The Berlin Street Market Killings: Reactionary legislation solves hardly anything

December 23, 2016

In the wake of the Berlin market truck killings, some voices are calling for the Schengen open borders policy in the European Union to be scrapped.  This is understandable on a visceral level – Anis Amri, a man who had been on terrorist watch lists, had apparently driven freely all over the Schengen area both before and after the killings – he had managed to travel over 1,000 miles around Europe in spite of an arrest warrant, and he was finally caught and slain by police in Milan, Italy; so he had successfully travelled from Germany to Italy while he was a high-profile murder suspect.  But scrapping the Schengen agreement because of the Amri case would be an example of reactionary legislation that would achieve very little but would pose problems for millions of law-abiding citizens.  Maybe trucks should be banned too?  After all, Amri used one to commit his crimes.

anis-amri

Anis Amri, the Berlin truck murderer killed by police in Italy

It reminds me of the reactionary gun laws passed in Britain because of “lone gunman” cases: for instance, the Hungerford massacre when Michael Ryan used assault rifles to murder 16 people in 1987 led to a ban on automatic weapons; and the Dunblane atrocity when Thomas Hamilton entered the Dunblane Primary School in Scotland and used pistols to murder 15 children and their teacher caused the government to ban virtually all handguns as well as firearms such as hunting rifles.

These two UK examples of sweeping gun control reform after single atrocities have probably saved few, if any lives.  The assault rifles used by Ryan were extremely rare in any case, and the Dunblane massacre was down to insufficient vetting of Hamilton more than the law that allowed properly-vetted individuals to buy pistols for recreation or competition shooting; because of the post-Dunblane legislation, members of the 2012 British Olympic shooting teams were unable to train in Britain, and £42 million had to be spent on special facilities where the shooting events could take place, at Woolwich Royal Artillery Barracks – facilities that were demolished after the Games. Shooting sports bodies and some politicians argued that the money would have been better spent on the lasting legacy that would be gained by refurbishing and upgrading permanent facilities at the National Shooting Centre at Bisley, which would have cost a maximum of £30 million, and which would allow British competitive sports shooting teams to practice on home soil.

The ultimate irony of these reactionary legislations is that only law-abiding citizens are affected by the laws.  Criminals who want assault rifles or handguns can buy them anyway, on the black market, where they do not have to possess licences.  Any change to the Schengen agreement would have the same effect: stopping countless citizens to move freely in the European zone because of one evil man’s actions.  It is an erosion of rights similar to those we have seen in the USA – except of course in the States guns and bullets are trivial to buy.


“Weapons haul” found by police in Worcester, UK… but it’s all a load of crap, as usual.

September 8, 2010

Wednesday, 8 September 2010.

According to the papers in the UK, especially those prone to hysteria whenever even a weak connection to “terrorists” can be inferred by dumb-ass readers, a shit-load of munitions were seized by police in a quiet respectable suburb of Worcester in the West Midlands.  Take a look at this photo from the newspaper “The Sun” (the Sun is a sensationalist UK paper whose sister paper The News of the World is under investigation for gaining unauthorized access to voicemail belonging to high-ranking politicians and business figures:

Sun photo showing police carrying weaponary from the Worcester house

Look at the pics, and the other pics available out there in the intertubes: see how clean, and new this ordnance is. To me, this makes me wonder: the army boys told the cops that the munitions were replica and harmless; and the cops decided to act like real super-cops.  The cops didn’t put the munitions in evidence bags or in any way try to avoid being photographed.  They wanted to be photographed; they probably told the photographers to turn up.  Now they’re a bunch of hard, dedicated coppers who carry military weapons with complete disregard for their own safety.  But what about the public’s safety?  Don’t worry, the bombs are only toys.  But shh don’t tell anyone.

Even before the truth came out, I was suspicious.  The nature of the weapons I saw pics of and read about was far too modern to be anything but replicas belonging to replica collectors, war re-enactors and the like; if they were real, they were something to be very concerned about.  A terrorist organization amassing a cache like that would indicate that something’s going to happen – and there are more caches like this.  The fact that all the news editors must have been pretty sure by deadline time that the munitions were fake and almost certainly legally held didn’t stop them from making it seem a terror incident.

And now the truth has come out: take a look at the Worcester News website and you’ll find this puff piece, making sure that no criminal charges have been brought against him. Graham Lane is a 65-year old collector of deactivated and replica firearms, and he’s a gun club chief.

Apart from the crazed response to this story by the sleazy “terrorism sells” tabloids, there’s another point that baffles me. According to the Worcester News of Tuesday, after listing the sensationalist list of “munitions retrieved” – “more than 30 guns , including rifles and shotguns, and a gun cabinet were removed from the house” – an Inspector John Mackay said:

“During our search we discovered some munitions. We asked the Army to come in and keep them safe for us. The only reason the Army has been called is because they have the experts to handle the munitions. I’m not qualified to say what the munitions are.”

So this presumably highly-trained army bomb disposal specialists were unable to tell the difference between real explosives and pretend stuff? Sneck, no wonder the casualty rate of innocent Afghanis being brutalized, tortured and even killed.

And we’re no safer here. Go out in the street and play with toy guns: how long before an armed response unit turns up and wastes some teenager with a water pistol. Doesn’t this make you feel safe at night?

Graham Lane, gun club chief, falsely arrested yesterday for having a garage full of toys


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