Friday, February 16, 2007

Worse tragedy averted because shopper was armed: "By now the story of the attack Trolley Square shopping mall in Salt Lake City is widespread. An 18-year-old man, armed to the teeth, walked into the mall and just started randomly killing people. Witnesses spoke of the eery 'calm' look on his face as he took the life of one person after another. What prevented the tragedy from getting worse was that another shopper in the mall was armed as well."

AZ: Robber shot by homeowner: "An alleged robber was taken into custody Wednesday morning after being shot in the arm by the owner of the home police said he'd broken into. Police said the man broke into the house near Third and Virginia avenues just before 4 a.m. and was confronted by the homeowner, who had a gun.The homeowner shot the alleged robber in the arm and then was shot in the hand with his own gun while he and the robber struggled, police said. The homeowner was able to subdue the alleged robber until police arrived and arrested him."

The facts of Britain's [banned] gun culture: "In 2004-2005, 34 per cent of recorded gun crime occurred in London, at a rate of 50 offences per 100,000 people. Between April 2001 and October 2005, 63 per cent of victims of murder and attempted murder involving firearms in London were black. "Gun crime is mainly committed by young men aged 16-25. Offenders and victims are getting younger and a disproportionate number are African Caribbeans," according to the Metropolitan Police. Shotguns can cost as little as 50 to 200 pounds. There is an emergence of "disorganised" as opposed to organised criminals using firearms to settle relatively trivial disputes, especially in "the street level economy". The illegal drug market remains the single most important theme in relation to the use of illegal firearms, but gang membership and the need to emulate successful criminals are also important factors. Gangs or "crews" are formed typically from close friendship groups based around a school or neighbourhood and offer members safety in numbers. In south London, crews in key areas such as Brixton, Peckham and New Cross have territories that include housing estates and shopping centres. Internal rivalries, notions of "dis" (disrespect), and drug raids by the police all destabilise gang structures and can inflame violence. Even quite trivial disputes can result in shootings because the presence of guns aggravates threats and makes pre-emptive attacks more likely: the so-called "shoot or be shot" scenario".

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