Monday, December 10, 2001

Saturday night I made eggplant parmesan and we had the priest and her boyfriend the policeman over.

We ended up talking about guns, of course, which is no surprise considering the latest shoot-em up in America.

There are about 10 people killed by guns in Sweden every year, the policeman said, even though Sweden has one of the highest per capita gun ownership percentages in Europe (it's just very heavily controlled).

Ten. Ten.

"Only ten?" I asked.

Yes, only 10, he said. "There are about 120 murders every year. Knifings mostly. Knives are just about as bad as guns."

The husband and I disagreed, of course, noting that it'd be pretty hard to knife 20 people in a post office, say, but it takes only seconds to kill 20 with an AK47. Plus, children aren't likely to accidentally slash their throats or fatally stab themselves in the liver or heart with a knife they happen to find in the top drawer of their daddy's bureau.

"Is it true that the NRA was trying to get it so that you could buy one gun a month if you wanted to?" the priest asked. (It was most interesting that the priest even knows that there is such a thing as the NRA, which gets my vote for being perhaps the most all-out evil organization in the U.S. My ex used to call it "the criminal's lobby.")

She and the policeman were shocked when I told them that they were confused, it was actually anti-gun laws in Virginia that the NRA opposed that were trying to limit people to one semi-automatic weapon a month.

"Ha ha," they laughed weakly.

But, to be fair, every country has its difficulties with crime.

"The thing that's most scary about crime in Sweden is that alcohol is involved in roughly 95 percent of all killings," the policeman said.

The Swedish word for the day is mord. It means murder.

- by Francis S.

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