Bullet points

  Richard Lutz looks back balefully on the week.

I picked up my first gun aged eleven. I was in a summer camp for boys and it prepared young American kids on how to safely use a weapon.

In the States, rifles are used alot in rural areas for hunting. In homes, seemingly for protection or for recreational use. It all stems back to the Second Amendment which gives people the right to bear arms. An archaic law is now causing anarchy.

Despite that legality underpinning this whole Gun Issue in America, especially in light of the most recent mass shooting in Florida, it still amazes me that reports show there are more guns and pistols in the US than people.

But it is a characteristic of cultural relativism for the British to universally condemn the gun issue. That eleven year-old learning how to use a .22 on a target is part of the United States. Of course, as an urbanised sub teenager, I was at first overwhelmed by an instructor handing me a rifle. But slowly, over the summer, I understood its potential power and how to safely use the rifle as a sport.

To me, the issue of mass murder by automatic weaponry is not only an atrocious crime, but a case of human rights too. Every person has the right not to be killed. The other side of the coin is that a person or a governing body has a duty not to use the weapon. If that person is not stable (and anyone who massacres students is unstable), then it is the duty of the state to protect its citizens.

Using that logic, the US government must stop the sale of guns, as there is no simple way to vet potential purchasers of these appalling weapons. That is the way Washington  can underpin its duty to its citizens.

Until that happens, the US government is failing its 300 million citizens by failing to pass new laws (and change out of date laws) that will supercede the Second Amendment, which was passed almost two and a half centuries ago when possession of a weapon meant protecting your home from marauding Redcoats or the animals of the wilderness of feeding an isolated family.

But that is not even close to how politicians are handling this murderous crisis. This week, President Trump used his White House meeting with high school kids to float the opinion that teachers should be  armed. Imagine a 22 year-old trainee teacher in charge of six year-olds trying to teach colours and numbers with a Magnum on her side?

This in no way attacks the humans rights issue of the duty to stop killing. It only makes it more inflammatory, it only gives young adults another reason not to become a teacher and in no way works at improving  safety in the States when it comes to mass shooting, whether in Las Vegas or the next school to be attacked.

7 thoughts on “Bullet points

  1. You are right to suggest that this isn’t a simple “UK citizens judging US behaviour” issue. This goes far beyond both those countries. So here’s another way to look at it.
    The problem isn’t really America or the UK or ISIS/Daesh or the guy at Dunblane. The problem is an arms industry model which operates by and large as a normal profit generating shareholder driven organisation functioning as part of a (more or less) free trade market. This ‘industry’ however does benefit from being afforded a more than a fair share of secrecy. How many arms industry CEO’s can you name? When did you last see one chatting in the business pages about this years first quarter numbers? I often wonder why that is.
    I suggest the following simple and elegent solution. Step one would be the open availability of the details of senior management within the industry and the politicians who support their activities/lobby on their behalf. Step two would be the open availability of data on who the shareholders are for arms producing companies. I for one would like to know who those people were in my community who invested in weaponry for personal profit.
    Here’s the easy and final bit….the arms industry, by international treaty, should be ‘nationalised’ across all nations, taken out of the domain of private sector industry and the profit motive removed from the equation completely. Supply chains should be regularised and heavily monitored and sales to individuals bureaucratised.
    Yes, there would be ‘leakage’ but that could be worked on.

  2. Remove every Republican from office and incarcerate Wayne LaPierre. That’s just for starters

  3. OKAY here’s another take. The NRA is one of the largest lobbies in America and thus has demagogic power over the US Congress. This of course is not unique to the NRA, and is cause for the movement to democratize the US election funding process by campaign funding rules. (Keep dreaming boychik.) The US is fast becoming a state ruled by wealthy oligarchs with incredible power over legislation at the state and federal level, vast influence on media (whicj they own) etc.

  4. Yes…. the US, not unlike the UK, has dumped democracy and is now a plutocracy, the power of the NRA being a textbook manifestation of this. Sadly I have shifted my view of the US system and no longer expect it to behave like a country, but rather as a company. You no longer have a President, but rather a chairman of the board of vested commercial interests. It has helped me make sense of things since dropping my expectations of any dialogue around public policy, international affairs or any pretence of political vision or strategy.
    This helps me better understand.

  5. Yep, Gunfight at the OK Classroom is Trump’s and the NRA’s predictable response.
    Only mass direct action can begin to deconstruct the second ammendment which is no longer fit for puropose.
    Start by demanding all auto weapons outside the military be destoyed and render gunshops uninsurable by making them liable for the consequences of selling them.
    Just as we don’t leave children alone with matches, all other countries know it has to be difficult and/or illegal (for young males in particular) to get hold of guns.

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