The Spectator

Letters | 12 October 2017

Also: capitalism, Hong Kong; Sir Richard Greenbury; ‘tube’; Chinese writing

Let’s talk about guns

Sir: I was surprised that the cover stories on the recent shootings in Las Vegas (‘Say nothing’, 7 October) did not address the issue of gun control. The point surely is that if weapons are readily available, and not universally disapproved of, sooner or later someone will use them. There doesn’t have to be a specific motive, religious or otherwise, and often there is no point in looking for one. There is no question that for some people, using guns and explosives gives a thrill which they probably do not find elsewhere — and the more powerful and rapid-firing the weapon, the greater the thrill. This is why guns are locked up in armouries in military barracks, to prevent them getting into the hands even of people who have been carefully selected and trained to use them. The evidence from Australia — where a gun atrocity in 1996 led to a rapid tightening of the gun laws — is convincing: there have been no such incidents since and there was a drop of 72 per cent in single gun killings. In the UK, a similar outcome followed the Hungerford, Dunblane and Cumbria incidents.
William Beckett

Woolley, Wantage

Capitalism’s alternatives

Sir: If John McInnes really thinks that people can only get richer by making the poor poorer, he falls for the fallacy that economics is a zero sum game (Letters, 7 October). Market economies, where quality and productivity is driven up by competition, have over time proved to be the most effective way of increasing living standards for all sections of society. By incentivising economic progress, more resources becomes available for all groups.

Anyone who lived through the 1970s will remember the strikes and the poor quality of goods and services from the nationalised sector.

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