America’s Obsession with Guns
The recent mowing down of little kids and adults at Sandy Hook Elementary school has brought in many things into light about guns in this country. Like many other things, this is getting translated to political stances and the usual stalemate about anything that ought to change in this country. Many people with liberal views are thinking ‘Why this intransigence by the gun lobbies and right wing nuts?’ Many who support right to own guns thinking ‘why these left wing nuts are not thinking of liberties and right to self-defense?’ Let’s examine the psychosis a bit.
First off, the country that preaches all the rights and freedoms to the world has a biggest loophole in its thinking about gun freedom. It has not evolved in its thinking about this and it is paying a price and is going to pay a lot more price for this capricious notion that it is one’s fundamental right to bear arms no matter what those arms are! Do we have the same conditions as we did when the second amendment was promulgated, to just keep applying it to whatever type of arsenal that one can lay their hands on? What was the purpose of second amendment? Was it not at the time when not every place in America was well protected by community police? Was it not before we had effective bureaus of investigations Was it not before, when we have guns who can discharge hundreds of bullets in a minute from a hand-held weapon? Would the forefathers have endorsed this kind of callous interpretation of their innocuous support of one of the human liberties?
First of all, why do we need arms unless we are living in chaotic and uncivil society? Why do we have the law enforcement agencies like police, FBI and CIA? Does it mean we don’t trust them? Or does it mean, we need that extra confidence in spite of them? Or is it because some are pure gun enthusiasts? I suspect for many it might be the later two arguments. Let me try to dissect them a bit.
Let us say, we wanted to have extra protection, in spite of the law enforcement agencies. The need for this has to be examined depending on where and how one is living. There are places in this land which are very desolate and secluded where people live and they may not have immediate protection in the case of attack. Fine. They may be granted access to firearms. But it is the same argument that can be and will be used by criminal minds to get weapons and they can blatantly use them as and when they wish. Let’s say there is blanket ban on having the fire arms, other than for the purpose of hunting (which is even barbaric considering that the animals under hunt are not given a fair chance to defend themselves. Unless in the case of the animals attacking or in the case of sustenance, I don’t see why we should even consider hunting as a ‘humble’ need for guns!), for which we don’t need these really sophisticated guns like glocks, assault rifles and sub-machine guns, then it is equally difficult for the ‘bad’ guys to have these weapons as the ‘good’ guys who might use to defend themselves! The gun lobbies and NRA tout that we have millions of gun owners and yet the incidents are very sporadic that, denying those millions these deadly weapons is a sacrilege!
So even when we have millions of these firearms, we are seeing only handful of these incidences (even if we consider the daily gun murders, statistically the ratio of them to no guns would still be low), so why restrict them? Because, why should not we make that ratio ZERO, by making those weapons virtually impossible to get! Because it is not worth losing innocent elementary school kids, just to have this liberty. If this incident has not caused a rethinking in the mind set of gun lobbyists, nothing else might probably change it. It is not that we don’t have an example of restricting guns succeeded in reducing these mass murders, to say oh it is all hypothetical to say assault weapon ban will help here! Both Australia and Britain had the ban implemented and they have mass murders reduced.
The second argument about having these deadly weapons is, they say pure gun enthusiasm! Let’s say one is fascinated by the awesome destructive power of these weapons, if one is just having them as a collector, then we can have somethings in place to keep them in that spirit. Since this hobby of them collecting guns is fraught with the risk of them ending up with wrong people, the people who want to possess these arms should relinquish some of their liberties. One is, they cannot have ammunition for these guns, unless in the presence of a law enforcement authority, to use them to demo the unit or anything like that. Secondly, they should agree have these guns GPS tagged, so they can be tracked where they are, instantly. In fact, with the present technology, we can have these guns obtain authority by sending a request using the internet or mobile technology. Unless this request is processed, and authorized by suitable authorities (obviously the community police) the guns remain locked. This is a little price that the gun enthusiasts must be willing to pay, or else they do not have the right to make our place dangerous for our kids. Or for others who are “callous” enough not to possess these weapons to become sitting ducks!
Now there are people who would say, forget about all these ‘philosophical’ arguments, whatever the reason, we are now stuck with around 300 million of these guns, so what is the best way to tackle this situation? Sandy Hook happens and here comes the NRA chief, who everyone awaits in the hope something substantive might come up now given that the incident has the blood of little cute ones, but here he says to fortify each and every school, public and crowded place be put on guard by armed men and make the entire country a battle zone! What better solution could we have expected of the very lobby that is spreading these mass slaughter machines? Why would they propose anything that would threaten their own existence? It obviously shows even this incident hasn’t thrown any light on their massively convoluted thinking. But just for the sake of giving an impartial pass of their proposal, let’s see if their argument that arming every school and crowded place will prevent or reduce these incidences.
Let’s say we have armed guards every place needed. The first advantage for this they argue is that this will act as a deterrent. If we see almost all of the incidents happened, for the killer(s) or shooter(s) involved, they very well know that it is a suicidal mission. So what the heck will they care about the places being guarded by armed personnel?! Moreover, the element of surprise is always in the favor of the one who starts the assault. So by the time the guards can compose themselves, the shooter can do adequate damage to make his/her point. Then there is the possibility of the very security personnel going berserk. They can go mad by the same token as any other that can statistically happen and they don’t have to look for weapons now. And then there’s the very possibility of their weapons falling into wrong hands again. Isn’t this another vicious circle we are inventing again to grapple with for years to come?
How much self-defense can an assault rifle offer? You won’t carry it around wherever you go, all the time! Even if you do, how much you can secure them? What is the fascination or enthusiasm of having an assault rifle, when you can’t use it? I see people comparing having assault rifle to a handgun, is like having a Ferrari to having a Toyota. Really? These are guns which are there by a mistake in a civil society vs. the cars helping people move! If we live in places like Somalia or Sudan where there is rampant internecine wars, it may be justified to have these deadly weapons. Here in the oldest democratic country on earth and yet we are helpless to protect little kids from guns. The NRA chief is quick to blame video games and mental health issues, but how about making sure those who got derailed by those will not have access to the deadly weapons so they may get confined to pitch-forks or some such less effective weapons? If America cannot think through a simple solution for this, then it is going to take very long time for this country to overcome it’s difficulties.