(17d) Weapons - already more then one year later
It is already just over one year since the shooting in Newton, Connecticut, USA where 20 children and some adults were killed at a school. In the meanwhile there were other killings, amongst them a shooting at a Washington DC navy yard where 12 people died. Even as recently as a few weekends ago when a 4-year old girl killed her 4-year old cousin after she found a loaded gun under her grandfather's bed. And although President Obama called for changes in the law, not much happened although it seems that 43 gun control laws have passed (in some states) compared to 93 laws that expand gun rights. If the death of 20 children can't result in tougher gun control laws, then we may forget any new legislation soon.
USAThe journalist Henry Porter even called in the Observer for an intervention by the international community to stop even more death amongst Americans and foreigners due to the increasing numbers of weapons (although he may not be serious, it shows the desperation of some). He called it a civil war as it seems that over the past 45 years more people may have been killed by gun owners than during US wars. However, for me, although indeed we start to live more and more in one large community, good behaving communities should not always correct communities that misbehave. That doesn't mean other countries or the UN can't express their concerns, certainly when too many weapons in such a large country may cause troubles in other countries (and thus if the USA may one day split in smaller entities than the problem becomes smaller as sane states will not allow uncontrolled gun ownership).
However, I think this is mainly a problem for the American people and not the world (the world can't intervene in every problem although that doesn't mean there can't be consequences for badly behaving countries such as reduction of trade). I think if Americans accept the risk they may be killed because they want relaxed gun laws and carry weapons, so be it as long as no other countries get involved. Although it is a pity that people who understand the stupidity of that policy also die because they are innocent victims, or children.
Foreigners can leave the country if they feel unsafe after trying to convince the American people that stricter gun laws are favourable. Americans can vote during congressional and presidential elections for people who promise to vote for stricter gun control, even against carrying any weapon. The electorate can question their politicians and ask them whether they are in favour or not of relaxed gun laws while making it clear politicians will not get a vote if they are in favour. Then politicians may get the message that people want change and then the law can change from within and not via an external power that will not be accepted unless the problems become too big and people beg for intervention. And other countries can take actions by not selling weapons to the US (although the US makes enough weapons for themselves and other countries).
Because, those who support the right to carry weapons already hate international organisations such as the UN (unless the UN does as they are told) and will resist their intervention, even fight it with weapons if they think that is the only way to defend their right to carry weapons (and as a consequence many people die) although that may help convince people that weapons should be banned from the streets (such as Starbuck asked its customers to stop carrying weapons in their shops; let's hope not a mad weapon admirer may disobey this one day). Indeed, after the past shootings, those in favour of weapons were defending their right to carry weapons like madman, shouting at critical interviewers. And as long as the situation is not too bad and in general police can protect the people, intervention will be seen by most people as an occupation and thus people will resist; however when too many people die, intervention will be wanted. Therefore, intervention is only possible when the people ask for help.
It is many people's free will to continue supporting the right to carry weapons and thus the international community can't do anything as long as it is an internal problem. But even President Obama can't do much as he acknowledged when even Congress opposes stricter laws, some changes as logical as stricter ownership. And this after the death of so many innocent children. Each time he wants stricter rules he angers those who carry weapons, certainly because the President is a black man and thus should not tell the white what they should do. Thus, not only intervention from outside causes resistance and thus it is very difficult to make changes. Recently, President Obama called again for more actions against gun violence while I'm sure the other side will insist even stronger that the only solution is arming more sensible people to stop mad people with guns, while more guns mean that after shootings more people are able to take revenge.
And the leader of the gangs that sell weapons, i.e. Wayne LaPierre from the National Rifle Association (NRA), is still not calling for stricter gun control as he claims the recent killings are not because people have weapons but because the mental health system fails. It seems some of the murderers had mental problems and were not recognised as such and thus could carry weapons (or steal them from homes with weapons). If he is correct that the mental health system is failing (as can be expected because not every unstable person will be recognised and thus receive treatment (many gun owners even blame antipsychotics as the reason why some people are mad while those medications are intended to cure the ill) while because of budget restrictions many mentally-ill people no longer receive treatment), then I reason that when free gun ownership is not allowed, unrecognised mentally-ill people still can't shoot people. Nevertheless, it seems about half the US population are against stricter gun laws while increasing numbers are starting to blame the mental health system and thus probably also the numbers of people following Mr LaPierre's advice of putting more "good guys with guns everywhere". Because when the "bad guys" can carry guns than people have to defend themselves, certainly when desperation during an economical crisis can drive certain people mad and the numbers of shooting may go up (e.g. against employers who fire employees). For me, those who blame mentally-ill people for killing others while they force budget restrictions on the health system, they are the real bad guys. Indeed, mentally-ill people often don't realise what they do while normal people can take actions to treat the ill so they are protected from themselves and we from them; thus reducing help while refusing to accept that fewer weapons are part of the solution is madness.
People should anticipate so they can try to prevent that certain things happen in order to prevent that troubles need to be solved afterwards. When there are too many weapons, then even Mr LaPierre may one day regret he promoted free weapon ownership when he or family or friends get involved in a shooting. That day, he may become even more dangerous indeed, reducing the numbers of weapon owners with the use of weapons. Because then he may consider himself as the good guy who reduces the numbers of bad guys.
|Shop selling weapons, including knives and guns, in one of the main streets of Brussels. I am not sure whether all weapons are useful as some seem to be antique and more for collectors.|