Reuters reports some interesting figures from the Small Arms Survey 2007 on the availability of guns around the world.
The UK doesn’t get a mention anywhere in Reuters’ report. Well, you wouldn’t expect it too, really, would you? The UK doesn’t have a level of gun ownership that would warrant mention in this kind of survey.
Yet I think it’s a topic that’s directly relevant to constant news headlines about gun crime in the UK.
It seems to me that we have a (disproportionate) amount of serious crime including murder where easily getting hold of guns and then using them has been a major feature.
Throughout this year, there have been regular reports of people being shot to death in our cities, notably London, Manchester and Liverpool.
In most cases, the shootings have involved teenagers, either as victims or as the perpetrators.
You get the feeling that every time you turn on the TV or radio, there’s a new report about someone getting shot, usually a teenager or even younger.
As the new school term begins next week, I wonder how apt this Frank Galasso cartoon might be if we changed the sign to read ‘Big City UK’:
What’s behind this apparent upsurge in gun crime even if government crime stats show levels of such types of crime are falling?
I think this text from the Small Arms Survey’s press release gives a good indicator:
Large-scale and uncontrolled urbanization is often accompanied by decreasing levels of public safety and appears to be associated with increased rates of armed violence, finds the 2007 edition of the Small Arms Survey. The drug trade, the availability of weapons, opportunities for criminal gain, and the social dislocation and anonymity of large cities all contribute to armed violence. A dearth of employment opportunities and resources in some cities is a factor in the onset of urban conflicts […].
It’s society’s big problem, no matter the country. Undoubtedly magnified when there’s increasing availability of the tools for the job, as it were.
I was on the street in New York City quite a bit this week and noticed something interesting. At least two out of three movie and television promotional posters included someone holding a gun in the image. I’m typically pretty conservative on issues but this trend distresses me. There’s no doubt in my mind that the glorification of guns in the media is a bad thing.
Not sure what it would take to change those attitudes, Rob. Something cataclysmic, I expect.