Damian: "Regarding the US, that is really a frightening nation. Their murder rate is over 10 times the UKs.."
Damian, little varies more in the US than the crime rate. There are vast swaths of land that are as safe as your Mother's arms; for example, my parents never bother to lock their windows, doors, or cars. But there are neighborhoods in big cities that are so dangerous that walking there alone at night really is an act of suicide.
The United States is a very large country and it's difficult to generalize about anything.
***But it's even worse in Europe, where I saw people that were UNDER 21 drink!***
Now that's hardly surprising is it when you consider the fact the the minimum drinking age across Europe, including the UK, is 18. By the age of 21 a fair number of people are virtual piss artists, speaking from a British perspective here.
Some wags in Parliament here, when discussing the seemingly unstoppable binge drinking culture prevalent among a substantial section of British youth, have suggested that the minimum drinking age in the UK should be raised to 70, as apparebtly when people reach that age their propensity towards alcohol consumption and the desire for it declines quite appreciably.
Can you imagine all our fantastic pubs here in Britain being packed to the gunnels with grey haired geriatrics holding on to their zimmer frames with one hand and their bus passes in the other and wondering how the hell they're going to pick up their pints of shandy?
It's overcast here in verdant Herefordshire this morning.......well, that old rogue of a philanderer King Charles II of England did say that the English summer generally consists of three fine days (which we've just had) and a thunderstorm (which now looks like we're going to have)......who cares anyway.....que sera sera.
London here I come.......it's been a great weekend.
PS: The death penalty??? The last time the UK saw this being carried out was way back in 1962.....whether or not some people in the UK wish to see it being reinstated in law in Britain is irrelevant....the European Union Constitution will for ever be overwhelmingly opposed to it. Here in Europe it is regarded as being nothing less than barbaric, however heinous the crime committed to perhaps warrant it in the eyes of some people over on this side of the water.
Jasper - righty or wrongly the average European has the impression of a very violent, crime ridden America, where it's about as easy to buy a firearm in a store as it is to buy a bar of Cadbury's Fruit and Nut chocolate in a store over here, and where little old ladies sleep with cute little pistols beneath their pillows, and when the TV news shows the latest mass shoot-out in a school or college or shopping mall in the United States we just shrug out shoulders and assume that it's all part of American life. I know that's cruelly exaggerated, but it IS the general perception over here.
Alright, the UK has experienced the multiple death shoot-out by a deranged individual in the streets of the wee town of Hungerford, Berkshire, England, in 1987, and then, inevitable, blowing his own head off afterwards. Then came the occasion when the mentally unstable Thomas Hamilton, with an obsession for guns and shooting wildlife, decided to use human targets instead at a primary school in Dunblane, Scotland, in 1996, killing one female tracher and sixteen young children under the age of ten. One of the kids who escaped injury in that very same classroom was Britain's current tennis champion Andy Murray, who managed to hide under a desk to escape the bullets.
I have actually met Andy at a function in Edinburgh and he is one great guy, much taller in person than I imagined, and I'm so glad he survived that horror in his hometown of Dunblane that morning which, mercifully, is an extremely rare event in the UK or anywhere else in Europe, compared with the United States where it tragically seems to be a regular occurrence.
I will leave you guys to correct the typos in my last posting.
Y'know, I do think the US is a little frightening. A country (or atleast large chunks of it) that BELIEVES it has a RIGHT to have guns. Somehow I don't think the "Founding Fathers" had that in mind - "a free M16 with every Cadillac purchase!". Until one outlaws guns in the US the way they are in the UK (ok, some do 'ave 'em!), the crime rate overall will stay high in those areas of the US.
As for age and political views, let me first say that what Yanks call "Conservatism" is extinct in most of Europe. Guns, religion, etc are very rare in most of Western Europe, so the choice in Europe seems to be between Communism, Fascism (rising recently) and a quasi-pseudo-liberalism. With this in mind, I think there's no connection between age and liberalism. Some of the most...ahem, 'prominent' racists in this country are very well travelled - they just chose to see everything through confrontational us v y'all glasses.
And there's patriotism - there are "loyalist" St. George groups in the US and Canada, but if u come to England, one thing that becomes clear is the total lack of patriotism. Seems like patriotism is now extinct in this country.
<<King Charles II of England did say that the English summer generally consists of three fine days (which we've just had) and a thunderstorm (which now looks like we're going to have)......>>
Weren't you complaining about how hot it was a few weeks ago? I also seem to recall that you purchased two fans to cool your place.
Damian and Duke: So it's about the guns, huh? Hmm.
I see your point.
I can see why we'd be perceived as a violent nation—and we are, in the hearts of the cities. But as I said before, large swaths of land outside the cities are places where violent crime is very rare. The trouble is that no-crime areas get very little press.
We even have some cities where crime is uncommon. Up in Travis's neck of the woods, most of the cities except for Milwaukee have enviable crime rates...
>>We even have some cities where crime is uncommon. Up in Travis's neck of the woods, most of the cities except for Milwaukee have enviable crime rates...<<
That is definitely true. And even within the Milwaukee area, it varies greatly depending on just where you are. In the suburbs there is (often very) little violent crime, and even nicer parts of Milwaukee itself generally have low rates of violent crime, while in good-sized parts of Milwaukee itself you lock your doors if you are driving through them and try to avoid being outdoors at nighttime any more than necessary and hear perennial reports on the evening news of violent crimes (to the point that it is often hard to care if you don't live there).
Well, part of our disbelief stems from this...interpretation of the...2nd Amendment? I mean, do u believe guns should be legal? U can argue all day about safeguards and regulation, but that seems a bit like re-arranging the deckchairs on the Titanic.
Having said that, I often hear of Bratton's efforts in NYC, which brought crime to comparable levels in Europe. For a country where guns r not illegal, that's really something.
The only real argument I've heard for possessing guns is that they are more humane than killing with a knife. But still...
The gun issue couldn't be resolved even if they wanted to resolve it.
Kill and let kill...
***Weren't you complaining about how hot it was a few weeks ago? I also seem to recall that you purchased two fans to cool your place***
Yes, you're right - but not really complaining as such, merely reporting the fact that my present place of temporary residence - a flat just off the Upper Richmond Road in SW15 - has no air conditioning installed and at the end of June it had reached 30C for several days here in London and the South East of England, and big cities tend to be a wee bit uncomfortable in really hot weather. So I bought two electric fans, had them delivered....had them going for a day....and the weather instantly changed to cooler conditions. Sod's law as we call it over here....a bit like that slice of buttered toast....you accidentally drop it on the floor and it lands buttered side down, you know how it always works out that way.
I've got one of them going now though at almost five minutes to one in the morning as it's a very warm and muggy night in London and I always have my bedroom window open in spite of constant all night traffic and bloody aircraft overhead in succession on the descending flight path to Heathrow a few miles away to the west of us here. I've go to be up and about in five hours' time but I don't feel a bit tired. Maybe I can gatecrash a party I think I can hear going on somewhere close by.....
Your Grace...ur lapsng in2 txtspk again! Nt gd in a Lang frm!
<<So I bought two electric fans, had them delivered....had them going for a day....and the weather instantly changed to cooler conditions. Sod's law as we call it over here....>>
Sounds like your fans were very succesful cooling down your place, though, when all was said and done. It's just like watering your lawn -- the surest way to bring on a summer thunderstorm around here. If you don't water, any storms in the area will miss your lawn.
Speaking of thunderstorms, one is just pulling away from here now. Lots of lightening, but fortunately nothing important was zapped, so the power and internet are still on.
BTW, I have two fans running right now, although it's not hot after the storm, just muggy and drippy.
(Great thread, isn't it?)
<<Sod's law as we call it over here....a bit like that slice of buttered toast....you accidentally drop it on the floor and it lands buttered side down, you know how it always works out that way. >>
The weight of the butter increases the odds that the buttered side will be on the bottom, as long as the bread falls far enough so that aerodynamic drag comes into play. :)
Dear Damian - strangely enough, I speak far more...poshly than I write. As for the textspeak, don't worry, I'll never go any lower than replacing "you" with "u", "2" for "to", etc and perhaps "see" with "c". Don't see the point sometimes of spelling out everything in an informal setting. I mean, I despise text-talk, but that doesn't mean we can't steal a few here and there, eh? We royalty must be progressive, you know, or else the plebs start to see us as crusty, and then it's only a matter of time until these Tenerife-going rosé-swilling mouth-breathers get ideas about revolución.
As for "correct English", it's all a matter of time, isn't it? For example, many people consider the pronunciation of "ask" as "axe" by many African-Americans as incorrect. To my surprise, I discovered that "axe" has always been a pronunciation of this word, right back to that olde chap, Chaucer. Y'learn summat everyday, don't ya.
<<Well, part of our disbelief stems from this...interpretation of the...2nd Amendment? I mean, do u believe guns should be legal? U can argue all day about safeguards and regulation, but that seems a bit like re-arranging the deckchairs on the Titanic.>>
The nice thing about the Constitution and its amendments is that the language is very straightforward and clear. They didn't beat around the bush with any legalese. So the only "interpreting" that really has to be done to the second amendment is to try to find a way to determine that it somehow DOESN'T guarantee the right to have weapons. Which it clearly, and in one single succinct line, does. Whether people agree that this should be a right or not, it is one.
And because the first 10 amendments are collectively the Bill of Rights, and it's number 2, it is fairly sacred. It ain't going away. Regulating the circumstances of gun ownership is the only thing you CAN do, unless it is repealed in its entirety (which is highly unlikely to happen).