"We know as a matter of record that there has been a long-term growth in
crime." - Jack Straw, Home Secretary, August 24, 1999
Today's "gun-free" Great Britain has long been the
firearm-prohibitionists' paradigm for a peaceful society. But there's big
trouble brewing in paradise.
During the last few decades, a series of high-profile mass murders created
the right political climate for British politicians to disarm the populace,
rendering self-defense, even with weapons other than firearms, a crime.
But instead of a drop in crime, a crime wave was the result. According to a
1998 U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics publication, as of 1995, rates for
robbery, assault, burglary, and motor vehicle theft in England and Wales had
dramatically surpassed those here in the United States.
And violent crime in Great Britain continues to worsen. The January 16, 2000
edition of the London Times proclaimed "Killings Rise as 3 Million Illegal
Guns Flood Britain". In 1998, armed crime rose 10 percent from 1997, and
the final figures for 1999 promised to be even worse.
To hide the facts from its citizens - and from the rest of the world - the
British government has been working overtime, doing its level best to obscure
its own complicity in the crime increase by fudging the statistics. As a result,
many offenses have deliberately and systematically gone unreported.
Just as rapidly as crime in Great Britain has climbed, so has the discrepancy
between police reports and what has been reported in victimization surveys.
In fact, the disparity between real crime rates and the "official"
figures became so uncomfortable that the British Home Office was forced to
change its method of reporting crime.
NO TRUTH IN ADVERTISING
In an article entitled "Crime Figures a Sham, Say Police",
published in the April 1, 1996 edition of London's Daily Telegraph, an unnamed
retired senior officer at Scotland Yard revealed "there are a series of
tricks that render the [crime] figures a complete sham". As an example he
noted that "where a series of homes in a block of flats were burgled they
were regularly recorded as one crime". So, if the burglar hit 15 or 20
flats, only one crime was added to the statistics.
In April 1998, a new set of crime recording rules was adopted. As the October
12, 1999 Home Office Statistical Bulletin noted, "under the new counting
rules, the statistics wherever possible measure one crime per victim; this will
greatly improve the comparability between notifiable offence figures and victim
surveys". Now, if 15 flats were hit by a burglar, 15 crimes would be
An August 25, 1999 story from the Daily Telegraph further elaborated on some
of the other crime recording changes, pointing out that "offences such as
common assault had become notifiable crimes, meaning that they would show up in
the statistics for the first time." [emphasis ours]
That includes a whopping 150,000 such assaults in England and Wales alone,
each year, according to the October 13, 1999 Telegraph - crimes which had
previously been excluded from the recorded statistics!
Honesty in crime statistics, at last?
Not quite. There's still the homicide rate to contend with. Since the British
homicide rate lags behind the U.S. rate, it is only reasonable to ask whether
these figures, too, have been cooked to suit political expediency.
The answer to that is a resounding "Yes".
In their 1996 book Guns & Violence: The Debate Before Lord Cullen,
Richard Munday and Jan Stevenson analyzed the difference between British and
U.S. reported homicide rates, and showed how the true British homicide rate has
Here in the States, the homicide rate is based on arrest data, not on the
final disposition of cases. In Great Britain, however, Munday and Stevenson
point out that, as a result of the 1967 Criminal Law Act, each homicide case is
"tracked through the courts and the figures pruned annually to cull out
those in which the courts found the death to be the result of accident or self
defence, or [the perpetrator was] convicted on a lesser charge."
For instance, a murderer could be convicted of "causing grievous bodily
harm with intent", and such a case would then be removed from the homicide
crime statistics. Observed Munday and Stevenson, "Britain's comparatively
low homicide rate is in part due to...massaging down the figure", reducing
recorded homicides by as much as 25 per cent." The bottom line:
"All of these reporting practices go to make the recorded U.S. homicide
rate as high as it could possibly be...[while] in Britain, by contrast...the
homicide figure... is massaged down to a bare minimum."
A LEGACY OF VICTIMHOOD
"The public has had enough, and more than enough, of those who steal
with impunity, and even boast of their deeds." That from the April 19, 2000
edition of the London Evening Standard in an article entitled "The Public's
Rage Towards Burglars".
The story noted that Tony Martin, a farmer, was charged with "murder,
attempted murder and possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life following
a raid on his farmhouse". His crime? He had fired a shotgun at burglars,
killing one of them.
Despite the fact that the men he shot were "professional criminals for
whom burglary was a trade", and that "Martin had suffered repeatedly
at their hands", he was convicted. From the jury's deliberations, it was
clear that the verdict was returned "only with reluctance".
Martin is now serving a life sentence in a British jail.
If the Brits ever figure out that their victimhood is the legacy handed down
to them by anti-self-defense politicians, and that their own passive behavior
has only encouraged Great Britain's criminals, they would have good reason to
demand the return of their right to self-defense, as well as their guns.
But that's not in the government's game plan. So, short of rearming the
citizenry, how can British politicians turn the tide on crime and wiggle out of
the mess they've gotten themselves - and their country - into?
Home Secretary Jack Straw's solution was to hasten Great Britain's journey
towards tyranny. In July 1999, a "consultation paper" was issued by
the Home Office entitled "Managing Dangerous People with Severe Personality
Disorder: Proposals for Policy Development".
Cleverly and quietly buried within that document, one finds that the British
government intends to create legislation that would permit the
"indeterminate detention" of people classified as "dangerous
severely personality disordered", or DSPD. "This option would create a
new legal framework for detention of all DSPD individuals, based on the risk
they present...rather than whether they have been convicted of any
offence." [emphasis ours].
Psychiatrist Paul Mullen decried the "ethical dilemmas that these [Home
Office] proposals present for health professionals" in the October 30, 1999
British Medical Journal, and expressed fears that the British government's
proposals would create "a system for locking up men and women who frighten
officials." Said Mullen:
"The government's proposals masquerade as extensions to mental health
services. They are in fact proposals for preventive detention...They aim to make
judges more amenable to imposing discretionary life sentences. They are
intended...to circumvent the European Convention on Human Rights, which
prohibits preventive detention except in those of unsound mind."
AND BACK IN THE STATES...
On March 6, 1998, 35-year-old Matthew Beck went on a shooting rampage at the
Connecticut Lottery headquarters in Hartford, killing four fellow employees
before committing suicide. The response was familiar: one of the nation's
toughest gun-seizure laws went into effect in Connecticut on October 1, 1999.
While the law could have been written by the British Home Office, according
to Connecticut attorney Ralph Sherman. "They got this language from our
state's statute on involuntary commitment to a psychiatric hospital, but they
left out the requirement for a sworn statement from a psychiatrist."
Dubbed the "turn-in-your-neighbor" law by Sherman, Public Act No.
99-212 says that if police state they have "probable cause" to believe
that "a person poses a risk of imminent personal injury to himself or
herself or to other individuals", and that "such person possesses one
or more firearms", a judge may issue a warrant for the seizure of those
In his or her deliberations, the judge "may consider" factors such
as "the reckless use, display or brandishing of a firearm" and the
"attempted use or threatened use of physical force".
No crime need ever be committed in order for the seizure to occur. The only
requirement is that a judge be convinced of the possibility that "imminent
personal injury" exists.
But this does not constitute the "probable cause" stated in the
Fourth Amendment. Furthermore, it is no crime to place oneself in danger, and
"threatened" physical force is not the same as the actual use of
In short, an idle threat - or the inadvertent glimpse of a gun-owner's
firearm - is enough for the state to confiscate property and suspend one's
Despite the fact that proponents of the law predicted the provision would
rarely be resorted to, as of June 2000, police had reportedly seized firearms
from about two dozen Connecticut gun-owners.
Commented Sherman, who is chairman of Gunsafe, a pro-gun organization,
"The law was passed, as usual, based on an appeal in the name of public
safety." But, he added, "This law is a direct threat to the freedoms
that were in the minds of the Framers of the Constitution."
Gone now from Connecticut is the presumption of innocence. Replacing it is
prior restraint - the antithesis of the cornerstone of American jurisprudence.
BUT THE TRUTH SHALL KEEP YOU FREE
In the decade of the 90s:
* Drs. Gary Kleck and Marc Gertz discovered that 2.5 million or more crimes
each year are not completed in the U.S. because of the possession of a firearm
by the intended victim. Dr. Philip Cook, a researcher with a well-established
anti-gun bias, reluctantly and independently confirmed the Kleck/Gertz figure in
the course of his own research.
* Dr. John Lott quantified the hidden factor of deterrence: the number of
crimes that are not even attempted because the perpetrator perceived that the
intended victim might be armed. As Lott pointed out, there were 186 million
Americans living in states without concealed-carry provisions in 1992. According
to his research, had the laws in those states been otherwise, the yearly
"net reduction in total deaths would have been approximately 1,405 to
* Citizens in countries like Great Britain and Jamaica, disarmed with the
false promise of reduced crime, have found themselves awash in violent crime,
* Stampeded down the road toward civilian disarmament by hysteria following
the April 28, 1996 Port Arthur shooting by lone gunman Martin Bryant, Australia
is just beginning to experience a predictable and uncontrollable increase in its
own crime rate.
The question Americans need to ask is this: why are some in our own country
attempting to lead us down the same road to disaster?
British self-defense activist John Pate shed some light on the answer:
"'Crime' is a hot issue, and the politicians are running out of ideas to be
'tough on crime'. When the people are disarmed, they have to look to the
government to protect them...at any cost. A police state looks very cozy to a
lot of people."
Dr. Joanne D. Eisen is engaged in the private practice of Family Dentistry.
She is President, Association of Dentists for Accuracy in Scientific Media (ADASM),
a national organization of dentists concerned with preserving the integrity of
the professional dental literature, against the politicization which has
corrupted America's medical literature.
Dr. Paul Gallant is engaged in the private practice of Family Optometry,
Wesley Hills, NY. He is Chairman, Committee for Law-Abiding Gun-Owners, Rockland
(LAGR), a 2nd Amendment grassroots group, based in Rockland County, NY.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: LAGR P.O. Box 354 Thiells, NY 10984-0354