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[Fark] Okay Scotland, you're out as a place to move to. - Adventures in Engineering — LiveJournal
The wanderings of a modern ronin.

Ben Cantrick
  Date: 2006-08-15 02:36
  Subject:   [Fark] Okay Scotland, you're out as a place to move to.
Public
  Mood:Connor McLeod surrenders
  Music:Front 242 - Tyranny >For You<

Justice Minister Cathy Jamieson announced laws to ban swords unless sold for legitimate reasons. Shops selling swords will need a licence, as will businesses dealing with non-domestic knives and other bladed weapons such as machetes.

The measures are the latest steps from the Scottish Executive to curb the problem of knife crime.


http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/scotland/glasgow_and_west/4788881.stm

Next, Scotland plans to ban the buying of 2x4s and bricks by anyone who isn't a government licensed carpenter. "That's an offensive weapon, that is!"

There are so many things wrong with this I don't even know where to start...

How many people were actually killed by swords in the last year in Scotland? I bet you it's single digits. Guns are already illegal in Scotland, so most thugs carry... knives. I'm sure there were a lot of stabbings by knife last year in Scotland. But death or injuries by swords?? If it's the weapon that bad guys are actually using that you want to make less available, if it's knives that are the problem... then how about we ban knives? Hm? HM??

I'm not saying I think a ban on knives is the right thing to do. I'm just saying, even if I accept the premise that we should take away a certain tool from everyone just because the bad guys abuse it, this law STILL doesn't make any sense. They are proposing a ban on dump trucks in an attempt to prevent hit and runs performed by people driving passenger cars.

But I guess I shouldn't be surprised. The kind of mentality that says, "We should ban X because *I* think it's scary" is not one that's generally based in rational thought.
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Coinneach Fitzpatrick
  User: scarybaldguy
  Date: 2006-08-15 03:24 (UTC)
  Subject:   (no subject)
S'not just Scotland. Most of Europe has that mindset. Which, I suppose, is why they seem to be easy prey for sociopathic dictators.
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Alex Belits
  User: abelits
  Date: 2006-08-15 10:21 (UTC)
  Subject:   (no subject)
What sociopathic dictators?

And please don't say "the whole Warszaw Pact" -- just because they were labeled "enemies of the West", it does not make every US propaganda formula true. In 20th century Hitler and Stalin are the only two who fit the description (though in a different way), and every ruler of any country from before 20th century (possibly with few exceptions) can be described as a "sociopathic dictator" by modern standards.
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Coinneach Fitzpatrick: Fuck you too Georgie
  User: scarybaldguy
  Date: 2006-08-15 16:04 (UTC)
  Subject:   (no subject)
Keyword:Fuck you too Georgie
All heads of state are sociopaths, because sane people don't want to rule millions.
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Alex Belits
  User: abelits
  Date: 2006-08-15 18:23 (UTC)
  Subject:   (no subject)
If so (what is not too much of a stretch, either -- though I have a bit more lax standard for "sociopathic dictators" when applied to heads of state for precisely that reason) then US with its "un-European" traditions in that area seems to be just as rich on sociopathic heads of state as Europe.
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Ashfae
  User: ashfae
  Date: 2006-08-15 09:47 (UTC)
  Subject:   (no subject)
Yep, I've been reading about that. Idiocy.

And there already is a ban on knives. You'll note it doesn't help much.
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Ben Cantrick
  User: mackys
  Date: 2006-08-15 22:13 (UTC)
  Subject:   (no subject)
It's awfully hard to ban something as useful as a knife, particularly since everyone has five or six in their kitchen for absolutely legitimate reasons. So bans on knives generally tend towards: "Okay, we'll just ban SCARY LOOKING knives." As if lethality was determined by what color the knife's handle is. Now, a truly comprehensive ban on all sharp knives period, enforced with Nazi-esque zeal, probably actually would work. At least for the most part. But you wanna talk about the cure being worse than the problem... man!

Oh well.
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Ashfae
  User: ashfae
  Date: 2006-08-15 09:48 (UTC)
  Subject:   (no subject)
(move here anyway. This place is great. People are sensible, secular, and not prone to fuckwittery)
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Alex Belits
  User: abelits
  Date: 2006-08-15 10:37 (UTC)
  Subject:   (no subject)
It all depends on how the law is implemented -- it's quite possible that everyone who will claim that he is going to use sword for "training", "recreational" or "ceremonial" reasons on a piece of paper in the store, and was not convicted for multiple violent crimes, will be left alone.

And I am sure, in places where laws like this one are proposed, some kinds of knives are regulated in a similar way, too -- most of criminals who use knives don't use a kitchen variety of them.

It's still a bad law because whatever way that it can be realistically implemented, it will not be effective in achieving its goal (reducing violent crime and its consequences) and it creates more trouble for law-abiding people than to criminals, however most likely it won't have much effect beyond creating bureaucratic formalities where previously there wasn't any.
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  User: randomchris
  Date: 2006-08-15 14:23 (UTC)
  Subject:   (no subject)
I think it is just a case of "if you've got a criminal record for assault, we probably won't let you buy or sell swords". They were originally planning on a total ban, but there were many representatives from historical reconstruction groups, LARPers, military enthusiasts etc., and they decided to go with a licensing system instead, which I think will be fairly sensibly implemented.
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Ben Cantrick
  User: mackys
  Date: 2006-08-15 22:18 (UTC)
  Subject:   (no subject)
which I think will be fairly sensibly implemented.

I hope you're right. We've seen in the USA some cases where a weapons licensing program became a weapon ban program just by the government denying people a copy of the application form.

That kind of trickery aside, though, I still think a criminal background check without any kind of licensing would be just as effective.
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Willow: Sango
  User: willow_red
  Date: 2006-08-15 14:32 (UTC)
  Subject:   (no subject)
Keyword:Sango
I'm curious as to what the "legitimate reasons" for purchasing a sword are. Is collecting legitimate? Do you have to prove membership in a historical reenactment group? Or do you walk into the shop and say, "there's this dragon, see..."?

Licensing a shop isn't such a bad idea, IMHO. There needs to be a modicum of control to prevent ex-cons with a history of violent assault and sociopaths from buying big weapons. Make 'em construct their own ;).
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Ben Cantrick
  User: mackys
  Date: 2006-08-15 21:56 (UTC)
  Subject:   (no subject)
I'm curious as to what the "legitimate reasons" for purchasing a sword are. Is collecting legitimate? Do you have to prove membership in a historical reenactment group? Or do you walk into the shop and say, "there's this dragon, see..."?

That's an excellent point. I had this in mind when I wrote the post, but it was one of those "so many things wrong" that I didn't know which to start with.

I own swords because I like to own swords. There's little more to it than that. I would like to take some kendo and iaido lessons, but right now my work schedule and lengthy commute don't permit it. The idea that I can't buy a sword just because I don't have time for lessons seems ludicrous. Am I not allowed to own a hammer because I haven't had time to take carpentry classes? Shit man, I can think of five ways to kill someone with a hammer just off the top of my head...

Licensing a shop isn't such a bad idea, IMHO. There needs to be a modicum of control to prevent ex-cons with a history of violent assault and sociopaths from buying big weapons. Make 'em construct their own ;).

I'm all for making sure we don't sell weaponry to people convicted of violent felonies. Criminal history checks are more than okay by me. Some may argue they're ineffective. "So are the laws against commiting murder" is my only reply to that one. Of course we still have laws against murder, even though they don't stop someone bent on killing people. If I start to hear about a major false-positive rate on the criminal background checks, or if the checks start to take three hours, or something like that, I'll re-evaluate my stance. But at the moment I'm seeing nothing wrong with background checks.

That said, I'm just not sure I see the necessary link between a criminal history check and licensing. Here in CO we have a 30 second (really takes more like 2 minutes) criminal background check when you want to buy a gun, but it doesn't require a license of any kind. I dislike on general principle the idea that you have to get a license to exercise what I view as a right.

The big concept here, I think, is "prior restraint." If something is a right, you can't stop people from doing it just because they *might* abuse the right. You have to wait until they actually do something wrong before punishing them. You can't just assume that they're guilty without any reason. Requiring a license to sell swords seems too much like prior restraint of everyone's right to sell things.
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Ben Cantrick
  User: mackys
  Date: 2006-08-16 00:15 (UTC)
  Subject:   (no subject)
Filmed at a Glasgow car park late at night on April 28, it shows two gangs of hooded men squaring up to each other, brandishing vicious weapons including swords and giant machetes. Blows are exchanged but then a number of men run to a Ford Focus and flee the scene before police arrive.

Cops said they were not aware of any injuries and nobody was ever arrested over the incident.


http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/tm_objectid=17562162&method=full&siteid=66633&headline=sword-fright--name_page.html

Let me get this straight... two gangs face off with swords and machetes... and nobody got hurt?? Scotland, you are blessed with the most incompetent violent psychopaths EVER!

I'm afraid this is also not a very useful story to those pushing for a sword ban. ;D
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