Dear Chief Secretary to the Treasury,
I'm afraid to tell you there's no money left.
Signed, Liam Byrne

(Outgoing Labour Chief Secretary to the Treasury. May 2010)

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Fast response?

... Derrick Bird was able to continue shooting people for a good three hours, entirely unhindered. According to press reports, the tv news seemed to be aware of the route being taken by the killer and warned local villagers to stay inside. The Cumbria Constabulary is small, sure, by comparison to other forces – but it does have 1,500 officers, plus the usual complement of “Blunkett’s Bobbies”. To find and apprehend one man. ...
So says Rod Liddle, and he asks a few more questions too.

Inspector Gadget says
I support the routine arming of all UK mainland police officers at all times.
Mrs Rigby acknowledges that the events in Whitehaven and nearby towns are a terrible tragedy. Any loss of life is sad, to have members of your family killed by somebody on a killing spree must be awful, and it's something Mrs R can't really relate to.

But things like this do happen. Thankfully they're rare events, but there are 'nutters' out there who do terrible things, and they always seem to find a way round the law, because they ignore it. And they don't just ignore the laws relating to the owning and use of firearms.

They ignore the law that says murder is illegal.

The media is, naturally, awash with 'ban all guns', 'ban all violent video games' and so on. The sort of knee-jerk reaction we've come to expect. It's the sort of reaction that led to the Firearms (Amendment) Act 1988 - following the Hungerford Massacre in 1987.

But that legislation didn't stop the Dunblane killings in 1996.

And the more stringent Firearms (Amendment) (No. 2) Act 1997 and melting down of previously legal and never-killed-anybody weapons didn't stop Rhys Jones being killed in 2007, although it has stopped Britain winning Olympic medals.

So Mrs Rigby would like to ask some questions:-

1) Could Mr Bird's actions have been predicted?

2) Would armed police have prevented Mr Bird from going on his killing spree?

3) Would armed police have prevented him from taking any of these lives, including his own?

4) How easily could Mr Bird have acquired his firearms by other than legal means?

5) Have Britain's 'strict' gun laws seen a real, unmanipulated, statistical decrease in the number of shooting/gunshot fatalities?

If the answers to these questions are, "No", "No", "No", "fairly easily", "No", then routine arming of all UK mainland police officers would be a waste of time, more draconian firearms laws would also be a waste of time, and the existing laws - along with the penalties for breaking them - need to be carefully reassessed. They need to be reassessed using all those lovely statistics the last government liked to collect and looked at alongside legislation in other countries, including different states of the USA.

The UK population is apparently around 62,598,810. If correct, it means that 62,598,809 people did not go on a killing spree in Cumbria.

The government has to be very sure the rest of us are not punished for the wrongdoing of one man who is now beyond punishment.


Oh, and maybe this is a slightly flippant comment that shouldn't be allowed. But, we have been led to believe that CCTV and webcams will prevent crime.

Mrs R has no idea how many constantly-running cameras, watched and monitored by carefully-trained operators there are in the towns Mr Bird drove through, but she did find this map of 'webcams'.

If CCTVs and CCTV operators are as good as they say, then Mrs R wonders why reports indicate that the police were alerted by a 999 call made from a mobile phone.


Quiet_Man said...

Thing is more liberal gun laws might just have prevented this tragedy, or at least got the guy before his tally got into double figures.

Catosays said...

Well said Mrs R. Exactly what I've said, more or less, on my little blog.

Bucko said...

And me. Totally agree

DerekP said...

I heard that the Police were inundated with 'phone calls, possibly meaning that the calls detailing the most recent killing/position were at the back of a queue.

If so, no wonder it took the police so long to trace a very simple trail.

Mrs Rigby said...

@ All
It seems the Police and Emergency Services were kept out of the area, in case it wasn't safe.

More 'Liberal' gun laws? Yes, if that means that responsible people can own guns for sport/competition.

The ban, like all the other bans, is a sledgehammer:nut, sometimes even a sledgehammer will miss its' target.

Chuckles said...

'Inspector Gadget says
I support the routine arming of all UK mainland police officers at all times.'

May I suggest to Inspector Gadget that he has not thought this through?

How about supporting the routine arming of all the Citizens and Subjects of these Isles? It would certainly be far more effective.

Mrs Rigby said...

Inspector Gadget was writing from his perspective, and keeping the Police safe from nutters - which is a good thing.

But, as you say, what about the rest of us? There have also been nutters in the Police force and 'things happen' - who is going to keep us safe, if the police don't really want to?