If America were to do the unthinkable, and grow the fuck up, there are a number of places we’d do well to emulate. Basically, America has become the bad example for everyone else. Everything here is done ass backwards, and that’s supposed to be some point of pride. Why that is, I don’t know.
Japan has one of the lowest rates of gun crime in the world. In 2014 there were just six gun deaths, compared to 33,599 in the US. What is the secret?
Imagine that, 6 whole deaths, and I’d be willing to be that Japanese people think that’s 6 too many. Don’t miss that whopping 33,599 gun deaths here in uStates, and that was in 2014. That number has gotten higher, especially since cops all over have decided shooting someone to death for any infraction is a nifty way to deal with problems, rather than actual policing.
If you want to buy a gun in Japan you need patience and determination. You have to attend an all-day class, take a written exam and pass a shooting-range test with a mark of at least 95%.
There are also mental health and drugs tests. Your criminal record is checked and police look for links to extremist groups. Then they check your relatives too – and even your work colleagues. And as well as having the power to deny gun licences, police also have sweeping powers to search and seize weapons.
That’s not all. Handguns are banned outright. Only shotguns and air rifles are allowed.
The law restricts the number of gun shops. In most of Japan’s 40 or so prefectures there can be no more than three, and you can only buy fresh cartridges by returning the spent cartridges you bought on your last visit.
Police must be notified where the gun and the ammunition are stored – and they must be stored separately under lock and key. Police will also inspect guns once a year. And after three years your licence runs out, at which point you have to attend the course and pass the tests again.
I can only imagine the howling of all the gun fondlers here in uStates attempting to cope with that.
“Ever since guns entered the country, Japan has always had strict gun laws,” says Iain Overton, executive director of Action on Armed Violence and the author of Gun Baby Gun.
“They are the first nation to impose gun laws in the whole world and I think it laid down a bedrock saying that guns really don’t play a part in civilian society.”
People were being rewarded for giving up firearms as far back as 1685, a policy Overton describes as “perhaps the first ever gun buyback initiative”.
1685. There are people who decided to do the sensible thing straight off. And it’s paid off, because they have an actual civilization, where citizens do not need to be afraid of people with guns.
Japanese police officers rarely use guns and put much greater emphasis on martial arts – all are expected to become a black belt in judo. They spend more time practising kendo (fighting with bamboo swords) than learning how to use firearms.
“The response to violence is never violence, it’s always to de-escalate it. Only six shots were fired by Japanese police nationwide [in 2015],” says journalist Anthony Berteaux. “What most Japanese police will do is get huge futons and essentially roll up a person who is being violent or drunk into a little burrito and carry them back to the station to calm them down.”
Yet another society which emphasises de-escalation. What does America do? Militarize the cops, and more or less authorize them to use lethal force any old time.
“People assume that peace is always going to exist and when you have a culture like that you don’t really feel the need to arm yourself or have an object that disrupts that peace.”
How incredibly nice that is, peace. That will never be America until Americans grow the fuck up and stop acting like being armed is the most important thing ever.
Henrietta Moore of the Institute for Global Prosperity at University College London applauds the Japanese for not viewing gun ownership as “a civil liberty”, and rejecting the idea of firearms as “something you use to defend your property against others”.
I’ll join in the applause, and add disdain for the whole “guns = civil liberty and the defense” bullshit. That’s all it is, shit, and extremely juvenile shit, too.