This author usually tries to avoid direct political comment, but on this occasion it is felt that a point of view needs to be voiced.
It is with sadness that this author notes the recent mass shooting in Aurora, Colorado, and my condolensces go out to those families who have been affected by this senseless act of violence.
I dispair what is happening in the US.
In terms of US foreign policy, it seems that the US wants be the world’s police force, readily entering overseas conflicts, to bring “democracy” to that place. This is done by waging warfare until the lesser force is subdued, and done under the guise of bringing peace, democracy and safety to the world.
All the time while this is going on, America continues to fail to address, the ongoing problem of gun crime at home. The time is long overdue to shift their focus to within their own borders. How many more deaths will it take before the US authorities realise the is something intrisically wrong with the principle of the “right to bear arms”? To illustrate this, to date more than 19,000 law enforcement officers have been killed in the United States in the line of duty. Yes, you read right – 19,000!. By contrast, in the UK, about 300 police officers have died in the line of duty in the last 100 years.
There should a focus on the lawless and the crazed who use weapons approved and legalised for private ownership by successive state governments to commit unspeakable acts of carnage. These enemies within use these weapons to slaughter more innocent citizens than those who are threatened or killed by their armed forces who are identified as the “enemies of freedom”.
This author is often left aghast as to understand what valid reason a private citizen would have to own an assault rifle, an Uzi machine pistol, or any other high calibre weapon.
During the period 2008-2009, the last year for which complete data is available, there were 62,940 deaths within the US due to firearms. There are almost 300 million privately-owned firearms — that’s almost enough weapons to arm every man, woman and child — but while there is a gun in four out of every 10 of American homes, only a small percentage of owners have most of the weapons, with the average collection increasing in recent years to around seven guns per owner. In the world’s 23 wealthiest countries, 80 percent of all gun deaths aoccur in America, and 87 percent of all children killed by guns are American. In the last 45 years, gun crime has resulted in the deaths of more than 1,000,000 (one million) people.
Ask any US citizen about gun ownership, and they will remind you that the right to bear arms is enshrined in the 2nd amendment to their constitution. One needs to remember that this document was enacted in 1787, when the United States was emerging from the War of Independance with the British. The United States was very much a different place then than it is today, often lawless and fontier like. There was no army at the time, therefore “a well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” It could therefore be argued that now a large, well trained and technically superior army is in place in the US, the 2nd Amendment is no longer valid. Gun control in the US is often a piecemeal affair which often means minimal or no control.
I live in a country with strict gun control. I can walk down the street without being assaulted or mugged by some “crazy” with a hand gun. With strict gun control, there is no (little) gun crime. Without guns your streets are safe, without guns you do not fear your neighbour.
It never ceases to amaze me how Americans think that the solution to their fear and paranoia is the ownership of guns, when the real solution is the removal of those guns (and thus the associated crime) from their society. Look to Canada, a similar culture to America – no handguns, little gun crime, the UK; no guns, no gun crime, Australia; no guns, no gun crime, New Zealand; no guns, no gun crime. Need I go on? There is a message there!
Perhaps when it comes to lawlessness in the US, nothing has changed since 1787!