God bless America. Whenever I feel weighed down by the cloying forces of political correctness, I cast my mind over to the Land of the Free and remember that there is another way. I know of no better antidote to Eurocrat left-wingery than the good ol? US of A. It?s not that I necessarily approve of American attitudes towards gun control; it?s just that I am glad to know that there is a place where they do things differently.
Over here, if you shoot a burglar, you can expect to be arrested and interrogated. Fortunately, a recent case shows that common sense is just beginning to prevail, at long last. But across the pond, they never lost sight of the difference between good and evil ? over there, if you bag a burglar, the local sheriff shakes you by the hand and thanks you.
In the rural US, people are expected to be resilient and resourceful, no matter what their age. In 2009, an 11-year-old boy, at home with two younger sisters in an isolated house in Idaho, found a bear on the porch. The bruin persisted in trying to get in, so the boy fetched a rifle. One shot, one bear. Problem solved. On being notified, a warden from Idaho Game and Wildlife (a state body vaguely like our Natural England) promptly issued the lad with a retrospective permit so that he could keep the animal?s hide.
Time off for turkey
Can you imagine what animal rights groups over here would make of this sequence of events? Just thinking about their reaction warms the cockles of my heart.
Traditionally, some schools in the southern US states have been known to allow youngsters time off to go hunting when the turkey season starts. The difference nowadays is that this applies equally to both sexes ? plenty of American girls go hunting these days.
Recently, a jewellery shop in the southern state of Georgia advertised a special deal: buy $2,499-worth of jewellery and you get a free hunting rifle. The proprietor explained: ?A lot of our customers are hunters and it just seemed like a good thing to do.? Most of the online comments below the news story were purely practical ? ?What make and calibre of rifle would it be?? seemed to be the main focus of concern.
Americans would be bemused by the synthetic row over here about consigning shooting magazines to the top shelf in case they influence young people. The sheer idiocy of this faux proposal is beyond sensible consideration in a country where politicians are happy to be photographed on family duck hunts. Indeed, in the US, you display your credentials as an ordinary American by linking yourself to hunting in the way that UK politicos pretend they like football. Deerhunting, in particular, is a classless activity with a big blue-collar following. Vice-presidential hopeful Paul Ryan, the running mate of Republican candidate Mitt Romney, was promoted as ?a great American? on the grounds that he is an avid bow hunter. His predecessor, of course, was the caribou-felling former governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin.
Contrast that with the situation over here, where RSPB lobbyists and the left-wing press revel in snide remarks that, in the past, David Cameron was not averse to a bit of gameshooting and deerstalking. Connections that would boost his credentials in the US are the cause of much sniggering in Islington.
In some ways, gun laws are actually being relaxed in the US. Almost all states have now enacted ?right to carry? legislation, allowing ordinary citizens to obtain permits to carry guns in public places. I am not advocating that sort of thing over here; I merely note that it has gained ground in the US partly because it allows women an effective means of self-defence, and thus has the support of the feminist lobby. Only in America, eh?
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