A gun, setting all superfluous definition aside, is a deadly weapon and nothing more. The right to wield a gun is nothing more than the right to wield a deadly weapon, which is to say the right to the power of life and death. The events of last week speak for themselves.
It is not a right every person should be entitled to, and the sane world has long since gone beyond weariness of this fact in the face of one nation whose rational identity is periodically torn to shreds. There is no valid defence of the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.
What an anachronistic relic of the days when a musket for every Minuteman was a sound strategy against British tyranny. Your average gun-toter might spout this line, “The best defence against tyranny is a well-armed populace,” and I shouldn’t have to delve too deeply into that one to point out the lunacy. The self-defence argument is also redundant based on a principle of escalation. A knife is still a lethal weapon but if everyone only carried knives for self-defence it would still be safer than carrying guns. Fists can also be quite lethal and we all usually have them… you get the point. Why insist on being able to kill more things, more quickly?
The deaths of twenty children in Newtown should be the final straw. Every time this has happened should have been the final straw. Newtown wasn’t even the first incident this year.
In February, 17 year old Thomas Lane killed three classmates with a semi-automatic handgun in Ohio. July brought on one the greatest horrors in American criminal history when James Holmes killed 12 and injured several dozen more cinema goers in Aurora, Colorado. In August, 15 year old Robert Gladden opened fire on classmates in Maryland with a shotgun, critically injuring a young man with Down Syndrome. In September, 13 year old Cade Poulus shot himself dead in the hallway of his school in Oklahoma. David Phan of Utah, 14, did the same the following month.
That was 2012 for the American gun lobby. Shall we go further back? Northern Illinois University, Virginia Tech University, Nickel Mines, Weston High School, Essex Elementary, Red Lake Senior High School, Santana, Rocori, University of Arkansas, Lake Worth…. Columbine.
There are far more and Columbine only takes us back as far as 1999. In no half-baked terms, the deaths of these people are on the hands of the defenders of the notion that every American has the right to bear arms. And not just any arms, short of heavy explosive weaponry I’m not sure there is a conventional armament that can’t be obtained legally in the USA. What exactly is wrong with a set of controls which enables only weaponry for hunting and sport? Shotguns and rifles should really be enough firepower for any rural enthusiast and still serve a self-defensive role if you were desperately attached to that argument.
This lobby that has campaigned ruthlessly for its aims has a well-documented entrenchment in American politics. In essence, they bribe politicians not to go after them. Apologies, they make campaign contributions. Potato… potato.
I’m past the point of cultural relativity. Every American who still wants to possess every kind of firearm known to man needs a sturdy smack around the head. It isn’t a question of the 99% of responsible gun owners mitigating the 1% who do terrible things, it is precisely the opposite. In the UK this was determined in heartbeat by Jack Straw in the wake of Dunblane and serious gun control was just about the most excellent thing Labour achieved.
Look at the statistics. There are 3.4 million civilian firearms in the UK of which I’m guessing the vast majority are used for hunting and sport. That’s 6.2 guns for every hundred people. There were 41 homicides by firearm in the last year, 6.6% of all homicides, equalling 0.07 deaths per 100,000 of the population. In the USA there are about 270 million civilian firearms, 88.8 per 100 people. Last year there were 9,146 homicides by firearm, 60% of all homicides, 2.97 per 100,000 of the population.
Any individual who might look at those numbers and not think there is a serious problem that needs rapid correction, is a moron. And yes I as a Brit do have a right to comment on this American affair, the tragic and needless deaths of innocent children reach far and wide.
The gun lobby has been very quiet in the wake of Newtown, it’s the least they could do. But by now, to me the issue is clear. Defend the current system of control in the USA or attempt to fight improved regulation and you forfeit the right to care about the lives of those twenty children and all the teenagers, students and adults who died before them thanks to the most senseless and irresponsible aspect of culture in the modern world.
Best of luck to Obama in the coming months taking this one on.