Gun control without guns

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Gun control without guns

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Gun control with no guns? How is that possible? Join Dan and Neil to find out.

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Note: This is not a word-for-word transcript.

Dan Hello and welcome to 6 Minute English- the show that brings you an interesting topic, authentic listening practice and vocabulary to help you improve your language skills. I’m Dan…

Neil And I’m Neil. In this programme we’ll be discussing armed police, as well as teaching you six new items of vocabulary, of course .

Dan Can we get this done quickly today Neil? Only I’ve got to shoot off to a party later.

Neil Shoot off meaning leave quickly. Of course we can. And it’s funny that you should mention shooting because our topic this week is gun control without guns.

Dan Is that so? I have a question about that for you.

Neil Fire away then.

Dan Fire away , an expression giving permission for someone to ask a question or speak. So, which country has the oldest gun control laws in the world? Is it a) USA, b) Iceland or c) Japan?

Neil I’m going to guess b) Iceland, just because I’ve never been there.

Dan Well, we’ll find out if you’re right a bit later on. Now, imagine the scene. You are a police officer who has been called out to deal with an incident. When you arrive on scene you find a dangerous criminal. Do you reach for a gun, or a blanket?

Neil It’s got to be a gun.

Dan Well, in most countries in the world you’d be right, but not in Japan. Despite carrying guns, Japanese police almost never use them. Instead they rely on a combination of martial arts and in many cases where a person is violent, they bring out the futon - which is a kind of blanket - and they wrap them up and restrain them, or prevent them from moving.

Neil You’re pulling my leg.

Dan Nope! Listen to Japanese journalist Anthony Berteaux describe the situation:

INSERT Anthony Berteaux, Japanese Journalist What most Japanese police will do is to get huge futons and essentially roll up the person who is being violent or drunk into a little burrito and carry them back to the station, and calm them down. The response to violence is never violence, it’s always to de-escalate it.

Neil So, they safely restrain the person and wait for the situation to de-escalate , or become less intense.

Dan Unless a criminal has a gun, Japanese police never fire their weapons.

Neil Surely that means that the criminals always have the advantage then?

Dan You’d think so, but no. It seems that guns don’t really feature in crimes much in Japan.

Neil Well, that’s astonishing. So do you think the criminals don’t carry guns because the police don’t carry guns or that the police don’t carry guns because the criminals don’t carry guns?

Dan Wow, that makes my head hurt! Well I don’t know, but listen to what Iain Overton, the Executive Director of Action on Armed Violence says about armed police in society.

INSERT Iain Overton, the Executive Director of Action on Armed Violence
The American model has been ‘ militarise the police’, but the challenge I have is that there is very little evidence that a more militarised police results in a more peaceful society.And I’m very concerned that if you have too many police pulling out guns at the first incidence of crime then you lead to a miniature arms race between police and criminals.

Neil So, America tends to militarise its police meaning to equip them and use them as an army …

Dan …and that causes an arms race with the criminals, which is a competition between two groups to have more weapons than the other group.

Neil He also said that there’s not a strong connection between armed police and a peaceful society. So, does that mean that Japanese society is more peaceful?

Dan Well, violent crime still happens there, but criminals tend to carry other weapons, such as swords and knives, but at least it’s a step in the right direction. Now, can you remember the quiz question I asked?

Neil I think so. You asked me which country has the oldest gun control laws in the world? Is it a) USA, b) Iceland or c) Japan? And I said b) Iceland.

Dan Well, I’m sorry Neil, that’s not right. But, don’t shoot the messenger, OK? It’s Japan, which implemented its gun control laws in 1685.

Neil How interesting. Now, let’s take a look at the vocabulary from this programme.

Dan Sure, we had shoot off. If you shoot off , it means you leave somewhere in a hurry. What type of verb is it Neil? Can you give us an example?

Neil It’s a phrasal verb so it’s used conversationally and usually in an informal context. As for an example, when he heard his wife was sick, he shot off to the hospital. Synonyms could be dash off or run off. Next we had fire away. Now, fire away is an expression giving permission for someone to ask a question or speak. Can you think of any other ways to say the same thing, Dan, if I said, can I ask you a question?

Dan I’d say yes, of course, go ahead, please do, or by all means. Restrain. If you restrain someone, you prevent them from moving. In another sense, you might restrain yourself from doing something - for example: eating chocolate! Have you ever had to restrain your children from anything, Neil?

Neil I have to restrain my children all the time, Dan, otherwise they would fight like mad. I have to pull them apart and restrain them. OK, de-escalate -If something de-escalates , it becomes less intense. This is often used in the context of conflicts or argument. Can you think of a historical example, Dan?

Dan Well, in the 1960s the Cuban missile crises escalated over a period of two weeks and de-escalated only after diplomatic negotiations were successful. But it was pretty close to World War 3 at one point! Militarise. If something is militarised , it is equipped and used like an army. Give me an example of people who have become militarised , Neil.

Neil Yes, when I was a student in the United Kingdom some of the foreign students had to go home to take part in national service - that’s join the army for a couple of years - so they became militarised. Now, an arms race. An arms race is a competition between two groups to gain more weapons than the other group. Got an example of that, Dan?

Dan The most famous example of this is the Cold War. Both the USSR and the USA became involved in an arms race to stockpile as many nuclear weapons as possible. Well, that’s the end of today’s 6 Minute English. Please join us again soon!

Neil And we are on social media too, so make sure to visit us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

Both Bye!

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