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article imageOp-Ed: Does Norway need gun control?

By Alexander Baron     Jul 27, 2011 in Politics
The recent horrific events in Norway has led to calls for tighter gun control, but there is another, less knee-jerk opposing view.
While the unspeakable atrocities committed by one man in Scandinavia have resulted in saturation coverage worldwide, a shooting of an entirely different kind has received much less publicity. On Monday in Columbia, South Carolina, a woman hotel clerk shot and killed a man who had held a knife to her throat and was apparently intent on raping her. The as-yet-unidentified woman in her 50s appears to have been literally half the size of her assailant.
Rape is not capital in the United States, nor is robbery, but who would argue this woman’s actions were unjustified, or even an over-reaction?
What is the relevance of this to the crimes of Anders Behring Breivik? While there are many voices clamouring for gun control (or in the case of Norway, more gun control), there are those who see things slightly differently. Behring is living proof that there are three types of people who can always obtain weapons: determined criminals, terrorists, and servants of the state.
Those who argue against gun control need to realise that disarming the citizenry is one of the first steps on the road to imposing a dictatorship; it is more than a little ironic that Libya and Iran, two countries certain powerful lobbies would like us to bomb – and one “we” are bombing right now – both have highly armed citizenries.
There are those who would like to see America disarmed just as there are those who would like to see it turned into a police state; the two groups are not necessarily the same, but the goal of the second group cannot be totally achieved without achieving the goal of the first.
Of course, there is a lot more to factor into the equation, although no doubt it has its dark underside, the sparsely populated Norway (and Scandinavia generally) does not have the same gun culture as the United States, and automatic weapons are bad news, the last thing anyone in his right mind wants to see is people walking the streets routinely carrying submachine guns and worse, but it at least arguable that Anders Behring Breivik would not have been able to murder so many people – the great majority of them young – if his victims had had access to guns. Indeed, the mere possibility that a potential victim may have a firearm on her person can act as a deterrent to those violent criminals – armed or unarmed – whose concern is to prey on soft targets in search of a quick buck.
The flip side to this is that there will be innocent deaths and unfortunate incidents in which lethal force is used unnecessarily by a victim against a perpetrator, but it is the people themselves, not politicians or others, who have both the right and the duty to make this informed choice.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
More about Norway, Anders Behring Breivik, Gun control, Rape, Columbia
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