Another week passes and we hear of yet another tragic mass shooting, this time in an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut. According to the entry on gun violence in Wikipedia, there were 52,447 deliberate and 23,237 accidental gun non fatal gunshot injuries in the U.S. in 2000. Most deaths are suicides (17,352) of the total 31,224 firearm deaths in 2007, while 12,632 were homicides. 60% of all homicides were perpetrated using a firearm according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.
The reaction of conservatives was instantaneous and predictable. They want liberals to stop politicizing this tragedy. As with every tragic shooting, conservatives want to shut liberals up by claiming that this is not the time to talk about gun control, or the effects of ready access to guns in the United States. The real reason for their reaction is that they don’t want any debate about gun control at all, at any time. The time is never right.
When that avenue of attack does not work, they claim their rights as citizens under the Second Amendment. Conservatives like Glenn Beck claim that it is not about guns, it is about the soul. His claim is that society is broken, it is because of the lack of self-control and personal responsibility. Explain to those children that were lost, to those parents that lost children, the children that saw friends gunned down, that it was because the shooter lacked self-control and personal responsibility.
Others, like Bryan Fischer, an evangelical radio host claimed that it is because God was kicked out of our public schools. His claim, bordering on the insane, is that God won’t protect children because they don’t say school prayers. Using God to justify this kind of tragedy is not just outrageous, one must really question the mental stability of anyone that makes this kind of claim.
David Brooks of the New York Times, a noted conservative, claimed that it is because we need more psychological testing of people. Others, on MSNBC I will note, claimed that we should make more money available for psychological testing. What would they suggest? Testing the entire population? Precisely what are you going to look for, exactly? There is no scientific method that we can envisage that will predict what any particular person will do in the future. People that seem quite sane may react to some event, experience a psychotic break and perpetrate an act of depravity.
David Brooks also claimed that there are tragedies around the world like this, and those societies don’t have access to guns. He is clearly deluded. All of the tragedies happen when people have access to guns. I come from South Africa, a society in which 27,000 murders occurred in a single year in Johannesburg, the largest city. Guns were responsible for the majority of those deaths. The reason? The guns remaining after the guerrilla war against SWAPO and the ANC, and the number of guns available to whites before the end of apartheid.
Most of the mass shootings on Earth today outside of war zones occur in the United States. On a daily basis we hear of shooting deaths in which more than one person dies, often for trivial reasons.
The Supreme Court is centrally responsible for allowing the Second Amendment to be used to justify ever more deadly weapons of mass destruction, including automatic weapons like the AK-47. Magazines for guns that hold fifteen or more rounds of ammunition are routinely sold at gun shows. There are almost no controls over the sale and ownership of these mass killing machines. No background checks are necessary at gun shows whatsoever.
Along with the Supreme Court, the organisation most responsible for the massive increase in assault weapons, larger magazines, sale of bullet proof vests and body armor is the National Rile Association. This organisation must be stopped from expanding gun rights. It is time that there is concerted action to bring this group of anarchists to task for their part in the continual slaughter of innocent people across this country.
The NRA has become one of the most powerful political organisations in the country, forcing an ever-growing number of guns on the people of this country. They finance politicians, and ensure that politicians that do not adhere to their extremist position on guns are forced from office. No conservative n this country can be elected to public office without an extreme view on guns that includes relaxing any and all control of guns.
The NRA demands the right to take guns into bars, movie cinemas, national forests and parks, and onto airplanes.They want to expand access to guns in schools, in the workplace, in coffee shops and restaurants. This manic obsession with the right to own guns places the right of every American to life in jeopardy.
It is time that the families and friends of those that are lost to gun violence take this struggle to the NRA. If enough people take legal action against this group of radicals and gun zealots, the organisation would vanish. When the life of a loved one is taken by gun violence, the NRA should be sued for pressing more and more guns on our society.
Similarly, those politicians that refuse to countenance any talk of gun control should be driven from office, for they are perpetuating the spread of guns thorughout society. It is a travesty that conservatives cannot be elected without paying allegiance to the gun lobby represented by the NRA.
There are other organisations that finance the NRA and laws pertaining to gun ownership. ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council), a noted conservative organisation promotes “stand your ground” laws throughout the United States, giving people the right to shoot any person that they claim threatens their life. The result of laws like this has led to an increase in the number of justifiable homicides in the United States. Companies like Coca Cola are noted financiers of organisations like this. These organizations should be held liable for the deaths of people in which it is claimed “stand your ground” rights.
I have taken to adding an advert for a book on the topic I am writing about. According to the NRA and their compatriots, there is a concerted conspiracy in this country to take people’s guns away from them. To that end, I imagined that there would be many books advocating gun control. I could not find a single one currently in publication.
There are no books that favor gun control. For those in favor of free access to guns, there are dozens of books, all echoing the same, trivial arguments. There is no conspiracy to take away guns in this country, other than that in the minds of conservatives. As a result, I added an advert for a copy of the Federalist Papers by Alexander Hamilton, John Jay and James Madison. Perhaps a reading of this important book by the extremists will introduce a dose of sanity to their increasingly strident and fanatical position.
There is something dramatically wrong with a society in which we are no longer afraid of the criminal with a gun, or the police with guns, we are afraid of our neighbor with an assault weapon, or the guy in a pickup with a handgun. We should not have to live in a society in which you have no choice other than to own a gun because all your neighbors own one. We should not live in a society in which teachers are told to carry guns because they might be attacked by lunatics with guns, in which armed personnel are found on board aircraft.
There is only one sane solution to the insanity of gun ownership, and that it to get rid of the guns and allow us to live in a society where law abiding people do not need to own guns, in which we are protected by law enforcement, not by a vigilante in our neighborhood that shoots an unarmed teenager for wearing a hoodie. I have the right to be safe. I have the right to live in a society that does not force a gun on me if I do not wish to own one. What about my right not to own a gun, and to feel safe?
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