Thursday, 18 June 2015

Gun Culture

Today's shooting in Charleston SC has, as such events often do, brought out all the armchair experts and discussion groups, each giving their own spin on what everyone should consider a national tragedy.

What we know is that a mentally unbalanced young man who habitually posted racist diatribes online somehow got a gun (some sources claim it was given to him for his birthday) and sat in a black church's Bible study session for an hour before slaughtering almost all of the attendees.  As he did so, he reportedly yelled "I have to do it. You rape our women and you're taking over our country."  Nine people died, including the pastor, who also was a state Senator.

The man's family is firmly declining to give interviews.

A visibly shaken and tired President Obama said, point-blank, that violence like this "doesn't happen in other places with this kind of frequency."  Statistically, the United States has the highest number of gun-related deaths per year of any industrialized country.

Yet there are still those who believe that they must protect their Second Amendment rights at all costs.  They purchase military grade semi-automatic rifles, have their own children take firearms lessons, insist that everyone from airplane pilots to schoolteachers should have a gun for "protection", and even go so far as to disobey the established gun control laws; all backed by the powerful lobby group called the National Rifle Association.  There's currently a movement in Washington State whose motto is "We Will Not Comply" - relating to a state law which requires gun owners to submit to background checks.

The authors of the Second Amendment originally intended it for keeping "a well regulated militia" in case of attack, because the country had just fought a revolution at great cost.  Even the Preamble to the Constitution states "...establish Justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense".

There are enough guns in the U.S. for every single man, woman, and child.  That is not for the common defense.  And that is certainly not what the founders of the country would have wanted.

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