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The Mom and her hairdresser are an unusual pair. I had understood, based on the many conversations I’ve had with The Mom about how I ought to conduct myself whilst having my own hair done over here (as in, let them put the weird oil on your hands, let them give you a head massage – things I don’t enjoy and don’t go to the hairdresser for), but this discussion of how best to arm oneself in the event of some kind of catastrophe is unnerving to say the least.

Perhaps this is due, in some part, to the fact that I’ve been living in the UK for the better part of ten years now. There are fairly few guns over here, not even all the police have a gun. So the idea of a drive-by shooting is seen, by and large, as something that happens in America – it’s one of those weird things like Thanksgiving that I would imagine people over here think of as strange things Americans do that don’t make much sense.

The Mom mentioned the fact that our small town had been the victim of a drive-by shooting and I was flabbergasted. The only drive-bys that happen at home, as far as I was aware, were driving-by Wifi recces, which Crazy D and I used to do before we got The Mom quality Wifi. You know, you’d drive slowly around the neighbourhood while your computer scanned for unsecured networks, then you’d just join whichever one you could and happily download whatever you needed to. That’s the kind of drive- by I’m used to.

Anyhow, the day The Mom mentioned this new turn of events coincided with the UK government, some part of the law enforcement division, happening to capture a gun smuggling ring. This hotbed of criminal activity included a small boat and something like 14 assault rifles. Now, let’s just say that one assault rifle is one too many and be done with that. We all know this. The absurd thing was, to my North American ears, raised on the American news and CNN’s deep love of a good calamity (ratings and all), the number of guns was absurdly low. Back home if there’s a big haul of something it’s more like 14 crates of guns, not 14 actual guns.

The tone of the news reporter’s voice was so wonderfully shocked and appalled that even 14 guns had managed to make their way into the country. And the way they did was so… wonderful isn’t the right word but it was just so obvious that guns are not part of the day-to-day landscape of this country.

The smugglers had apparently got themselves a boat – a normal boat like you might have up at the cottage. Just something that could nip back and forth across the Channel. The guns themselves were in duffle bags. And the reporter who had reported on this seizure even managed to get footage of the takedown. And the inside of the van where we were shown on TV the two bags full of guns.

It’s a difference of size I suppose. Everything back home is bigger. Literally everything: the people, the roads, the whole country, the food, the drinks. And of course the hauls of illegal guns. But here, in the land where what I would call a beer fridge is suitable for a family of four, these 14 or so assault rifles were a major haul, and the police were, rightly, quite proud of themselves for ensuring these guns don’t make it onto the streets.

All I can do is hope that the UK keeps things to this smaller size.

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