On the standards of journalism at The Guardian

Long piece, much handwringing about guns in America:

What is it with America and guns? Why does the most advanced democracy, which prides itself on being a bastion of reason and civilisation in a brutal and ugly world, put up with this carnage in its own back yard?

Etc, etc, cont. pg 94.

Amazingly, Ed Pilkington (for it is he) manages not to mention the most basic point:

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

Now maybe you think this is a good idea and maybe you don\’t but it is there, the Second Amendment to the Constitution and thus part of the founding ethos of the State.

Simply not to mention it at all in hundreds and hundreds of words about America and guns is simply bizarre.

24 thoughts on “On the standards of journalism at The Guardian”

  1. Why is it not mentioned?

    Could it be because to acknowledge that the right to keep and bear arms is in the Constitution would require the anti gun brigade to acknowledge that eminently sensible chaps like the Founding Fathers actually considered the widespread private ownership of firearms not only necessary but beneficial?

    Or could it be that this whole “well regulated militia” thing implies that citizens are entitled to take up arms against the state?

  2. Is it true that the Swiss all keep guns in their homes?

    Tim adds: Not quite. But every able bodied Swiss male does national service (sorta between Home Guard and Territorial Army sorta stuff) and yes, all of them keep their semi- or fully- automatic rifle/carbine etc at home.

  3. Jon,

    I was told in Switzerland last year that everyone in the militia (compulsory for men aged ~20-30) have to keep their army automatic rifle (pistol for officers) and ammunition in their home.

    Above that age they are no longer in the militia but may keep their gun (and many do), but it is altered to only be a semi-automatic.

  4. Why is the US the only country mentioned in connection with the easy availability of firearms.
    In front of me is a catalogue from a-alvarez.com, a Spanish supplier of fishing, hunting & recreational products. In it I can choose between a Glock 9mm pistol or a Ceska 7.62 semi-automatic assault rifle & numerous other weapons. All I would need is an easily obtainable Category D hunting licence & I could own any of them.
    Most of the people I know in rural France have a legal weapon in the house. As mentioned above, in Switzerland it’s required by law. If I wanted to acquire an illegal firearms I doubt if it would take much more than a couple of phone calls.
    It’s not just availability that results in a Tuscon.

  5. The Market Ticker blog has an interesting post accusing the local sheriff of dreadful incompetence – apparently the shooter was loony enough that the sheriff had ample reason to act in such a way that the killer would have been banned from buying the gun he killed them with.

  6. It’s simply because the Constitution outlines the rights the Government doesn’t have, rather than those of the people. The US is a Country with a government, not a Government with a country amd it drives the left nuts that the model exists anywhere in the world.

    The gun issue is simply the battle ground where the fight against that is fought. I know many gun owners in the US who would fully support better gun laws, but know full well that any movement is a one way ratchet with a fully disarmed population as the ultimate destination.

  7. More people in Europe simply don’t grasp the nature and effect of the US Constitution, because they have never been exposed to this form of government and so don’t understand it.

    The idea of a law that cannot be modified or repealed at the passing whim of a simple majority of whatever legislature happens to be in power that day is completely foreign to them.

    I think it’s amusing to read these chuckleheads, all falling over themselves to declaim that if only Arizona, or the US, or wherever, just had more ‘sensible’ gun laws, these things would never happen.

    @David Moore – quite right. The ratchet is clicking steadily in the UK, and yet it doesn’t seem to stop these sorts of deranged ‘spree’ killers at all.

    Can you define what would constitute a ‘better’ gun law? Not a challenge, but a question. I’m in the US, I own a raft of guns and I’m well-up on the state of current US ‘gun control’ laws, but I’m having a hard time thinking what this might mean.



  8. “He has watched as the courts have stripped Washington and Chicago – two cities troubled by high gun crime rates – of their stringent controls on handguns.”

    Irony seems to be a concept lost on the writer. Does he also believe that the POTUS can over rule the courts?

  9. Better, as in something along the lines of the New Zealand system. Some kind of reasonable gun safety training and a background check before purchase.

    I have no real issue with magazine limits, which are about the most useful measure that can reduce the impact a possible gunman make.

    Of couse, with the number of full size magazines in circulation now it’s not going to be that effective, but it would have little impact on the vast majority of gun owners and may save a few lives in balance.

  10. Carnage? What carnage? I live in AZ, I don’t even need a permit for concealed carry and yet when was the last time someone shot the place up here?
    Contrast that with Mexico where firearms are mostly illegal and licenses to *own* (let alone the freedom to walk around with one) are tightly controlled. Getting shot at is just part of the job for Mexican pols.

  11. It is impossible to control guns in the United States because there are already so many guns all over the place. Besides that, with the internet, it is getting easier to obtain guns from international sources all of the time.

    The best approach is probably to screen the population itself, prohibiting criminals and mental incompetents from owning firearms. The 22 year old white male who recently killed the people in Tucson, Arizona bought his pistol at a local retail store. If the U.S government undertook the very massive task of screening the entire U.S. population, catastrophies like the recent one in Tucson would be prevented in some cases.

  12. Don’t control guns, control bullets (And yes I know the difference between a bullet and a round).

    You want a gun, sir? No problem. What’s it for? Personal protection? Well you can have 6 bullets, that should stop any intruder once yu’ve had your obligatory training.

    Hunting? OK, have 20 as your going off for a week. You need more? Sorry, but you sound like you don’t know how to hunt.

    OK, so like guns there’s so many out there its hardly worth banning but unlike guns bullets do get used up so there will come a time when they do get scarcer.

  13. @Charles Holden:

    ‘If the U.S government undertook the very massive task of screening the entire U.S. population, . . ”

    But they do! Nobody in the US – including the Tucson shooter – can buy any firearm from a Federally-licensed dealer (and there really isn’t any other legal way to buy one) without first passing the Federal NCIS background check. There’s no way around it – no dealer will sell to you without an NCIS verification number, because it’s his license – and his ass in Leavenworth for 20 years – if he doesn’t.

    Not working too well, it seems. Everybody knew that this fellow was barking mad, and had other problems besdies, but he never attracted any sanction severe enough to get him onto the Federal No Gun For You list.



  14. It’s not like Europe doesn’t have its fair share of shootings, either. I can think of one in Germany and another somewhere in Scandinavia (maybe Finland) within the last couple of years, plus our own Raoul Moat. Where there are guns there will also be nutters, it is not a structural issue at all.

  15. Mr Newman,

    Where there are guns there will also be nutters


    Nutters exist. Guns exist. The former are sad individuals with mental issues. The latter are finely engineered peices of metal work. There is no causative connection between the two.

    On a broader note, talking about low journalistic standards, has anyone read Alex Spillius’s ltest bit in the Telegraph?


    Headlined A slim majority of Americans has rejected the view that heated political rhetoric was a factor in the Arizona shootings, a poll released on Tuesday revealed

    It’s only below the fold that we learn the split is 57% to 32%. Now I don’t know about you but that’s not a “slim” majority in my book.

    Could we be seeing an example of a journalist of commitment trying to adjust perceptions about inconvenient truths?

  16. “the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed”

    Taken literally, does this mean every individual US citizen is entitled to his own personal independent nuclear deterrent? Is this right currently being infringed? Does anyone seriously object to its infringement?

  17. Nutters exist. Guns exist. The former are sad individuals with mental issues. The latter are finely engineered peices of metal work. There is no causative connection between the two.

    Aye, that’s what I meant. I might as well have said where there are guns there will also be people with hats.

  18. Okay.

    Sadly too many people do seem to think there is an automatic link between the two. Indeed many people seem to think that anyone who has ever owned, used, looked at or even just walked within a mile of a gun is, by definition, a nutter.

    As you might have guessed this upsets me not a little.

  19. @ SimonF –

    “Don’t control guns, control bullets ”

    But the experience in nations with strict ‘gun control’ shows that people who want to get hold of a gun illegally have no problems doing so. Why do you suppose that they would have any more trouble getting hold of ammunition illegally – especially since ammunition is actually laughably easy to make? On a busy weekend, I make thousands of rounds of pistol ammunition. I have supplies enough to make tens of thousands more. I like your idea, in the sense that it could make me a very rich man indeed 😉

    Restricting ammunition would be just as useless as restricting guns, since such restrictions only affect those who are inclined to obey the law. You fall into the trap so common to ‘gun control’ enthusiasts, of assuming that the passing of a law against something absolutely prevents it from occurring. There is no sense in passing laws that only affect the law-abiding.



  20. All of you guys who are pro-gun should “man up” and say exactly what the Second Amendment really is: an only slightly subtle recognition that real weapons (and ammunition) in the hands of regular folks is an absolute minimum requirement of a free people.

    It is a reasonable caution to those in government in the sense of T. Jefferson’s observation that “the tree of liberty requires occasional watering with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”

    The “Bill of Rights” (the first ten amendments added to the Constitution) is intended as a basic description of the rights necessary for an adult human being to be able to consider that he is a “free man.” Each of them delineates a “right,” without which a person becomes a virtual word or charge of the State.

    In the time between then and now, there has been steady erosion of many, even most of these rights, the “chipping away” originating almost as much as 200 years ago in steady attempts to extend more and more government control over the life and activities of the individual.

    And, though I am constantly disappointed that many responsible, productive people are misled and ignorant of many aspects of law impacting economic performance and far less jealous of those freedoms than I consider ideal, yet I am very much gratified at the extent to which those same people consider the Second Amendment vital, the line they’d not permit to be crossed.

    Do I think that each must be able to acquire a nuclear deterrent capability? No, I do not. But I do believe that the right described in the Second Amendment includes whatever might be the current fighting arm of a modern infantry (such as our own)–a level currently considered against the law (and which law I believe unconstitutional).

  21. Gene

    The Second Amendment gives the citizenry the right to bear arms, but it doesn’t insist that all must bear arms whether they want to or not. That much we can agree on.

    My point is, the original wording doesn’t mention any restrictions on that right, based on the destructive capacity of the weapons. And that’s obviously historical. At the time of the War of Independence, the most destructive weapons available to anyone were muskets, swords, cannon. Now the destructive capacity of weaponry goes all the way up to city destroying h-bombs. Even at lower levels of destruction, there are infantry combat weapons of terrifying destructive potential, which it would be crazy to allow the entire citizenry unrestricted access to. If every American could buy surface-to-air missiles in Walmart the entire US civilian airline industry would collapse. De facto everyone has accepted a piecemeal alteration to the amendment which cannot be rationally defended purely by reference to the text of the amendment. And I think that’s better than the literalist alternative.

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