Saturday, February 24, 2007

East Europeans get caught up in UK gun panic

A Lithuanian vet has been putting ‘hundred’s of guns on to the streets of London and Manchester’, apparently.

The Guardian reports:

‘Hundreds of relatively low-powered gas pistols are known to have been converted to discharge live ammunition in a workshop in the [ancient Lithuanian market town of Kedainiai] before being smuggled into the UK. Improbably enough, the man at the heart of the trade was a local vet.’

The vet, Andrius Raba, had apparently been buying up cheap Russian air guns, fitting them with silencers and strengthening the barrels to take higher powered ammunition and then selling them on to gun-crazed Brits at 300 pounds a time.

This news comes in the wake of four nasty murders of young guys in south London, where I am from. One of the victims was only 15 years old.

Of course, a media panic has been full of the usual hand wringing about the growth of gun crime in the UK and what to do about it.

With relief then, they can point to outsiders from places like Lithuania for being partly responsible. Blaming outsiders brings, as usual, some comfort – nasty foreigners are to blame for all our problems.

But the reality of the ‘growing menace of gun crime’ in the UK is very different from the media fantasy land.

Despite gory stories of guns flooding into the UK over the past ten years, the figures of homicide from gun shot in that period look like this:

1998/1999 - 49
1999/2000 - 62
2000/2001 - 72
2001/2002 - 95
2002/2003 - 80
2003/2004 - 68
2004/2005 - 77
2005/2006 - 50

So, over the last few years murder from a bullet has been falling in Britain, not rising.

Those figures account for one murder in ten in the UK. You are much more likely to be murdered by a hand or a boot than you are a gun.

So though ‘Eastern Europeans’ have been flooding into Britain, bringing their custom made air pistols with them, the UK is not in the middle of a gun massacre, and death from fire arms remains a very rare occurrence in Britain.


Shooting down the myth of the ‘gun culture’, spiked


Anonymous said...

Come on Beatroot, you should know that it is statistically posible to prove that the earth is flat! Taking one statistic and focusing on it to 'prove' anything is sloppy journalism at best and when the statistic is the one you use, it's more than just sloppy. The number of people killed by guns reflects more factors than just the number of people shot: availability, speed and quality of specialist medical treatment will also play a part. Put bluntly: a doctor who has experience with gunshot wounds is more likely to save a patient than a doctor who has never seen a gunshot wound before. If we look at the fact that the number of people injured by firearms in England and Wales has more than doubled since 1998, your comments about a gun panic become slightly less well-grounded.

beatroot said...

It is not possible statistically to prove the earth is flat (except to flat earthists, that is).

Anonymous said...

Well what can I say?

I just knowI am flying out toWarsaw Wednesday to visit a dentist - the cost of consultation £380 pounds less than it would cost here !! come on fly the Polishy flagsguys - I have numerous English friends watching my space!!

Quick visit this time - but hey will be landing on your soil again soon - holpefully with some converts:-)

Totally unrelated of course:-)

Anonymous said...

Gawd this stupid:-) keyboard makes me look so illiterate - keeps sticking - am not drunk honest !!

Ask me Wednesday night tho - when I am supping Vodka with Yola, Marzena, Tomek and Darak:-)


beatroot said...

So the next headline in the Sun will say:

Polish dentists fill Brits’ teeth with suicide bombers!

Anonymous said...

Actually Beatroot it is perfectly possible to prove that and to do so in a manner which mathematically flawless. But the but the mathematics involved are so convoluted that they have virtually no practical value.

Got any comment to make on the statistic that the number of people being shot every year in England and Wales has doubled in the last year?

Anonymous said...

^ That should be "has more than doubled in the last eight years".

beatroot said...

what statistic? Where?

Anonymous said...

^ The statistic that the number of people being shot every year in England and Wales has doubled since 1998. Sorry but I can't find the BBC page which gave that statistic.

And then there's the small matter of offenses involving firearms having increased every year since 1997.

And that the number of non-fatal Trident shootings has increased dramatically over the last two years - from 185 in 2004/05 to 251 in 2005/06.

And that gun crime in England and Wales has quadrupled between 1981 and 2003

And in the 12 months to June 2005, there were 10,979 gun crimes in England and Wales - almost twice as many as in 1997/8.

beatroot said...

Harry - the link you give to the ‘gun crime in England and Wales has quadrupled’, actually has Chief UK Cop Ian Blair saying something else completely:

He said gun crime in London had fallen by 14% in the past year, but he admitted this was "no comfort to the families involved in the five murders".

Oh, dear. But then Blair gets all confused:

He added that a "new trend" was emerging of teenagers being involved in killings and serious violent crime.

So, at a time of falling gun crime we are seeing a ‘new trend’ of violence!?!

Well, obviously this new trend is less likely to involve guns. But never mind, be sure there will be new, even more stricter laws coming along any time soon.

Cops just love new laws!!!

remember they changed completly the way doctors are registered etc on the back of one horrible case - Harold Shipman?

Well, the government and the cops are gonna panic again this time and add more laws to a problem that is actually in decline...

Anonymous said...

Add more laws to a problem which is in decline?

The number of offenses has increased every year since 1997, the number of people being shot has doubled since 1998, gun crime quadrupled between 1981 and 2003, and gun crime doubled between 1998 and 2005.

How does that make the problem "actually in decline"? The only evidence that it is in decline is that the number of people killed by guns has fallen and the number of gun crimes in London has fallen.

beatroot said...

According to Home Office figures – and I am afraid there is no other source to go to (and are you seriously saying that these are fixed?):

…then the number of people dying from firearms looks like this:

2002/2003 - 80
2003/2004 - 68
2004/2005 - 77
2005/2006 – 50

So fatalities have gone down, as a general trend, in the last four years by over 30 percent. In London last year that figure fell by 14 percent.

Now that’s what I call a problem in decline.

And if it isn’t on decline then it certainly isn’t on the way up!

And if it isn’t on the way up (but going down) then now is not the time for politicians to ‘do something’. But they will, they will.

As for the 21,000 gun crimes in Britain last year…half of those – just over 10,000, involved air guns, which can’t kill anyone.

88% of those were air gun crimes involving ‘criminal damage’; kids smashing windows and the like. Only 1% of those 10,000, half the gun crimes in UK!, resulted in serious injury.

Of the rest of those 21,000, the 11,000 represent 0.2 percent of total crimes in Britain.

In other words, gun crime is the least of people’s worries.

But still we will get yet more authoritarian laws coming in the UK. Just watch.

Anonymous said...

Where did I make any comment about any source being fixed? (But nice diversionary tactics there). And where did I make any comment at all saying that the number of fatalities has not gone down? (See previous comment on tactics).

The problem of people being killed by guns is going down (part of that decrease can be attributed to the fact that more people are being shot and so more doctors have more experience of dealing with gunshot wounds). But the problem of people being shot by guns and of crimes involving guns is going up. Sure the percentage is still tiny but it is growing and continues to grow. Authoritarian laws coming in? Seeing how the police can already stop me and search me and lock me up for 28 days without trial or charge I'm not too concerned with anti-gun laws. I'm hoping for mandatory minimum sentences for people caught carrying firearms. I'm never going to be caught doing that and the people who do it are nothing to me (or you) other than a danger so we'll be better off if they get a minimum five-year sentence. Hopefully the pressure on prison space will lead to non-violent drug-users no longer being put in prison!

beatroot said...

part of that decrease can be attributed to the fact that more people are being shot and so more doctors have more experience of dealing with gunshot wounds)


Anonymous said...

^ Let me break it down for you: If more people are being shot, it's a pretty safe bet that more people are being treated in hospital for gunshot wounds. If more people are being treated in hospital for gunshot wounds it is fairly likely that more doctors are treating more people who have been shot. Like most things in life, the more one practises specialised skills in medicine the better one gets at them. Would you like a surgeon who told you "I've never done this operation before but I've read about it in books"? The better doctors get with treating a problem the less likely it is to be fatal.

I know that none of this fits with your view that guns are a declining problem in the UK and that you can back your claim with the fact that fewer people are being killed by guns now and there are fewer gun crimes in London now. But every other number related to gun crime is up, which would appear to suggest there is still somewhat of a problem.