The events in Connecticut are so horrific-it is just painful still to think about. 20 children-CHILDREN-and six adults all of whom got up and went to the Sandy Hook school thinking it was just another day.
Now if the world were just, we as a nation would come together and craft a means to stop the possibilities of sick twisted people getting a hold of weapons.
But we won't.
Even now-morons like John Fund are already hard at work writing rationalizations as to why gun control does not work. And Uncle Dumbo is hard at work slandering anyone who believes we should do things differently.
Probably the best analysis I have read comes not from an American publication, but a British one:
Switching to red-blooded conservative talk radio, I found two hosts offering a “move along, nothing to see here” defense of the status quo. One suggested that listeners should not torment themselves trying to understand “craziness”, though it would, the pair agreed, be understandable if some parents were tempted to remove their children from public education and homeschool them.
To that debate, all I can offer is the perspective of someone who has lived and worked in different corners of the world, with different gun laws………
The first time that I was posted to Washington, DC some years ago, the capital and suburbs endured a frightening few days at the hands of a pair of snipers, who took to killing people at random from a shooting position they had established in the boot of a car. I remember meeting a couple of White House correspondents from American papers, and hearing one say: but the strange thing is that Maryland (where most of the killings were taking place) has really strict gun laws. And I remember thinking: from the British perspective, those aren’t strict gun laws. Strict laws involve having no guns.
After a couple of horrible mass shootings in Britain, handguns and automatic weapons have been effectively banned. It is possible to own shotguns, and rifles if you can demonstrate to the police that you have a good reason to own one, such as target shooting at a gun club, or deer stalking, say. The firearms-ownership rules are onerous, involving hours of paperwork. You must provide a referee who has to answer nosy questions about the applicant's mental state, home life (including family or domestic tensions) and their attitude towards guns. In addition to criminal-record checks, the police talk to applicants’ family doctors and ask about any histories of alcohol or drug abuse or personality disorders.
Vitally, it is also very hard to get hold of ammunition. Just before leaving Britain in the summer, I had lunch with a member of parliament whose constituency is plagued with gang violence and drug gangs. She told me of a shooting, and how it had not led to a death, because the gang had had to make its own bullets, which did not work well, and how this was very common, according to her local police commander. Even hardened criminals willing to pay for a handgun in Britain are often getting only an illegally modified starter’s pistol turned into a single-shot weapon.
And, to be crude, having few guns does mean that few people get shot. In 2008-2009, there were 39 fatal injuries from crimes involving firearms in England and Wales, with a population about one sixth the size of America’s. In America, there were 12,000 gun-related homicides in 2008.
The numbers don't lie-and countries with very strict gun laws like Britain and Japan experience far lesser amounts of gun crime. It does exist of course, but not in the volumes that exist here. The easy way out for many Americans is to pretend that guns are not the problem-"its the society".
Well that may be-but easy access to weaponry makes the consequences of madness far, far greater than should have to be endured.
Probably the argument put forth that is the silliest one, is the idea that somehow, the Founding Fathers intended the 2nd Amendment to be some sort of check and balance on the government. They never intended anything of the sort-the only reason the amendment was there was to form a militia. A well regulated militia. I remain firmly convinced that were the Founders drafting the bill of rights today-the 2nd Amendment would not be there. Its a very narcissistic expression of a "courage" that simply does not exist.
I would also say, to stick my neck out a bit further, that I find many of the arguments advanced for private gun ownership in America a bit unconvincing, and tinged with a blend of excessive self-confidence and faulty risk perception.
I am willing to believe that some householders, in some cases, have defended their families from attack because they have been armed. But I also imagine that lots of ordinary adults, if woken in the night by an armed intruder, lack the skill to wake, find their weapon, keep hold of their weapon, use it correctly and avoid shooting the wrong person. And my hunch is that the model found in places like Japan or Britain—no guns in homes at all, or almost none—is on balance safer.
As for the National Rifle Association bumper stickers arguing that only an armed citizenry can prevent tyranny, I wonder if that isn’t a form of narcissism, involving the belief that lone, heroic individuals will have the ability to identify tyranny as it descends, recognize it for what it is, and fight back. There is also the small matter that I don’t think America is remotely close to becoming a tyranny, and to suggest that it is is both irrational and a bit offensive to people who actually do live under tyrannical rule.
Nor is it the case that the British are relaxed about being subjects of a monarch, or are less fussed about freedoms. A conservative law professor was recently quoted in the papers saying he did not want to live in a country where the police were armed and the citizens not. I fear in Britain, at least, native gun-distrust goes even deeper than that: the British don’t even like their police to be armed (though more of them are than in the past).
But the problem remains-American politics are anything but rational. And as Tom Levenson pointed out, "An armed society may be a polite one. But it’s not one that is free. It is not one in which a civic life in any meaningful sense of the term can take place. Guns kill liberty."
And too many Americans can't or won't think rationally on the subject of guns. So we will remain stuck right where we are today and have been for some 50 years in both this and the previous violent centuries.
But here is the thing. The American gun debate takes place in America, not Britain or Japan. And banning all guns is not about to happen (and good luck collecting all 300m guns currently in circulation, should such a law be passed). It would also not be democratic. I personally dislike guns. I think the private ownership of guns is a tragic mistake. But a majority of Americans disagree with me, some of them very strongly. And at a certain point, when very large majorities disagree with you, a bit of deference is in order.
So in short I am not sure that tinkering with gun control will stop horrible massacres like today’s. And I am pretty sure that the sort of gun control that would work—banning all guns—is not going to happen. So I have a feeling that even a more courageous debate than has been heard for some time, with Mr Obama proposing gun-control laws that would have been unthinkable in his first term, will not change very much at all. Hence the gloom.
Thus the editors of the Economist are right. We Americans are simply going through the motions. Since we, collectively, have no intention of fixing the root problem-we, collectively, have no rights to "mourn" the helpless children and their teachers. "It's our fault, and until we evince some remorse for our actions or intention to reform ourselves, the idea that we consider ourselves entitled to "mourn" the victims of our own barbaric policies is frankly disgusting.".