Friday, January 25, 2008

Self-preservational cynicism

I read with interest the latest UK crime figures, and noticed that gun crime was up by four percent, while overall crime fell by nine percent.

I am aware of the existence of the British Crime Survey of public opinion, which acts as a counterweight to the statistical approach, but all things considered I find myself still sceptical.

It's interesting to me that the crime figures would go down when the "enforcement" mechanism of serious crime and organised crime, guns, should be on the rise.

I also wonder, because in the UK I had some experience with crime (on many occasions). There was especially one occasion when, living in York, my car was broken into- nothing was stolen, but many hundred of pounds of damage was caused. All I received was a written invitation to visit the local station and report the details along with parts of the car that had been the focus of the attack and were possibly forensically interesting. No police officer came out, and as I couldn't use my car I would have been forced to walk three miles to the station- if I could have been bothered- with a plastic bag full of bits I had no knowledge of how to treat to enable their effective use in the investigation (ha!). Being young I was supposed to be able to take, you know, whatever. I don't think the crime was ever recorded. Or maybe it was- I don't remember, know or care. It was just a very bad dream to be carless in that location for about six weeks as complex repairs took place.

Well, that wasn't my only experience, but it had a deadening effect on my perceptions. You see, crime tends to intimidate- one is so preoccupied with the most serious that others almost go unnoticed. Crime committed to property, for instance, or crime you witness. You're only bothered about the minor disaster that effects you. I don't think the authorities ever face up to that kind of reality- it's frankly far too much work. And so it goes, always worse, unheralded except in spasms of taboid righteousness.

And this brings me to the point about gun crime. It's so serious it has to be noticed; it's so intimidating it's all absorbing, but the thing is that it swallows up in its maw such a miserable array of crime- that's the point; guns shield crime. It's what they're for- at least when guns themselves are criminal.

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