I’ve written a few articles about England, primarily because it is a western country that banned guns and banned self defense. The result is that gun related crime and knife related crime skyrocketed, as criminals continued to possess weapons and use them against now-defenseless victims. I was under the impression that this increase in crime was caused by a variety of societal factors, combined with the disarming of future crime victims, however it turns out that the true culprit is the iPhone:
Software available free from Apple’s online store allows the devices to emit a loud gunshot sound when the owner points it and shakes it. . . Several different guns are available, from revolvers to shotguns, including a “gangsta edition” where the serial numbers have been filed off. Today groups combating crime and video violence called for it to be withdrawn immediately. They accused Apple of glamorising gun crime.
Claudia Webbe, who chairs an independent advisory group at Operation Trident, which tackles gun crime in London, said: “This is just another sign of businesses putting profits before responsibility. This is hugely irresponsible in a climate when we are trying to get guns off the streets. I am stunned this game should ever have been allowed to have been made. We have spent years trying to get imitation guns out of shops and this sort of product undermines that effort.”
Lets be clear on what this iPhone application does and does not do. The app displays a (somewhat crudely drawn) sketch of a gun on the screen, and makes sound when the user shakes the iPhone to “fire” the gun. It does not display any real or animated violence. It does not encourage the pretend shooting of people. In fact, I would say that the old Nintendo game Duckhunt was more violent and realistic than this iPhone app.
More important is the faulty premise underlying the anti gun groups’ outrage over this iPhone app. Blaming crime on toy guns and now animations of guns on cell phones for violence would be almost laughable, if the anti gun groups weren’t actually serious. For the record, studies in the UK show that banning toy guns can lead to more aggression in children, while relaxing such bans can be beneficial. Similarly, studies in the USA show that children who are taught to use real guns under responsible adult supervision are less likely to use a gun to commit a crime than children who are not taught about guns. This seems to be due to the fact that vilifying guns only makes them into forbidden fruit, which children will naturally then want. Also, children who don’t know about guns and gun safety may end up finding a negligently stored gun at a friend’s house, with tragic results. Trying to banish all mention of guns from society is unwise and ineffective.
My thanks to Anders for pointing out this iPhone gun app news story.