Thursday, 9 June 2011

What's new pussycat?

"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.


thefrollickingmole said...

If you really want to see just how useless the laws are try a search for home made guns/ smg's/ rifles on the net.

I havent done it myself, but am quite sure Id knock one of these out in a day

Bill Sticker said...

What about Martial Arts? A correctly delivered blow can kill if you know how, not difficult to learn. So should every Karate, Tae kwon do or Aikido enthusiast have their feet, hands, knees, elbows and head removed?

A tightly rolled up newspaper can be a weapon (a.k.a. the 'Brummie Brick'). The psycho's don't care about legality. Never have.

I've no sympathy for the bedwetters who want everything banned. They like being victims, as it's the closest thing to self importance that they'll ever have.

JuliaM said...

I suspect the story here is not one of random cruelty for fun (as in this case from the US) but yet another obsessive gardener who thinks his plants are more important than another person's pet...

Which doesn't mean I don't want to see him fed to the lions at London Zoo, mind you.

Anonymous said...

"another obsessive gardener who
To self righteous JuliaM,
"thinks his plants are more important than another person's pet..."
Whilst there is NO excuse for the actions of this brain dead individual I am pretty sick of people who think my garden, the product of considerable investment of both money and hard work is a handy toilet for their beloved pet.
Train it to use a sand box, we did with our cat. You cannot stop them defining their own territory you can stop them from leaving smelly unwelcome deposits all over the place and digging up anything they fancy. I find a jug of cold water is a great deterrent, especially if you catch em in the act.


nisakiman said...

"Banning simpler and simpler weapons until we get to HB pencils and cocktail sticks..."

Have you been through airport security lately?

I'm sorry LI, you will never, ever qualify for a position of influence in this world. Your approach to life is far too sensible.

Nox said...

On the subject of teaspoons, I bought a set of 4 in Sainsburys a few weeks ago and I used the self service checkout to pay. Imagine my suprise when having scanned the spoons, a message flashed on the screen telling me I needed to get a member of staff to verify my age. I asked the member of staff why this was the case and she just shrugged and smiled.

Anonymous said...

Stop blaming the weapons while excusing the hands that use them

Complete opposite what ASH used to display on its home page - 'hate the smoke not the smoker'.

kitler said...

Surely after Dunblane there should have been a national crackdown on pedophiles not guns. (esspecially ones with close links to the government ; )

One thing tho, there seem to be a lot of insecure madmen killing thier families with legal shotguns these days which libertarian bloggers seem to be very quiet about.

Having a gun in the house does not increase personal safety in the same way an american pitbull does. i recomend getting one of them if they are ever legalised. To hell with guns.

Anonymous said...

What is going on is properly termed Bansturbation. It achieves nothing, it is rather sordid and a bit dirty, but you feel a lot better when you've done it. Shooting cats with crossbows is similarly useless; if you want to keep cats out of an area, make the area pong of Jeyes Fluid; old teabags soaked in this, and placed strategically around will do the trick nicely, since for cats smell is by far their most important sense.

On the firearms side of things, the most recent gibbering in this direction was the banning of self-contained air cartridge guns. One of these is something quite like a proper firearm, which has a re-engineered barrel that has been specially weakened to make turning it back into a firearm a difficult process. Most of these guns (sold first by Saxby-Palmer, then by Brocock) were pistols, though there were some nice rifles made too (I rather fancied a reproduction Henry repeater, then they banned 'em).

The perceived problem was this: there are a lot of very stupid pillocks out there who, lacking moral or physical authority but craving this try to get a gun to get some "respect". Real guns are illegal, expensive and quite hard to get hold of, especially if you happen to be five feet of piss who'll cough to who sold him the shooter if leaned on by plod; illegal gun traders do have caution, if not respect and social responsibility.

So, there was a cottage industry going on turning Brocock revolvers back into devices which superficially resembled firearms, but which actually weren't. As the policeman-in-residence at the gun club I go to (strictly 10M air rifle only for me) explained, if you fired one shot through one of these bodges, you had about a 90% chance that it would fire properly. Fire a second shot, and you were down to fifty-fifty, and a third gave you about a 90% chance that the thing would explode in your hand and blow some of your fingers off.

Indeed, he had once attended the scene of a shooting involving one of these hideous bodges; the argument had been over a girlfriend and the attacker had fired three or four shots at point-blank range, hurting the victim quite badly. The attacker (or at least his fingerprints) was known to police, and his fingerprints were easy to obtain as several of his fingers were lying on the ground at the scene, together with the explosively disassembled remainder of his pistol.

There was therefore a perceived problem with the self-contained air cartridge airguns. New Labour chose to act by banning the sale and transfer of ownership by any means of the guns, and mandating that all existing ones be kept in firearms cabinets and by put "on ticket" immediately. This destroyed the re-sale value of them, but allowed the Government to wriggle out of paying compensation for the ban. All this was hidden in the Anti-Social Behaviour Bill, and is unfortunately not widely known, either to the police or the general public (though we in the gun clubs know all about it, have the posters, and so on).

Brocock spares are openly traded on Ebay even today, even though doing so renders one liable to several years imprisonment. The guns are sold secondhand perfectly openly, and are still used as input material for bodge-guns. Basically, the ban has been an expensive waste of time for all concerned.

But take heart: the Government has Acted!

subrosa said...

The problem is that there is a whole generation who have not experienced real consequences for serious actions'


Chalcedon said...

How did the government of the time manage to get a hand gun ban when the Bill of rights expressly allows for the bearing of arms. This is not restricting anyone to a particular arm, but arms. Therefore banning the hand gun was unconstitutional. there is no mention of a license either so you shouldn't need one. You certainly didn't in the 19th century.

Anonymous said...

On the other hand:
Why Switzerland is the safest country in the world!

Amusing Bunni said...

I'm not clicking on the photo, as I love animals, and esp. kitteh's now, so much. Thanks for the warning.

Awful people who shoot animals with ANYTHING should be shot themselves, but I digress.

It's not the weapon that does the damage, it's the deranged moron who uses it. We have everything banned out here, and all the criminals have the weapons. It's been all over the news FINALLY. THey run in packs like rabid weasels. HItting people over the head with bottles, etc. Let's just ban everything, even wet string, I'm sure that can kill someone too.

I don't like innocent people getting hurt or killed either, but hurting poor little animals that are sweet and innocent is beyond horrible!
Rant over! Now, to cheer up, go look at my page for cute animals playing, it's so much nicer.

maid marion's mediæval moaning said...

robin hood would have been totally stuffed if he'd been around would this intrepid small-game hunter if he' shot one of the queen's corgisd up the bum.

of course, maybe he'd had his benefits cut by the sherriff of toffingham and was attempting to reach the daily level of protein-intake recommended by the nhs diet-advice-line.

Anonymous said...

Six million? Don't you mean sixty million?

Just wondered.

Leg-iron said...

Bill Sticker - I know bouncers (old school) who have been trained in where not to hit, so their charges land on the street still alive.

The corollary is, they know where to hit...

Leg-iron said...

Cats used to shit in my garden. A sprinkling of stinky crystals from the garden centre, and they don't do it now.

There's a big black one who likes to curl up under the pergola in the sun. I don't mind, I never sit there until the sun gets off it anyway.

Cats are not my friends and they know it. They run like hell if I open the back door. They patrol the garden when I'm not in it and as long as they don't leave a deposit, no problem.

The funny thing about that black cat is that he's location-dependent. He scarpers if I see him in the garden but in the street he's not bothered by me. He knows where he's not supposed to be. I wonder if that will change now that I no longer have a fishpond?

I've seen mice in the garden. Cheeky little sods. One even posed for a photo. I don't worry about them either. If they come in the house, they die, but the garden, no problem.

I'll kill for food and for defence but not for the sake of it. Cat crap is annoying but if it reappears I'll do what I did with it before, shovel it onto the rhubarb.

It has never occurred to me to do any harm to the cats, mice, hedgehogs, sparrows or anything else that roams the garden. Not even the bees that now annually nest here. The only thing I'll shoot them with is a camera.

Slugs, however, are evil and must be exterminated. Snails also. I mean, they have horns, how obvious does it need to be? They are Satan in slimy suits.

Children found in my garden will be classed as slugs. With one exception. I'm apparently not allowed to use beer traps on them.

WKD traps are okay.

Leg-iron said...

Kitler - there is a difference between dogs and guns.

If a ne'er-do-well breaks into your house when you are asleep, he can get to your gun before you do or at least block your access to it.

He does not have time to re-train your dog.

Leg-iron said...

Nox - maybe Sainsbury's have seen this and thought it was a documentary.

I can't remember which blogger found it first.

Leg-iron said...

Anon - yes, sixty million. I don't like to think about that many people all at once.

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