A Brief History
On June 3, 2017, radical Islamist terrorists once again struck London, England, with an attack that killed 8 people and injured another 48, as well as costing all 3 terrorists their lives. The weapons used in the attack were a delivery van and knives. The unarmed public and the 4 unarmed police officers on the scene were helpless to stop the attackers, though armed police that finally responded shot the 3 terrorists dead. It took armed police 8 minutes to arrive, which undoubtedly seemed much longer to the victims. All 3 terrorists were also found to be wearing explosive vests.
On March 22, 2017, a similar terrorist attack took place in London, again, perpetrated by a person aligned with radical Islamist terror groups. This attack consisted of a ramming of pedestrians with an automobile and the subsequent stabbing to death of an unarmed police officer. A total of 5 innocent victims were killed, as well as the perpetrator, again, killed by armed police that responded to the scene.
The horrific shooting rampage by a disturbed employee of the City of Virginia Beach in which he killed 12 innocent people and was subsequently shot to death by police during a gun battle on May 31, 2019, resulted in a massive hue and cry in the United States about demands to immediately pass gun control legislation, a stance virtually universally accepted by the 2 dozen plus candidates for the Democratic nomination for President. In this case, while the perpetrator certainly used guns (2 .45 caliber pistols, both legally purchased), there is no way any of the recently proposed “gun control” measures would have prevented this terrible crime. The often called for “universal background check” would not have stopped this event, as the murderer bought his guns after undergoing such checks. Nor would any sort of waiting period. Nor would any sort of reporting procedure based on psychiatric care or involvement with police. Only the total ban on civilian ownership of firearms could have prevented the shootings, but of course would not have prevented the gunman from using an alternate method of wreaking havoc, such as fire, explosion, vehicular attack, or stabbing/slashing assaults. Rules prohibiting the carrying of weapons in a municipal building certainly do not deter those with evil intent. Those sort of rules only keep honest armed citizens out. Maybe an armed employee or citizen conducting business in the municipal building could have saved lives. Maybe not, but we can speculate.
Remember, the worst terror attacks in American history were committed by using airplanes as weapons, and the hijackers were not armed with guns. The worst school massacre in US history was committed with the use of explosives, as was the Oklahoma City Federal Building attack.
Perhaps the worst “terrorist” attack of all against Americans is the current opioid crisis, a scourge on our population that kills more than twice as many people per year than guns! (Note: The United States has the 31st highest rate of gun deaths of all countries. If you listen to the mass media, you would think we are in a class of our own with massive numbers of gun murders, but the facts, though depressingly bad enough, are not as catastrophic as often portrayed.) Almost 40,000 Americans died from gunshot wounds in 2018, a terrible toll, but still only about half the deaths from drugs, mostly opioids. An often overlooked factor in the so called “gun violence” deaths in the US, is the fact that 60% of gun related deaths are suicides, thus about 16,000 Americans are killed by gunfire due to accidents, murders, and justified homicide in self-defense or by police.
While the entire country is in a dither over “gun violence” in the wake of the Virginia Beach tragedy, it is important to consider facts and reality when addressing the situation instead of emotion and misrepresentation. Recently one of our British readers commented that he was quite satisfied with most British police not being armed. We wonder how the victims in the London attacks detailed above felt about not having armed police on hand to save them! Just as other tools can be used for good or bad purposes, such as fire, nuclear power, knives and hammers, guns are merely a tool that are subject to their use by human people that may use or misuse them. This fact needs to be kept in mind when we consider if we need gun control or “people control.”
Question for students (and subscribers): Should the British arm all of their police officers? Please reply in the comments section below this article.
Your readership is much appreciated!
For more information, please see…
Combs, Cynthia. Terrorism in the Twenty-First Century. Routledge, 2017.
Cook, Aaron. Defending Self Defense: The Fallacy of Gun Control in America. Amazon Digital Services, 2018.
Jenco, John. The Fallacy: Freedom and the Gun Debate in America. Crowne Publishing, 2013.
Kenney, Michael. The Islamic State in Britain: Radicalization and Resilience in an Activist Network. Cambridge University Press, 2018.
McGreal, Chris. American Overdose: The Opioid Tragedy in Three Acts. PublicAffairs, 2018.
The featured image in this article, a photograph by Matt Brown of floral tributes at London Bridge on 6 June 2017 following the 3 June 2017 terrorist attack, is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license. This image was originally posted to Flickr by Matt From London at https://flickr.com/photos/57868312@N00/34308551364. It was reviewed on 2017-06-10 08:05:12 by FlickreviewR, who found it to be licensed under the terms of the cc-by-2.0, which is compatible with the Commons.