I’ve been considering the two graphics that can be viewed at this site. For many countries in the world, low gun ownership seems to correlate with higher murder rates. North America, South America, and sub-Saharan Africa all strongly support the notion that the fewer people who own firearms, the more people are murdered.
But I find Great Britain to be particularly interesting, as it seems to be an outlier. Low gun ownership, and yet the people living there also enjoy low homicide rates.
There is, in fact, large swathes of the globe where the same thing can be found. And that is throughout most of Asia. It seems to me that a link can be drawn between Confucius and the trend of the people in some Asian countries to avoid murder.
Although Confucius is generally regarded in the United States to be the source of pithy sayings that find their way into fortune cookies, his teachings were widely and enthusiastically embraced by many cultures. It could be argued that the man was one of the most influential figures in all of human history, with the philosophy he authored shaping the very destiny of mankind.
The main reason for this, the single most significant factor which ensured that Confucius would be so strongly intertwined with the fate of most of humanity, is that his writings are full of admonitions to obey authority. People rise to their social positions due to their inherent quality, those who are above you on the social ladder should be obeyed because they are better than you are, and strict obedience to civil authority is an expression of the highest virtue.
As you can imagine, kings and emperors grabbed at this philosophy with both hands. The man on the throne was there because he was closer to perfection than anyone below his station, and was deserving to rule. Revolution, rebellion, or even disagreement with the edicts handed down from on high was not only morally wrong, but extremely foolish as well. Since the guy in charge was best suited for the job, the next person to fill his shoes would naturally be inferior.
So we can attribute, at least in part, the tendency for most Asian countries to have low homicide rates to a brutal indoctrination program that has lasted for more than two millennium.
This isn’t true of all the places that have low firearm ownership as well as low homicide rates, of course. For one thing, the teachings of Confucius have not been embraced and incorporated into all of the cultures found in Asia. But I think the same Pavlovian conditioning to follow the law can be found in many.
So how does that explain Great Britain? Do the people living in the UK have a greater regard for a strict adherence to the law than those in the US?
These are questions that I cannot answer, as I have never even visited the UK. But I do think that the map very clearly shows that the culture and society found in the United States are very different than that which is prevalent in the United Kingdom. This should be considered by those who insist that Americans should adopt the gun control laws which hold sway across the Pond.