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Monday, July 21, 2008

Never bring a knife to a glass shard fight

I was listening to C-SPAN Radio last night, and Prime Minister's Questions were on. I think this might be my favo(u)rite thing on C-SPAN, with the lively questioning and plenty of cheering and jeering by the MPs. I think we would do well to adopt a similar tradition, and I see in that Wikipedia entry that John McCain has in fact pledged to initiate it if elected.

But anyway, the reason I mention this is the striking contrast that could be heard in the debate on violence and weapons in Britain compared to America. The U.S. Supreme Court recently overturned [pdf] our ban on handguns here in DC because it was found to violate the Constitution. In Britain, where there is almost no pro-gun lobby, there is a near-total ban on handguns across the entire country. From Prime Minister's Questions, I gather that there is currently an uproar about an increase in knife crime. Which led to this question from a Conservative MP:
The current focus on knife crime makes it easy to forget that there are more than 5,000 violent assaults each year involving the use of broken glass. One positive step would be to support the campaign led by my constituent Marjorie Golding, and encourage late-night clubs and bars to replace glass with polycarbonates. Will the Prime Minister be decisive, show some leadership and support the campaign, or does he need more time to ponder?

We decide that cities can't ban handguns within their jurisdictions, the British move down the list of potential menaces to broken glass. Yeah, I would say we're not on the same page with this issue.

(As a side note, the website for Parliamentary affairs is awesome. Check out those cross-links between statements in the record to video clips, and links to information on the MP's voting record, including their expenses! And you can sign up to get email alerts when they speak! For the U.S., I refer you to the home page for the Congressional Record. AAAAAAHHHHHH!)


gastropodblue said...

Haha, what a classically British response. It's the use of glass in bars that's the problem, not the alcohol fueling the drunken rage!

I can't wait for the day when Parliament has the pointed sticks debate! ;)

teague said...

And, aren't most of the dangerous glass shards from broken bottles and pint glasses anyway?