William Costello's Rebuttal to

'Letter of Warning to a U.S. Patriot'

William Costello (Center-Right)


Elizabeth Hobson (Libertarianism)


American Exceptionalism 


Elizabeth Hobson is an exceptional writer and I admire the romance with which she writes and consider myself luck to count her amongst my friends. I agree with her that America is indeed an exceptional country. How romantic we view this exceptionalism to be is where we may diverge in our thinking.


On reading my friend’s piece, I feel it romanticizes America as exceptional in a way that doesn’t address the cost of just how exceptional America is comparing to the rest of the world in relation to gun violence. Ms. Hobson refers to Americans taking their exceptionalism too seriously…I fear in this instance, she is not taking their exceptionalism seriously enough.


I refer to some of the statistics pointed to in my own piece.


-    Americans make up 4.4% of the global population yet they own 42% of the word’s guns

-    Americans account for 1/3 of global mass shooters but not 1/3 of the crime

-    America’s Firearm homicide rate is 25x higher

-    Suicide rate is 8x higher

-    When adjusted for population, the only country that has a higher rate of mass shootings than America is Yemen.

-    Yemen has the world’s second highest rate of gun ownership…no prizes for guessing who has the highest.


Precious beacon of light indeed.


London Calling


Ms. Hobson appears to suggest that despite our lack of guns in the UK, we may have a similar problem on our hands regarding the knife crime epidemic in London.


Is it really true that London’s murder rate is now higher than New York’s?

Yes, but only if you look at two particular months.


The Metropolitan Police has confirmed that it recorded 15 murders in February, while in the same month the New York Police Department recorded 11 killings. In March London also had more murders: 22 to New York’s 21.


But as soon as you start to look beyond the relatively narrow confines of those two months, the statistics start to come out in London’s favour.

The year-on-year statistics are still firmly suggestive of the UK capital being the less murderous city.


There were 116 murders in London in 2017, fewer than half New York’s annual total of 290.  


In the calendar year of 2016 there were 334 murders in New York comparing to 102 murders in London.


Ms. Hobson appears to lament the incremental loss of guns here in the UK and appears at times to be almost jealous of the current situation in America…or rather deems it preferable to an alternative future she depicts. 


America, Totalitarianism or Dystopia?


I feel as if Ms. Hobson defends the right to unregulated access to guns as though the only viable alternative is that guns are “taken away” whole sale or an anarchistic, Mad Max style dystopia. Were this the only alternative, I might find myself in her Libertarian company…but it’s not. It can’t be. Where is the confidence in the constitution to prevent such excesses of tyranny from government? Or is it only the second amendment and guns that can prevent this descent into chaos?

I would ask whether she thinks the current status quo is quite tenable? It is easier to defend the current status quo against such dystopia…in which, I’d argue, guns being everywhere might not be the best idea either, much harder to suggest an alternative or even point to an explanation for America’s undisputable malaise of gun violence.  


To act in good faith towards my friend, perhaps our thinking might have realigned to some extent around the discussion of legal gun ownership. Our conversation will go on sans word count 


The Constitution Writer’s Block. 


The constitution was meant to be a living document, designed to reinterpreted. If the constitution can be reinterpreted in such a way as to find room for two men to marry (can’t imagine that’s what the founding fathers had in mind) then why can’t it be reinterpreted to find more sensible gun regulations? I urge Ms. Hobson and policy makers to make their choice between conversation and violence, to use, as she eloquently puts it, “their first line of defence”, in their words, to reinterpret the second amendment in a way that satisfies a right to gain gun ownership alongside a more sensible approach to regulation. The task is not beyond us. 


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