"Well, this arrow in my face, that's new. I'm pretty sure I only asked for an earring."
Before you click the link, be warned. Despite my inhuman sense of humour, this isn't a joke article, the pictures are unpleasant whether you're a cat-person or not.
Some despicable little shit has shot a cat with a crossbow. There seem to be a lot of despicable little shits around these days and they are happy to wander about with weapons that could not be described as toys by any stretch of the imagination, but which are easier to get hold of than some toys.
When I started buying bows, I took the precaution of checking the law first. No licence required but no carrying the bow in public unless it's covered or dismantled. An assembled/exposed bow in a public place is most definitely an offensive weapon. Most of all, it is illegal in the UK to hunt with a bow.
That means anything. If you shoot a rat with an arrow, you break the law. No rabbit hunting, no pigeon control, nothing. Target shooting only. 'Hunting' covers more than 'hitting'. You'd have to be a hell of a shot to hit a wasp, but if you aim at it, you're hunting it and by a strict interpretation of the law, that's illegal even if you don't loose the arrow.
Yet when you buy the bow, nobody tells you any of this. If I want a shotgun, I have to get a certificate, I have to prove I'm not deranged, I have to have a secure location to keep it, I have to know the law regarding carrying and use of the weapon.
When I bought the crossbow, over the counter not over the internet, it was a case of 'here's the money' and 'here's your bow'. Good thing I took the trouble to research it because one slight misadjustment to your grip and it'll take the tips off the fingers and/or thumb of your left hand.
I don't want to see these bows banned. Handguns were banned because a few people were far too stupid and insane to be allowed to have them. Therefore six million people can't have them. Because of some idiots with knives, six million people can't carry a knife now. The paradox of health and safety insisting on workers using lock-knives while the law makes it illegal to carry a lock-knife has not, as far as I know, been resolved.
Those responsible for shooting the cat should be charged under animal cruelty laws, the hunting with bows law and whatever other dangerous-weapon-in-public laws are available. I would like to see safety and legal information given out with the weapons as a matter of course, and perhaps a demonstration of what it can actually do. Something involving a dummy behind a car door would be appropriate. The dummy in question could be the one who shot the cat. I'd be fine with that, I'd even perform the demonstration for the video no matter how many takes were needed.
I do not agree that six million people need to be denied access to something just because a few people are dicks.
As for the cat's owner, he had my sympathy up until he said this:
Sandra's husband, Mike Grogan, called for more restrictions on the sale of weapons such as crossbows.
"It's absolutely sickening and shocking that you can buy these things on the internet quite easily," he said.
You can buy far more sickening and shocking things on the Internet. The weapon itself is not sickening or shocking, it's what you do with it that counts. Handled responsibly, it's perfectly safe. Safer than, say, a car. A bow cannot suddenly and unexpectedly go out of control.
"It could very easily have missed Spike and... killed a child. That's the worse thing about it."
Oh come on. How many children hide behind cats these days? Or maybe they're really good at it and I can't see them. Crossbow bolts do not come with tracking devices. If it had missed Spike (yes, yes, I know, but I'm trying to be serious here) it would have buried itself in the ground or holed a fence. It would not have independently sought out another target.
Although I cannot say that this mad crossbow man would never have set his sights higher than cats. It wasn't just some kids larking about and going too far -
A 39-year-old man from the area is being held by police after his arrest in connection with the incident and a "bolt-firing mechanism" has been seized.
Thirty-nine. He is forty next year. Isn't it time he grew up? And how would 'restrictions' have prevented him getting hold of a crossbow? At his age he could just as easily get a shotgun licence, assuming he doesn't have prior form as a dickhead. He should be excluded from such eligibility now, of course, but before this, he might not have been.
Guns are banned. There are more shootings now than ever before. The criminals' guns were never legal, the ban made no difference to them. Knives are banned and yet just today there was a robbery by some running sore weilding a two-foot machete. What do bans achieve?
As far as criminals are concerned, they achieve nothing. Their weapons were illegal anyway so making them a bit more illegal is, and always will be, crassly stupid and utterly pointless. The gun ban has successfully criminalised widows with their husbands' rusting Boer war pistols in the house but has had absolutely zero effect on the criminals' guns. The knife ban has caught many with pocket knives they've carried all their lives but has had zero effect on criminals prepared to rob people with a machete (which would have been illegal to carry even before the ban).
What do bans achieve? The total absence of any registered weaponry and no effect at all on the illegal unregistered weapons. There are just as many weapons, but now nobody knows where any of them are. Politicians, take a bow, you have earned a place in the Guinness book of records under 'stupid'.
Crossbows and airguns are next. It's not the weapons that are at fault here, it's the infantilised morons created by successive nanny governments who have refused to let people take responsibility for their actions, and refused to hold them to account when they don't.
So we have people who actually think it's okay to shoot at a cat with a crossbow. The reaction? Crossbows must be restricted, then banned. The real question is this - Why do we have so many dickheads in this country?
If this dickhead could have bought a handgun, he would have shot the cat. So is the handgun ban right? He couldn't have a handgun so he couldn't shoot the cat, therefore the ban is right. Therefore if crossbows were banned, he could not have shot the cat with the bow. This is the simple logic of simple minds. Politician minds.
If crossbows were banned, he would have hit the cat with a baseball bat or a brick. The choice and availability of weapons is immaterial. Dickheads will be dickheads with whatever is to hand. The cure is not to punish six million people for the actions of a few, the cure is to punish the few for their actions.
Banning simpler and simpler weapons until we get to HB pencils and cocktail sticks will never change the mindset of the dickhead. They will file the edges of credit cards or re-learn the sling and the atlatl, which can be made out of things you can find lying around. They will hurl bricks and swing scaffold poles. They will get their weapons from Dodgy Vince in the alley behind the pub - and if they are buying an illegal weapon, why not go all the way and buy a gun? If the HB pencil is illegal, and the gun is illegal, might as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb, eh?
As for this 'what if he missed and hit a child', well, what if you were driving down the street, missed the road and ploughed into a schoolyard? What if the ropes lifting that piano broke and it fell diagonally onto that school bus? What if that 747 missed the runway and landed on an academy? What if the Apache helicopters missed Libya and bombed a primary school? This tendency to bring in 'what if... children' in every situation is just becoming tiresome. Next time, loonies, aim at the bloody child. They'll blame you for it anyway.
Look, the guy shot a cat. That makes him a git. Enough of a git that you don't need to imagine heat-seeking arrows that dodge cats and hunt children. He's already broken several laws and will probably get at least a severe ticking-off from some dog-loving judge somewhere. Jail? You don't get jail unless you break a law that annoys the State. Breaking laws that only affect we common people gets you an ASBO or if it's really serious, a suspended sentence.
And there is the problem. Not the guns. Not the bows. Not the knives. Not even the thermonuclear knitting needles. The problem is that there is a whole generation who have not experienced real consequences for serious actions.
We have burglars let out because their kids miss daddy. We have foreign criminals who can't be deported because getting some dozy tart up the duff counts as a human right to a family life. Excuses galore in the courts, and all of them excuses that would have been laughed at just ten years ago. All taken seriously now and all allowed as mitigating circumstances.
"I was drunk" is not a mitigating circumstance. Drunk or sober, straight or doped, if you did the deed you pay the penalty. "Someone else did it to me in the past" is not a mitigating circumstance. If you knew how it felt and you did it to someone else anyway, that makes the crime worse in my book.
The problem is not, and never was in the weapons. The problem is the dickheads. Yet every time a dickhead acts up, the weapon gets the blame and the dickhead gets excused. That's why it keeps happening.
That's why it will continue to happen even after HB pencils and cocktail sticks are banned. It'll be no good saying 'but what if he'd missed with that pencil and written on a child?'. If he didn't have the pencil he'd have used a handy lump of rock.
So what's new? We'll get something else banned so six million people can't access it while the root problem is ignored once more. Okay, six million people don't all want crossbows. Me, I don't want a gun. I've never had one and don't want one, so just like those who are about to say 'Crossbows must be banned', I should be saying 'Guns must stay banned', right?
I don't want a gun. I want the choice of whether to own one or not. I will choose 'not', but the point is not the gun. The point is the choice.
This is what the Banmeisters cannot comprehend. They don't like smoking so they delight in the ban. They don't want guns so they are happy with the ban. They are happy with the knife ban, right up to the day when they are taking a carving knife across town to loan to a friend. They are happy with bans on things they don't like.
One day there will be a ban on dogs. That's building momentum slowly. One day there will be a ban on all pets, including cats. Greens have this as a stated objective already. Cars are excluded from more and more town centres and restricted to 20mph in more and more places, and taxed harder every year. Their days are numbered. Why do I imagine I can see these things coming?
Because I remember when there was just that one non-smoking carriage on the train. It was a small concession and a reasonable one. Then we had one smoking carriage, and we had to go to the back of the bus to smoke. Then we had to smoke at the stop/station before we got on. Now we can't smoke at the stop or the station. It all starts with one little thing, one little 'Ooo, I don't like that, it should be banned' and our entire political class is dimmer than an EU-approved lightbulb so they fall for it all, every time. What we need is a minimum IQ requirement for MPs, but they'll never vote for that because so few of them can spell it.
I see a lot of stories about crossbows, airguns and dogs in recent months. All of them negative. All accompanied by 'Why is this allowed? Why don't THEY do something about it? What if the thing attacked a child? Think of the cheeeldren.'
Crossbows, airguns and dogs are the last proper defensive weapons you can get. Sure, you could buy a takedown recurve bow or a longbow or a fixed bow or one of those new-fangled bows with pulleys all over them that are, frankly, cheating, but those take practice. A lot of practice if you want to kill that advancing barn door in one shot at fifty yards. Crossbows, airguns and dogs are quick and easy. You don't need to make your dog vicious. You just need to make it loyal. It can do vicious on its own when required, if you have its loyalty. That way it won't eat your child when your back is turned.
Crossbow tip - they are no use against intruders. If the flexing prod hits a doorframe, the stock will put your shoulder out. Don't bother with the pistol ones either, I've tried two and the accuracy is shit. Unless you are attacked at close quarters by the Hulk, you'll probably miss. If you don't miss you'll just annoy him. And then he'll sue after he pounds your face into hamburger, which will be justifiable retaliation for shooting him with something that's as deadly as a brass dart.
Airguns have annoyance value but if there are any real men left, they'll pick the pellet out and flick it back at you, like children used to do. We never sued, we shot back. Nowadays, expect to get sued for interfering with a criminal in the course of his duties.
If you have a huge hairy beast eyeing the burglar through the window, and if it can be trained to grin, tuck a napkin into its collar and set a place at the table while the burglar watches, chances are the burglar will go next door.
This cat story is horrible for the cat but look from another angle. The story is not about the dick who fired the crossbow. It's all about the crossbow. The dick doesn't get blamed, the weapon does.
By that token, Hitler wasn't at all responsible for WWII because he never fired a shot. The guns and tanks did. Hitler didn't even drive the tanks or fire the guns. In the current British legal system, Hitler would have got off with a warning.
Stop blaming the weapons while excusing the hands that use them and maybe we can get some kind of order back in the world.
Or should we wait until teaspoons are classed as offensive weapons and Granny's coffee shop is closed down by armed police?
Teaspoon? You could have someone's eye out with that thing.