NRA-ILA Responds to Bloomberg Columnist’s Piece, “A Civilized Society”

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Bloomberg anti-gun columnist Sir Max Hastings missing the point entirely on his recent anti-gun article. IMG NRA-ILA.

U.S.A. -(AmmoLand.com)- Bloomberg columnist Sir Max Hastings shares his thoughts on guns, crime, and the differences between his native Britain and the United States in I Grew Up on Guns. Now I’ve Learned to Love Firearm Control.”

Having a father who had brought home keepsake firearms from the Second World War, he claims he became “exceptionally proficient” at taking apart and reassembling guns as a child. This glimpse into his background is provided to preempt the “common response of American enthusiasts to the rest of the world’s horror: ‘Foreigners don’t understand guns.’” That isn’t quite the point. Foreigners – regardless of how well they may handle guns – don’t always understand Americans.

He writes “the association of right-wing patriotism with gun ownership is a recent construct,” with it being a “fiction” that “weapon ownership [is] an inherent part of American identity.” Weapon ownership may not be an integral part of the national identity and remains a matter of personal choice; however, the right to possess and bear arms has something of a longer and more celebrated pedigree. The United States Supreme Court, in District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), traced this right back to English precedents that predated the creation of the United States. The “Second Amendment was not intended to lay down a ‘novel principl[e]’ but rather codified a right ‘inherited from our English ancestors.’”

According to Sir Max, it is a truth universally acknowledged that “possession of a gun facilitates homicide… and suicide,” as it “requires absurdly little physical effort, or even psychological commitment, to point and fire a gun.” He states no other country comes close to the scale of gun ownership in the United States, with 400 million weapons, or 46% of all the world’s guns, in private hands. Assuming his information and premise are correct, one would expect the United States to dominate homicide and suicide rates worldwide by a spectacular margin.

Firearms, however, have not propelled America to the top of the charts. The rate of suicide in the United States is below that of Japan, France, South Korea, Poland, Switzerland, Hungary, and Belgium, to name just a few; Russia and Lithuania have rates twice that of the U.S.  Likewise, the United States is far from being the global leader in homicides – one source indicates the U.S. rate of “death by interpersonal violence – homicide” in 2017 was just over 6 per 100K, the same as Cuba, Moldova, Argentina and Thailand, and well below that of Guatemala (36.6), Mexico (34.1), Brazil (30.1), Costa Rica (10.4), or all of Eastern Europe (13.0).

Statistics aside, his personal history undermines his claim. Despite growing up in a home with a father who was “potty about” guns, those firearms apparently drove no one in the Hastings household to homicide or self-harm. The only apparent victim of gun violence was a television accidentally shot by Hastings, one of the “wonderfully rackety experiences of [his] childhood.

A particularly disappointing reference in Hastings’ article relates to the rise in gun sales in 2020, “as the pandemic intensified nameless, undefined fears. Many of these gun owners cannot credibly explain what threat their personal arms are supposed to defend against. It would be hard to shoot a virus, for instance.” The implication – inexplicable for a person of his background and intelligence – is that these gun owners are ignorant, too simple to grasp the nature of COVID-19.

A more rational explanation would look to the riots and “unrest” that swept across the country last year, together with police “stand down” orders and calls to slash law enforcement resources. At least one academic has pointed to these events and the “unwillingness or inability of local authorities to stop looting, rioting, and other lawless and violent behavior” as proof of the importance of the right to have the means of self-defense.  Individuals under the impression they have no need to arm themselves because protection is available from the police have very clear and legitimate apprehensions when politicians and others abdicate their responsibility and ignore (or encourage) criminal behavior and a breakdown of the public order.

The self-help option is firmly rejected by Hastings. “If my wife and I found ourselves faced with intruders, I would not think of reaching for one of my guns: Such a response would probably prompt my indictment, for using a firearm with intent to endanger life.” He adds, further, that most of his fellow British subjects “flinch from guns… [and] I have come to believe that my compatriots’ wariness …is a fault on the right side.”

If the case of Tony Martin is any indication, Hastings is entirely correct about the consequences of defending one’s home. Martin, a farmer in an isolated rural area, had been robbed at least six times and notified the police. During a break-in at his home in 1999, he shot at and killed one burglar and wounded another. Martin was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison, although this was later downgraded to manslaughter. The surviving burglar was sentenced to 36 months but was released early; Martin was denied parole because he posed an unacceptable risk to burglars. A probation officer’s report cited Martin’s “unwavering belief that he is the one who has been wronged in the first instance by the burglars in the second by the Criminal Justice System,” as these “entrenched views make him a high risk of behaving similarly in future.” In a further fling against Martin, the career criminal burglar applied for and received legal aid funding for his civil lawsuit seeking damages; Martin was expected to fund his defense himself.

The British “flinch” not just at guns but at any item that may (plausibly or not) be a weapon. A U.K. police website advises that the only “fully legal self-defense product” a person may buy is a “rape alarm” and warns, “You must not get a product which is made or adapted to cause a person injury.” In the same spirit, police “weapon sweeps” of parks and streets display scissors, pliers and a file, a length of pipe and other oddments, a rusty screwdriver, a rustier knife, a bent carving fork, a hockey stick, a handsaw, and cutlery knives. Presented without the police context, Americans would most probably identify these as appropriate scrap metal drop-offs for their local recycling facility.

Hastings maintains that “widespread firearms ownership is a pollutant” and that the British “are a better, much safer society without handguns.” Millions of Americans would disagree. In Hastings’ British version of “Come and Take It,” criminals are free to help themselves knowing their unarmed victims can’t or won’t resist, and authorities appear to have less concern for victims than villains. In his civilized society, criminals have the moral high ground, chairs and narwhal tusks must be used to stop murderers, and it is entirely acceptable that good citizens are unworthy of possessing weapons.


About NRA-ILA:

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the “lobbying” arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess, and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Visit: www.nra.org

National Rifle Association Institute For Legislative Action (NRA-ILA)

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swmft
swmft
1 month ago

rape is a common and unpunished event in england because if you defend yourself and hurt the other person you are charged with a crime victum is the criminal Ill keep my guns and shoot the crooks and if necessary gvt criminals too

Rebel VA
Rebel VA
1 month ago

I believe that Arthur C. Clarke said that an armed society is a polite society!

RoyD
RoyD
1 month ago
Reply to  Rebel VA

An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life.
Robert A. Heinlein

Rebel VA
Rebel VA
1 month ago

OOO! I love firearm control; how to hold a gun, how to aim it, how to control the trigger and how to hit the target, whatever it is, etc, etc.

American Cynic
American Cynic
1 month ago

A civilized society isn’t one in which the vast majority of Black families have at least one loved one in prison or eventually. A civilized society isn’t one in which the majority of murders against Blacks are perpetrated by Black criminals. A civilized society isn’t one in which everyone and anything gets blamed for the shortcomings in the Black community, but not Black leadership or the lack of morality and respect for the law among Black people. Life is cheap in the ghetto. A civilized society is not one in which a White man in his right mind avoids walking… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by American Cynic
Aardvark
Aardvark
1 month ago

“If my wife and I found ourselves faced with intruders, I would not think of reaching for one of my guns: Such a response would probably prompt my indictment, for using a firearm with intent to endanger life.”

He forgot to add “I would simply rip my wife’s clothes off and tell the intruders to have their way with her while I packed all my personal possessions in boxes to make it easier for them to carry out”. Kids: today’s word is “cuck”

nrringlee
nrringlee
1 month ago

We are no long er a civilized society and this is true for one reason and one reason only: the Cultural Revolution fueled by Cultural Marxism and directed by the Progressive New Left has rooted out the foundation of our culture. This long march through our institutions has rendered our society incapable of distinguishing the truths clearly spelled out in the First Book of Genisis. We cannot distinguish Man from Woman much less right from wrong. So, that being said it is even more important for those of us who have preserved our moral foundations to have our natural right… Read more »

Coelacanth
Coelacanth
1 month ago

Mad Max is just that. Mad. As a hatter, that is.

Montana454Casull
1 month ago

Sir Maxi pad Hastings opinions don’t count for a thing in America as our bill of rights states we have the right to keep and bear arms and it shall not be Infringed. Brits are servants and Americans are citizens and we plan to keep it that way Max . Seams to me we used our guns to kick your Brittish asses from American soil clown . Remember that Maxi pad Hastings read your history book idiot !

Deplorable Bill
Deplorable Bill
1 month ago

Hitler registered firearms”For a kinder gentler nation”. WW-2 soon followed because no one had the ability to stop him. Somewhere near 140 MILLION people lost their lives in that damned war. In the decades running up to 1775, the British held an absolute TYRANNY on and over the colonies. In that spring, the British tried to ensure their strangle hold on the colonies by gun control. They sent their soldiers to a farm outside of Concord by way of Lexington. Their tyranny and gun control birthed a nation. Now would be a good time to read the declaration of independence… Read more »

Dee
Dee
1 month ago

But Bill the ‘Right’ really will not put up a fight nor will they openly protest their “actual” displeasures. The right thinks their fight is with the left and minorities (at least Trump supporters). Funny when you think about. The left really have the BIGGEST balls!! The right celebrate voters suppression and laws that severely limit people of color instead of marching down to the capital with open carry of long guns and demanded SC, TX to make guns CC. Republicans are a joke. And basically Trump weaken your party and now he’s weaken y’all to fight for even sensible… Read more »

Vern
Vern
1 month ago
Reply to  Dee

WOKE, means that lefty’s are paid for their wokness by allowing them to loot everything they want from black business owners, burn their businesses down, and get away with it. You ain’t black if you don’t vote for lunatic biden, when you burn the country down you will not have gained anything. But you aren’t smart enough to figure that out, if you survive.

Deplorable Bill
Deplorable Bill
1 month ago
Reply to  Dee

I expect the day is coming when there will be a choice between tyranny and slavery aka communism or voting with a rifle. We are very near that point now. It’s a miracle we are not already in a shooting civil war. If this were 1775, the balls would already be flying.

Arm up and carry on

uncle dudley
uncle dudley
1 month ago

Hastings has a short memory about American history and guns, the young nation in the 1770’s kicked the British butts and sent them packing back to England, yet we saved their bacon twice with American guns once in WW1 then again in WW2.
How dare he thinks he can talk about taking Americans guns away from honest citizens with his drivel.
Preaching to Bloomberg readers is like preaching to the choir, but leave the rest of alone because we believe in gun ownership.

Boom
Boom
1 month ago
Reply to  uncle dudley

We most certainly did not “kick their butts and send them packing”… You can’t honestly think that a rag tag bunch of colonies won a war against the mighty empire of England? …A country that controlled 2/3 of the entire world at the time. This why that “awful traitor” (a man that paid for the colonist soldiers’ salaries out of his own pocket) Benedict Arnold brought France in… He wasn’t a moron, he realized we’d never win a war against England othewise; and had Englands’ heart really been in it –they would have stomped a mud hole in us… Now,… Read more »

Jonesy
Jonesy
1 month ago
Reply to  Boom

That must be why Arnold spent the rest of his life in England and left his leg here.

nrringlee
nrringlee
1 month ago
Reply to  Boom

But the point is this. Yes, we had a civil war that lasted nearly 40 years. That is evident. What many fail to realize is that the American Revolution, an entirely separate affair was nearly completed prior to one shot being fired at Lexington. Our revolution, like all other legitimate revolutions fundamentally changes the social, civil and economic orders of a culture. That was accomplished under the very noses of the British Empire due to our frontier challenge and response.

USMC0351Grunt
USMC0351Grunt
1 month ago
Reply to  Boom

I find this extremely odd when I travel the east coast of the United States and find all these historical landmarks everywhere from the 1500’s to 1800’s indicating Spanish discoveries and settlements? SEE: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/history/article/fountain-of-youth#:~:text=In%20St.,is%20now%20Florida%20in%201513.

Vern
Vern
1 month ago
Reply to  Boom

The French were already at war with England and were hoping that they could gain something that would have helped them defeat the British. It was an American Jew who brought the money desperately needed by the Americans to bring about the victory over the British. Without his help the cause would have been lost. The French went on to lose their war with the Brits. The war of 1812 was fought because the Brits were still mad about losing the colonies and picked another fight thinking they would win. Once freedom has entered the blood stream, it is a… Read more »