The Italian Far West -- (unfounded) fear drives the political agenda

Recent data from Censis, a major Italian social research institute, shows that crime is constantly decreasing in Italy, but citizens are increasingly afraid. And this fear provides the foundation for the new government's policies.

Cinzia Sciuto
Cinzia Sciuto MicroMega, Italy
Source: MicroMega
The Italian Far West -- (unfounded) fear drives the political agenda - NewsMavens
Hand holding gun. Pixabay

Why this story matters:

The dominant narrative in Italy speaks of an unstable country invaded by migrants, where citizens should be given greater means to defend themselves.

 It is on the basis of this perspective, which is completely divorced from reality, that the Lega-Cinque Stelle government wants to modify the existing law on self-defense.

As Elisabetta Grande explains in the article I'm referring to (linked below), the model that Minister of the Interior Matteo Salvini wants to introduce is in force in the United States. But, far from making citizens safer, the American model only increases the level of violence and general danger. 

In the US, permissive self-defense laws combined with the widespread use of weapons create a potentially explosive combination, which we are currently considering importing into Italy.

This new law would not only endanger criminals, but also "good" citizens.

There are countless American examples of tragedies brought on by the principle that every defense is legitimate. The number of home deaths due to self-defense is immeasurably higher than in Italy.

The story perfectly demonstrates how those who attempt to influence our perception of reality can end up having an impact on reality itself: Italy, where (at the current moment) most citizens do not have a weapon, is a much safer country than the United States , where the rate of homicides and violence is much higher, but where the average citizen feels safe because they have a gun in their pocket.

Politicians ought to solve citizens' real problems, and certainly not invent non-existent ones to justify their own crazy ideologies.

Details from the story:

  • According to a report by Censis and Federsicurezza, in the last 10 years killings in Italy have gone down by half, and crimes in general recorded a 10.2% decrease between 2016 and 2017.
  • Despite this data, one in three families (31.9%) believe there is a risk of crime in the area where they live. In metropolitan areas, one in two citizens feels unsafe (50.8%).
  • According to the same report, 39% of Italians are in favor of introducing less stringent criteria for possessing firearms for personal defense, a percentage significantly higher than the 26% recorded three years ago.
  • Minister of the Interior Matteo Salvini wants a less rigid law on self-defense.
  • Data from the United States shows that the presence of firearms only increases rather than decreases the risks of being killed or injured.

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