Monday, 5 July 2010

The Marching Ban.

Handguns are banned. More people are shot with handguns now, because every handgun is illegal therefore only criminals have them. Those criminals know for a fact that the law-abiding don't have them. A well thought out law, as we've come to expect.

Airguns are not (yet) banned but you have to be 18 to buy one. I can't be certain about things so far back but as I remember, you were allowed to own one from the age of about 13, but you were not allowed to buy one. An adult had to decide whether you could be trusted with one and buy it for you. I expect that's changed now. Airguns weren't especially dangerous although you could put someone's eye out with one. But then you could do that with a pencil.

Below airguns are things called 'airsoft'. They don't fire lead pellets, they fire tiny ball bearings or plastic balls. The cheaper ones can just about penetrate a paper target and as for accuracy, you'd be better off throwing the gun at the target.

Nevertheless, you still have to be 18 to buy one. They are not for children.

So when a primary school child turns up in the playground with one of these pellet guns, the correct response is not :

Lorna Cox, 34, who has two children at the school, said: 'I think toy guns, like BB guns, should be banned.
'Young children should not be allowed to have them. I am confident that the school has handled this incident well.'

Young children are not allowed to have them. That's already law. They should not have had access to them at all. That is the responsibility of the parents. Yet the knee-jerk response is 'ban them all' even from those who do nothing more than while away an afternoon in the garage shooting plastic pellets through paper targets. Because of one irresponsible owner, all must suffer.

This is how the bans march on. Start with something actually dangerous then move down the line until anything that looks remotely gun-shaped is banned, and Action Man is sold with a feather duster and a mop. The only knives he'll see are in Barbie's kitchen and he won't be allowed to touch them.

The marching ban is hard to stop when it's underway. Look at the insistence on banning Electrofag which isn't smoking, contains no tobacco, burns nothing and produces no smoke. Its crime? It looks like smoking. That is all there is to it. Sweet cigarettes were made of sugar and contained no nicotine. Banned, because they looked like cigarettes. They might make children smoke, even though the taste of burning leaves isn't at all sugary. Soon you'll be in trouble for chewing a pen.

Nobody was harmed by these children, although they should not have had access to the airsoft gun at all. Should they be punished? Yes, because that is how we learned, as children, that some things were bad. We also learned the scale of badness. Some things would get you shouted at. You hadn't done anything seriously bad but you had done something wrong. Best not do it again because there was also the matter of escalating punishments for subsequent offences. Another of those old traditions now lost to us.

Some things would get you a whack, some would get you confined to your room, some would get you suspended from school and some would involve a visit from the local policeman to give you a really scary telling off. It depended on how bad the bad thing was.

Most times, we didn't know we had done anything wrong until the shouting started. The bleeding hearts would say 'oh, bless him, he didn't know better'. My father would say 'Well he bloody does now'. His method was far more effective.

The punishments weren't fatal. They left no lasting scars, neither physical nor psychological. In most cases they only needed to be applied once, because we learned that doing that thing was Bad and we would get into trouble. So we didn't do it again (if there was anyone watching).

So yes, the children should be punished but please, back off with the ban hysteria. Make it clear to them that they did a very bad thing indeed and that they should never do it again. Children don't like being punished. Once they associate something with punishment, most of them will not do it again. For those that will, they're likely to end up in the dropped-soap showers anyway. There will always be a few.

Police officers were not called to the school.

Good. This is a parental discipline matter, not a police matter.

If they had fired the gun while shouting abuse, then obviously the police would have been called at once. In this world, names are more dangerous than guns.

Actually, where airsoft is concerned, it's a close call.


Woman on a Raft said...

Too right Action Man won't get past Barbie's kitchen. Ken and Barbie are an item, always have been, and anyway Action Man is more Ken's type than Barbie's.

I suspect AM is a Liberal Democrat. Barbie should watch out for her dog, Ginger.

Anonymous said...

Personally, I'm waiting for the Righteous to realise just how many things there are out there which have much, much higher projectile energies than an airgun has, and which are not even classified as firearms or even as weapons.

When I was growing up, catapults and slingshots were commonplace though getting rarer. A standard quarter-inch elastic catty can achieve fairly impressive energy outputs with practice, and it doesn't just have to fire pebbles (though the wise child will stick to pebbles so as not to get found out).

Staff-slings are another easy but forgotten technology; I would imagine that a rioting mob armed with these would be ever police officer's nightmare, since a staff-sling extends the range a half-brick can be hurled by two or three times, and doesn't need much skill to master, unlike standard slings as used by the Palestinians.

Truly, the world is full of quirky ways to hurl assorted projectiles about; it is high time that the Righteous started learning that objects and actions are two different things (although, if they haven't worked that one out yet, I doubt they ever will).

Mummylonglegs said...

Hoping you can help

Mummy x

RantinRab said...

When I was a lad we used to make our own cross bows.

Top fun.

Captain Swing said...

From the age of 10 a catapult firing marbles was the weapon of choice.
Like Rab we also used to make crossbows that fired projectiles made out of real darts!!!and no one ever got damaged which is more than you can say for the compass points that schools were and still are happy for kids to take to school.

Captain Swing said...

Health and safety when I was a kid was not getting caught because what you feared most was being told off or clipped behind the ear by your parents in front of your mates.
I think I missed my vocation in life because I could make a weapon that tommy taliban would be proud of out of any old crap lying around.
My best effort was the small bore metal pipe with soil and a plug of spud rammed down the end.Putting the other end into a raging bonfire
resulted after quite a long while
in the end of the pipe exploding and ejecting the spud plug at a muzzle velocity that could taken out a tiger tank (or so we thought).
Again no injuries and no complaints from anyone.Happy Days.

Anonymous said...

As for air pistols, even those have been banned in SF, CA, USA. Better only the criminals having guns of any sorts. Wouldn't want to interfere with the rights of criminals to carry guns. And if you're a non-citizen living here illegally, then you can't be charged with a felony, even if it does involve use of a gun. The ACORN sourced DA made that her mandate and the communist state AG makes sure to endorse it from Sacramento.

When the rich champagne swilling progressive-communists retire to their mansions after inflicting the laws, they don't have to worry about it anyhow, they use their gun toting fascist police force to hassle commuters on the subway train to show their tickets or be arrested, when they're not gun-terrorizing outdoor smokers and passing out $500 fines for smoking while on the sidewalks.

One fascist approach leads to another, but it was when the smoke-bans started that the rest followed so easily, once the smoke-bans normalized, then resistance to the remainder was neutralized as well. That is how it began in CA, the foundation of the new fascism, founded in anti-smoking at the very base level. Once the population agrees to that, the deal with the devil has been signed.

I added you and Ranty both (among 8 others) to my top-ten blogs vote the other day BTW. Thanks for such a good blogsite and for your enlightenment.

Ed P said...

I agree with everything except your point about sweet cigarettes - I remember buying them, aged 8, because I wanted to be like the adults & smoke. Mimicry of adult patterns of behaviour is powerful; presumably why these sweets were banned long before the tobacco laws.

Sir Henry Morgan said...

have a read L-I. You might want to adapt it into a post of your own::

Chalcedon said...

I go airsofting. It's fun and can you have to be pretty fit to play properly. it's organised urban assault of various linds on a disused RAF base. The guns can be accurate but only over a specified distance. Because of course at long range with a 6mm plastic pellet you get magnified effects of wind plus of couse gravity. We have to have photo ID to buy the guns and be registered with UKARA. FFS these guns, though very realistic looking are actually classified as toys because their muzzle velocity is 280 to 320 feet per second depending on urban or woodland sites and who runs them.

Amusing Bunni said...

I'm tired of everything being banned because stupid parents can't control their kids.

The supreme court in USA just ruled Chicago hand gun ban violates our 2nd amendment, but the jerky mayor daley already put so many conditions on having one, it's virtually hopeless and will be tied up in the courts.

Criminals are the only ones armed, and they know it.
We are basically all screwed and I say defend yourself any way you can.

Leg-iron said...

Captain Swing - I remember the spud gun. A sort of primitive airgun, you'd pull it back and then press the end into a potato to get the 'bullet'.

We had loads of fun with those. They worked better with carrots and parsnips, which were harder.

Who said vegetables had no use?

Leg-iron said...

Woman on a raft - I don't know what Ken and Barbie are smiling about. I've seen inside Ken's trousers.

Action Man's was only a millimetre thick but by God it was wide.

Leg-iron said...

The ban on all kinds of people-owned weapons led to the use of rice flails and bale-forks, long ago. Those are now integral to many Martial Arts programs.

Ban guns. Ban knives. We'll learn to kill people with a pencil. Like those ancient Chinese peasants who weren't allowed to have swords, we will adapt whatever we have.

Thirty for a quid in Tesco, pre-sharpened. Rubber end too, so it doesn't hurt your palm when you ram it home.

I've always thought it odd that a woman might lose her eyebrow tweezers while boarding a flight, but I always get to keep my stainless steel Parker pen.

Oh, hell, if you know what you're doing you can kill someone with a rolled-up in-flight magazine or that laminated 'in case of imminent death' card.

The bans are pointless. All of them. Weapons don't do anything by themselves.

And absolutely anything can be a weapon. Are they going to ban Glaswegian foreheads from flights? Or sovereign rings? How about fingernails and teeth?

Banning the weapon is stupid. Criminals take no notice and it just means that they know for sure they won't face a weapon when they break into a house.

I have a pet brick. I will set it on them.

Leg-iron said...

Chalcedon - I've only experienced the cheap versions. I doubt you'd ever do serious injury with an airsoft gun though.

They are designed not to, I think.

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