6 Minute English
Gun control without guns
Episode 170223 / 23 Feb 2017
In this programme, Neil and Dan will be discussing alternative gun control, as well as teaching you 6 new items of vocabulary.
This week's question:
Which country has the oldest gun control laws in the world?
Listen to the programme to find out the answer.
to shoot off
to leave somewhere in a hurry
an expression giving permission for someone to ask a question or speak.
prevent someone from moving
become less intense
to equip or use something or someone like an army
a competition between two groups to gain more weapons than the other group
Note: This is not a word-for-word transcript.
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…
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.
Can we get this done quickly today Neil? Only I've got to shoot off to a party later.
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.
Is that so? I have a question about that for you.
Fire away then.
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?
I'm going to guess b) Iceland, just because I've never been there.
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?
It's got to be a gun.
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.
You're pulling my leg.
Nope! Listen to Japanese journalist Anthony Berteaux describe the situation:
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.
So, they safely restrain the person and wait for the situation to de-escalate, or become less intense.
Unless a criminal has a gun, Japanese police never fire their weapons.
Surely that means that the criminals always have the advantage then?
You'd think so, but no. It seems that guns don't really feature in crimes much in Japan.
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?
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.
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.
So, America tends to militarise its police meaning to equip them and use them as an army…
…and that causes an arms race with the criminals, which is a competition between two groups to have more weapons than the other group.
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?
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?
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.
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.
How interesting. Now, let's take a look at the vocabulary from this programme.
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?
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?
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?
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?
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.
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?
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!
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Episode 150312 / 12 Mar 2015
This year marks the 50th anniversary of Winston Churchill’s death. He is known throughout the world for his role in defeating Nazi Germany but he also made mistakes. Listen to Neil and Mike’s discussion, and learn new vocabulary.
Episode 150305 / 05 Mar 2015
We live in a richer world. But the gap between rich and poor is still very wide in individual countries. How to change this? Listen to Rob and Harry’s discussion, and learn some related vocabulary.
Episode 150226 / 26 Feb 2015
The price of vaccines has escalated and some poor countries are struggling to prevent children from catching certain life-threatening diseases, says Medecins Sans Frontieres. Listen to Rob and Neil’s discussion, and learn some related vocabulary.
Episode 150219 / 19 Feb 2015
Will thinking computers be the end of humans? Listen to Rob and Neil’s chat and learn some related vocabulary.
Episode 150212 / 12 Feb 2015
About 37,000 tourists are expected to visit Antarctica this season. But should they be going to a region with such a sensitive environment? Listen to Rob and Neil’s conversation and learn some new vocabulary.
Episode 150205 / 05 Feb 2015
At a time when more people compete for fewer jobs, are you sure you present your skills and abilities well to a potential employer? Listen to Rob and Neil's conversation and learn some related vocabulary.
Episode 150129 / 29 Jan 2015
Going to a party where you don't know anyone? Listen to Rob and Neil's advice and learn some related vocabulary
Episode 150122 / 22 Jan 2015
We use computers for everything nowadays. Are we forgetting our own abilities - and losing our talent? Listen to Rob and Neil's discussion, and learn some related vocabulary
Episode 150115 / 15 Jan 2015
Smoking in cars with children might be banned in England. Listen to Neil and Rob's chat and learn some related vocabulary
Episode 150108 / 08 Jan 2015
Is bullying just an attempt to give a bad name to what is part of human nature? Listen to Rob and Neil’s chat and learn some related vocabulary.
Episode 150101 / 01 Jan 2015
What would you put in your time capsule? Listen to Rob and Neil’s chat and learn new vocabulary
Episode 141225 / 25 Dec 2014
When enemy soldiers sang together in WW1. Listen to Rob and Finn’s chat and learn some related vocabulary.
Episode 141218 / 18 Dec 2014
The London school where students speak 42 different languages
Episode 141211 / 11 Dec 2014
Laughter isn't always the best medicine, says research
Episode 141204 / 04 Dec 2014
Are your pictures, documents and videos safe online? Listen to Rob and Finn's chat and learn new vocabulary
Episode 141127 / 27 Nov 2014
Nowhere to park? How the sharing economy is changing the way we use our space
Episode 141120 / 20 Nov 2014
How can science fiction help the world? Rob and Finn discuss a project which aims to inspire through stories of a bright future
Episode 141113 / 13 Nov 2014
Why is eating meat bad news?
Episode 141106 / 06 Nov 2014
Do real-life superheroes exist or are they just cartoon characters?
Episode 141030 / 30 Oct 2014
Rob and Finn discuss the World Health Organisation's recommendations on e-cigarettes
Episode 141023 / 23 Oct 2014
Should we eat less sugar? Listen to Rob and Neil and learn new vocabulary
Episode 141016 / 16 Oct 2014
Is learning English getting easier? Find out what's new
Episode 141009 / 09 Oct 2014
Why do we buy so much food and not eat it all? Learn more about food waste
Episode 141002 / 02 Oct 2014
Is it right to sleep at work? Rob and Finn discuss the benefits of sleeping on the job.
Episode 140929 / 29 Sep 2014
Is the way we see famous people a new thing? Learn about the first 'modern celebrity'.
Episode 140821 / 21 Aug 2014
Bored? You're not alone. Rob and Finn discuss how to deal with boredom and teach some related vocabulary. We promise you won't be bored!