Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Disarming the People

If a person wants to kill someone, they can go into the garden, pick up a rock, and bludgeon somebody over the head with it. They don't need a terrorist manual to tell them how, and there is no point in making "possession of a rock" a crime. Murder is the crime - it involves killing people, and no amount of legislation banning pointed sticks, large spoons, bricks, plastic bags, or whatever, will prohibit the determined psycho from acting. Arrest the guilty - don't criminalise the innocent.

Today's announcement that the UK government is about the ban the possession of katana, traditional Samurai swords, is just one more step in the disarmament of the British people and the removal of their ability to defend themselves against oppression and crime, and to make them feel ever more helpless in the face of random violence and injustice. How ever-so-easy it is for the media to find some tragically bereaved mother to rail against the physical object which took her child's life - and to call for it to be banned as a result. And how happy the government are to jump to her aid and valiantly create another criminalised activity.

There are countries in the world where the people's duty to actively resist an oppressive, totalitarian regime is enshrined in their constitutions. The USA is the greatest example, and a country where the population have before taken it upon themselves to throw out, not once, but twice, an oppressive regime which threatened their freedoms. Likely it is about to do so again.

But in England, ever since the Norman conquest, it has been vaguely illegal to own anything more offensive than a pitchfork. And with good reason - the jacqueries of Wat Tyler, William Wallace, et al, have more than once put the fear of God into our otherwise cheery oppressors. God forbid that a population should be able to resist the oppression we decide for them.

Here in France I can go into a shop in any town and buy guns, bows and arrows, suits of armour, swords, crossbows, the whole shebang. And - guess what? - does the population turn into a vast horde of bloodthirsty maniacs? Of course not. The number of guns around here is staggering - and every hunting season some poor little deer or hare or partridge gets it between the eyes. But the level of yobbish violence is nowhere near the level of dear old Blighty, with its legion of anti-violence laws. And the French remain very wary of governments intruding on their personal and private lives - and all too ready to take to the streets when a government forgets its mandate.

Remember: when all behaviour is criminalised, there are no innocents. When a sharp knife is technically illegal, and possession of fertiliser can get you banged up for possessing material likely to be of use to terrorists, remember: there was a time when you were presumed innocent first, and you had to DO something before you were considered a criminal.

Guns don't shoot protestors. Oppressive governments do.

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