Natalie Solent

Politics, news, libertarianism, Science Fiction, religion, sewing. You got a problem, bud? I like sewing.

E-mail: nataliesolent-at-aol-dot-com (I assume it's OK to quote senders by name.)

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Monday, December 06, 2004
 
Yet more quick thoughts on self-defence. Don't get excited that the commissioner of the metropolitan police and the Conservative party have called for reform of the law. People call for this, that and the other all day long. So do the blackbirds.

Oh, I'm a cheery little thing.

On the same subject, John B. of Shot By Both Sides writes back:

Thanks very much for replying to my mail.

Oddly enough, I agree quite significantly with much of your new post - especially the orders 1-6 for causes of crime (although perhaps I'd subsititute 'due to welfare' with 'due to governments' belief that creating welfare ghettos is a viable substitute when one destroys single-industry communities'. All this society breakdown was worse under Mrs T than any other PM, after all).

As you may have expected, however, I'm going to nitpick.

The bracketed link cited counts 'all unlawful killings' as murders, which doesn't make much sense. It's nonetheless very interesting - I had, as the writer suggests, fallen for the Agatha Christie-esque assumption that all murderers were topped in those days.

Brett Osborn went to jail partly because the CPS were idiots, partly because his lawyer was an idiot, and partly because he was misguided: he would have stood a 9/10 chance of beating a murder conviction, but pleaded guilty to manslaughter anyway. It was a travesty that he was prosecuted, but he would not have been convicted had he defended himself.

I'm glad you see no reason to doubt my horror at the murder (my dad lived on Oakley Street [i.e. round the corner from where the murder occurred - NS] for some years; I suspect my 'this is far too close to home' reaction wasn't far from yours or Perry's), but I think you miss my point on Perry's conculsions: the belief that the state won't protect you from murder isn't plausibly justified by data (as I said on Samizdata, as many Brits die from burglar-murder as Americans die from hitting deer in their cars), and Perry appeared to be using this anecdote as a substitute for statistical evidence.

Well, yeah, in the end statistics, properly used, do trump anecdote. I am the first to argue that an incorrect opinion does not become correct because it is deeply felt, or because the holder of the opinion has suffered, or because the holder is a good person. But even if I were to concede (I don't) that we have the State to thank for the day-to-day survival of Britons from general mayhem, it is undeniable that the British State has protected its citizens from murder less well since the right to self-defence has been eclipsed.