guns than ever and it will remain legal for a 24 year old or younger person to buy 6,000 rounds of ammunition for ‘self defence’ ? Instead of the mass culling having an impact on cinema goers the movie Batman v the Dark Knight grossed the second highest revenues earned at the box office of all time .

    It’s certifiably insane but then when tobacco companies are allowed by law to kill people people and mining companies allowed to bring back ‘miner’s black lung ‘ in open cast mining operations in the Appalachians (kill more poor folks it don’t matter they need the jobs in them thar hills ain’t nothin else) then why should’nt the gun manufacturers continue to ply their trade ?

    Even though the US army has said it doesn’t need any more tanks the Abrams tank plant in Ohio will continue in production because 800 jobs are at stake and lucky for them this is an election year and they live in a swing state !
    Guns are business -big business .

    Wild Turkey above quotes Alexander Hamilton

    ‘If the representatives of the people betray their constituents, there is then no recourse left but in the exertion of that original right of self-defense which is paramount to all positive forms of government, and which against the usurpations of the national rulers may be exerted with infinitely better prospect of success’

    If ?Whats with the If ? The representatives of the people in the USA , UK and Ireland have been betraying their peoples for the last couple of decades and in most cases getting away with it bar a few token political swaps among the 1% elite as the game of musical /financial corruption chairs continues unabated ..

    Perhaps all those American guns may someday be put to productive use not in obscure places like Aurora or Columbine or Blacksburg but in Wall St where it might attract real political attention and subsequent intelligent regulation . On the other hand even the Twin Towers 9/11 barely caused a hiccup in that neck of the woods as we have seen from the continued criminality , greed and corruption emanating from that source over the past decade 🙁

    The current ‘financial services ‘ capitalist model is on it’s way out .

    Because things are the way they are, things will not stay the way they are.

    It is easier to rob by setting up a bank than by holding up a bank clerk.

    Berthold Brecht

  • Kevsterino

    Hello folks,
    I haven’t posted in a while but wanted to give my perspective on this as I’m not sure most folks here understand what gun ownership means to Americans in our current situation.
    I grew up in St. Louis, Missouri. It is a pleasant town with a very large brewery, a lovely monument, a church every 4 or 5 blocks, an excellent baseball team and one of the highest murder rates in the world. The great preponderance of these murders are by gunfire. It has been that way for a very, very long time.
    All of my adult life, I’ve had firearms in my house. Shotguns (best for home defense), pistols, rifles you name it and I’ve probably owned one at some point in my life. I have never been a member of a militia. Thankfully, I’ve only had to defend my home by gunpoint 1 time and it was effective.
    If a politician were to propose negating the 2nd Amendment or infringing upon gun ownership rights he or she would lose in Missouri (and many other places as well). The simple fact is, the country is awash in guns and criminals are likely to have access to them for the foreseeable future, whether legal or not.
    Politically, it is a cul-de-sac. Therefore, the politicians will do nothing about it.

    all the best

  • Mister_Joe

    Folks in Colorado would go along with Alias’ suggestion it would seem:
    In Colorado, where Friday’s shooting killed 12 and injured dozens, gun sales jumped in the three days that followed. The state approved background checks for 2,887 people who wanted to purchase a firearm — 25 per cent more than the average Friday to Sunday period in 2012 and 43 per cent more than the same interval the week prior.

    Totally understandable whether or not desirable, which as we see, is debatable.

  • andnowwhat

    Kevsterino

    Don’t they have burglar alarms over there?

    Joe.

    I saw that on TV and they say that much of it is anticipation of a change in the law. Mind you, the cinema in question is a gun free zone

  • Mister_Joe

    andnowwhat,

    I imagine that there are now lots of people carrying guns in supposedly gun free zones.

  • Kevsterino

    andnowwhat,
    Yes, burglar alarms, smoke alarms, carbon monoxide alarms. It is alarming how many alarms there are. At best, the burglar alarm will send the burglar scurrying into the night. At worst, it isn’t a burglar at all, but an armed robber. It isn’t a very effective defense against an armed criminal. The sound of a round chambered in a 12 gauge, on the other hand…

  • Greenflag

    48,000 people plus or minus 200 will be shot dead in the USA during the incumbency of the next USA President at the present rate of ‘gunfire’deaths .That would be the equivalent of 9,600 in the UK over a similar 4 year period or 2.400 a year or in round figures 200 a month .

    Can anybody imagine any UK Government sitting on it’s rear end and staying in power if there were 200 gunfire deaths a month as the expected ‘norm’ and nothing was done about it ?

    For Ireland (the island ) that would be 240 a year approx . IIRC in the worst year of the so called troubles in NI there were 400 plus killings (not all gunfire) and the average annual carnage averaged at 46 per year for civilians .

    When one compares 46 a year for Northern Ireland with approx 12,000 a year for the USA then it can be ‘proven’ that the USA at peace kills approx twice as many civilians as Northern Ireland at ‘war’ pro rating for the population discrepancy.
    To get the laws changed in the USA the ‘people’ will have to shoot most of the politicians . The Ken Livingstone tenet of hanging a bankster a week to get the rest to improve won’t work with the gun laws .As Kevsterino points out above the people don’t trust the politicians and frankly who could blame them .Can we trust our politicians ?

  • Greenflag

    continued from above

    The number of deaths in Britain from gunshot wounds has fallen to a 20-year low despite concerns about levels of violent crime.

    Most of the 42 gun-related deaths last year took place in London, the West Midlands, Manchester or Merseyside, with swathes of the country recording no homicides, suicides or accidental deaths from firearms. One third of the victims were younger than 21 and four of them were female. The Gun Control Network, which campaigns for tougher restrictions on firearms, disclosed the figure, which was a sharp drop on 2007, when 51 gun-related deaths were recorded in England, Wales and Scotland.

    Pro rate those figures for the USA and the USA would have had approx 234 gunfire deaths per year instead of it’s ‘normal ‘ 12,000 . Your chances of being killed in a gunfire incident are 50 times greater in the USA than in the UK .

    And the USA is the world’s ‘democracy’ model ?

  • Kevsterino

    Hello Greenflag,
    Been a while since last we corresponded here and I always like to read your views. In answer to your somewhat rhetorical question, I wouldn’t say the USA is a democracy model for the world anymore than anywhere else. Where is there a suitable model for the world? I can’t think of any, perhaps Switzerland?

    At any rate the violence, gun related or otherwise varies greatly from place to place with the USA. I don’t live but about 40 miles from my old stomping grounds in St. Louis, but there hasn’t been a murder around here for years. Within an hour’s drive the likelihood of getting murdered is nearly the highest on our planet. I only go downtown for a ballgame every now and then.

    all the best

  • Greenflag

    @Kevsterino,

    I understand that ‘violence’ varies greatly from place to place in the USA . This is also true of the UK see above and Ireland is no different .What is very different is the numbers killed in gunfire ‘exchanges’ and the apparent blase attitude that there’s nothing can be done and anything that could be done will be opposed by the gun lobby /NRA /weapons manufacturers.

    I used the term democracy model re the USA as it has been preeminent in ‘exporting ‘ democracy to the Middle East this past couple of decades .

    I did a project in that part of the USA about 20 years ago somewhere between or close to Alton /St Joseph and I recall asking one of the client’s employees would it be ok to visit downtown St Louis . His reply was ‘make sure you bring a gun and don’t stop at red lights while driving as the price of a traffic ticket if caught would be less than funereal costs and returning a cadaver to Dublin. .At the time it was apparently the ‘custom’ for car jackers to shoot car drivers stopped at red lights -eject the bodies dead or alive ) on to the pavement and drive/steal the car in about 35 seconds or so.

    I recall driving across Southern Illinois towards St Louis on the highway late at night and mistaking (I needed specs at the time to read from a distance ) and took the exit ramp for what I thought was St Louis but instead turned out to be East St Louis .As drove off the ramp into the darkened city and could see only shadowy figures lurking in alleys and doorways I thought I had been transported by some space time warp to Soweto or KInshasa . I pulled into a somewhat dilapidated gas station and a kindly old black guy told me that I was not from around here , I should get back up on the main highway if I wanted to live to see the next day . I did as told .

    Sadly I read later that East St Louis was once a fairly prosperous cattle marshalling station for Texas ‘beef ‘ being trained to Chicago and in it’s heyday the town provided a good living for blacks and whites alike but with the demise of the cattle trade or it’s replacement by refrigerated trucking East St Louis ‘died ‘ .White flight and a much reduced tax base eventually took it’s toll .

    How is East St Louis these days or do you know ? Any recovery in sight . BTW the people I worked with in that part of the world were great folks -enterprising and ‘innovative ‘ I have an abiding memory of a wayward genius who ‘created ‘ three quarters of a million dollars ‘ with an investment of perhaps 700 dollars . Too long a story for slugger .

    All the best

    .

  • The arguments over gun control remind me of the arguments over peace walls and segregation in NI – everyone knows that increasing numbers of guns/walls are bad for society as a whole, but nobody wants to be the first person/neighbourhood to get rid of their gun/wall. A classic case of short term and long term priorities being incompatible.

  • Kevsterino

    @Greenflag,
    East St. Louis, as you may know, was the scene of one of the most horrific race riots in American history during WW 1. Very interesting story, but very bloody. East St Louis never recovered it’s manufacturing base after the riots. That city has been dying ever since. It became a citadel of vice and corruption. Made Capone in Chicago nervous. I spent a good part of my misspent youth in blues bars over there, as you could get a beer there as a white teenager if you behaved yourself. And the music was fantastic.
    On the Missouri side of the river, no riots, but very segregated. It is less segregated now, but there are still plenty of all-one-color neighborhoods.

  • Alias

    “…but nobody wants to be the first person/neighbourhood to get rid of their gun/wall.”

    Exactly, because only the good guys (who wouldn’t murder anyway) will abide by the rules and surrender their guns to the state, whereas the bad guys won’t. What you’d be left with is a society where the bad guys and massively armed and the good guys are defenceless. Murder rates would go up, not down.

    It’s also false to assume that banning guns will lead to a less violent society, since the problem is the culture and the intent to murder, not that particular means to that end. The EU member state, Estonia, for example, has a murder rate that is 67% higher per capita than the USA.

  • Mister_Joe

    ..the problem is the culture..

    Research would seem to show that. I have recently read a special issue of Science exploring that. Ignoring the world wars etc, violence to settle interpersonal disputes has actually steadily decreased since the early 1700s. It used to be the norm but, starting with the ruling classes then filtering down, the machismo associated with it started to be frowned upon. It lingers on in those societies where vendetta still goes on.
    Interestingly, society frowns on that so much that some armies spend enormous amounts of time and energy to re-develop the killing instinct in young men.

  • Greenflag

    @ Alias ,

    ‘What you’d be left with is a society where the bad guys and massively armed and the good guys are defenceless. Murder rates would go up, not down.’

    Perhaps temporarily . Of course the State could pass a law bringing in a mandatory death sentence on conviction of using a gun to commit a crime or murder with no appeal and execution by firing squad . It might take 20 years but it would save most of the 240,000 deaths which would be expected death total over the same period based on current gunfire death statistics in the USA .

    Estonia’s population is about half that of the USA’s present prison population . Their population has been in decline since the 1970’s . People don’t breed well under caged conditions.

  • GF,

    Except it has been shown that harsher penalties do not significantly deter crime. Why should an offender worry about the death penalty when he’s sure he won’t get caught? And consider that violent criminals are disproportionately likely to be impulsive and have a disregard for consequences. You think he gives a toss if he’s going to get executed in twenty years?

  • Greenflag

    @ Kevsterino

    I was unaware of the 1917 riots . The history of the town is detailed here for anyone interested to see how once the economic rot sets in -endemic poverty social decline and increased crime and murder rates follow as night follows day .

    ‘East St Louis was the scene of one of the most horrific race riots in American history during WW 1. Very interesting story, but very bloody.’

    IIRC the Omagh slaughter committed by the ‘Real IRA ‘ in 1998 not 1917 was just as horrific 🙁

  • Greenflag

    @ Andrew Gallagher ,

    ‘ when he’s sure he won’t get caught? ‘

    The science of criminology and forensic evidence has improved since ‘hanging ‘was abolished . So more are being caught .But at least those who are caught will have no doubt as to their ‘future’.

    ‘You think he gives a toss if he’s going to get executed in twenty years?’

    Twenty minutes after conviction by a jury .Should be more than enough time for the criminal to see his pastor or priest or imam or rabbi and for the firing squad to do it’s business .Whats with the 20 years wasting taxpayers money ?

  • Greenflag

    @ mister joe ,

    ‘society frowns on that so much that some armies spend enormous amounts of time and energy to re-develop the killing instinct in young men.’

    So successful has this redeveloping of the ‘killing instinct ‘ been in the US Army and forces that now more serving soldiers die by their own hand i.e ‘suicide’ than are killed by the enemy in Afghanistan and Iraq . An average of between one and two a day kill themselves due to a multiplicity of factors and lets remember this is a ‘volunteer ‘army of trained professionals and not a drafted age cohort civilian intake such as that recruited to fight (and lose ) the Vietnam War.

  • GF,

    Ah, so courts in Greenflagland are perfect and have no need for an appeals system?

  • Greenflag

    @AG ,

    Where there is law there is injustice -Where there is no law there is even more injustice . Look upon the situation i.e the USA murder rate or specifically deaths by gunfire as ‘war ‘. The number of deaths due to ‘gunfire ‘ predicted for the USA for the next 4 years i.e 48,000 exceeds by a factor of 8 to 1 the number of American troops killed in Afghanistan and Iraq over the past decade . In war there the legally constituted tradition of summary trial and execution upon conviction . When the ‘war ‘ is over and guns have been removed from civilian society then ‘normalcy ‘ can return .

    Alas Greenflagland does not exist and thus the legal fraternity can continue to milk the system and keep convicted murderers on the state’s payroll indefinitely . Sure why not . If criminal banksters can be bailed out for gambling why can’t convicted murderers be kept alive at the taxpayers expense also ?

    I’m sure in ‘gallagherland ‘ those outcomes make perfect economic sense ;)?

  • Mister_Joe

    From http://www.innocenceproject.org

    There have been 297 post-conviction DNA exonerations in the United States.

    • The first DNA exoneration took place in 1989. Exonerations have been won in 36 states; since 2000, there have been 230 exonerations.

    • 17 of the 297 people exonerated through DNA served time on death row. Another 15 were charged with capital crimes but not sentenced to death.

    • The average length of time served by exonerees is 13 years. The total number of years served is approximately 3,944.

    • The average age of exonerees at the time of their wrongful convictions was 27.

    Just Justice system collateral damage, I guess.

  • Mister_Joe

    Latest research indicates that the false conviction rate in the USA is between 3 and 4 percent.

  • Greenflag

    @ mister joe ,

    There’s no perfect justice given the human condition.If there were quite a significant number of Wall St & City of London banksters and their aiding and abetting politicians would have been jailed for life (or preferably hanged ) five years ago.

    Perhaps consideration should be given for a new Olympic event the ‘Globalfinancialfraudathon’ made up of three events -the Libor Handicap , the Ponzi Bankster Retirement Fund Steeplechase , the Wall St & City of London Combined Theftathon, and last but not least the Drug Money Grand Investment Narcotic Bankster Relay.

    I’ll guess Goldman Sachs or Citigroup for the Gold or Silver with Barclays or HSBC vying for the Bronze 🙁