The recent shootings in Newtown, Connecticut, were horrific. 20 very young children and 6 adults were shot dead by a 20 year old boy, in a school. Since 2009, there have been 4 mass shootings in the US. It is pretty clear that there is something terribly wrong to allow this to happen.
Obama gave an incredibly moving speech on the Newtown incident, which you should watch. You can here, or for a shorter version, here are some highlights. It’s not often you see genuine emotion from a politician, but when Obama says that “we’re not doing enough. We have to change.” you can see he believes it, that he is sick that the country he lives in should treat murder as such a routine thing.
This incident highlights a desperately important issue in American politics: Guns. The rights of individuals to be able to carry a tool that can kill people on demand (or as the Onion calls it: Right To Own Handheld Device That Shoots Deadly Metal Pellets At High Speed).
The US is a great country. It really is. So many of the world’s best writers, thinkers, artists and scientists came from the States. Batman is American. So are the Drums. Pretty much every American I have met is a lovely person. Problem is, in so many ways, their politics seems entrenched in the 18th century. I know these cases do not represent the country as a whole, but a 1st World, fully developed, purportedly liberal country that has such a big anti-abortion, pro-execution, homophobic, creationist lobby just makes no sense. But these have much less power than the pro-death-stick brigade.
It is stupid to say that the ready availability of guns does not lead to the higher use of guns. It’s just moronic.
It is true guns will still be available on the black market or whatever even if guns were banned, but that doesn’t mean that it renders a ban useless. I don’t know where I could get a gun here (I live in the UK). I don’t know how to start looking for one. It is thus far harder for me to go on a spontaneous rampage, or to shoot someone I dislike, or to hold up a shop, or to shoot myself. I could well try other means to achieve the same ends, but there are fewer more efficient ways of killing someone than using a machine designed for the purpose.
Guns do not prevent murder, probably because everyone has guns. Here are some stats from CIVITAS showing that the US has one of the highest homicide rate in the developed world (though the assault rate is lower than England and Wales). Here is another, from an Oxford University journal (admittedly from 1998) that shows the US as having the highest rate of gun related deaths (look at page 4). So whether it was someone shooting a mate when out hunting, dropping his gun, forgetting the safety’s on, shooting a guy dead for breaking into your car, leaving it on the side when a kid’s around or going out and deciding to kill someone, guns definitely contribute to death.
As I said, denying it is dumb as fuck.
Of course there are more factors. Of course. There will be lots of reasons for things happening. Thing is, “these things” wouldn’t happen without guns in the first place.
Next thing argued by the death-spewing-phallus advocate groups is the individuals “right” to bear arms. I won’t go into any great dissection of the constitution, as I lack knowledge, experience and interest in it. However, it should be clear: this “right” is not an inherent or inalienable human right, and it shouldn’t be treated as such. If a right infringes upon another’s rights, especially rights as important as their rights to life and security (Article 3 of the Universal Declaration), then frankly it isn’t worth a damn. It’s not worth it. It’s not worth campaigning to protect your “right” to carry a death dispensing penis, for no real purpose. Your “right” to carry an assault rifle will endanger yourself, your friends and your children, as it’s the same for every Tom, Dick and psychopath in the country. And lets face it, the right to bear arms is not what’s stopping Obama waging war on the American populace. Don’t claim it is. Seriously guys.
So, even if a ban on a penis substitute that ejaculates lead is impractical, or politically difficult, regulation is necessary. No one else should die.