“Politicians pass laws for gun-free school zones, they issue press releases bragging about them and in doing so they tell every insane killer in America that schools are the safest place to inflict maximum mayhem with minimum risk.” – Wayne LaPierre, Executive Vice President, National Rifle Association (NRA) of America.
At the news conference where he made the above remarks, the NRA’s Mr. Wayne LaPierre, also declared: “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” In other words, LaPierre was indirectly justifying the recent massacre of 20 elementary school pupils and six other adults at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut because there ought to have been some “good guys with guns” (armed security) at the school.
In the wake of the Sandy Hook incident the NRA has become like a pariah (albeit temporarily) as the government and citizens mull the idea of a body whose sole existence is for arms-bearing individuals. The NRA does not believe that “guns kill”. Its motto is: “guns don’t kill, people do!” But then “every insane killer in America” cannot kill, unless he has access to the dangerous assault rifles that NRA members fancy as toys. The mentally deranged 20-year old that killed the Sandy Hook pupils went to the school fully armed with all sorts of weaponry. The son-of-the-devil had earlier killed his own mother before going to the school and finally killed himself.
The ease with which Americans have access to guns derives from the Constitution’s second amendment which stipulates that all citizens shall have the right to bear arms. And there is a strong anti-gun control lobby team walking the corridors of the Congress to pre-empt the passage of gun control laws.
A recent country-by-country survey showed there are 270,000,000 weapons in civilian hands in America, a ratio of 88.8 guns per 100 persons making it the No. 1 country in the world where individuals bear personal arms. Compare that to India with 46,000,000 guns (or 4.2 guns/100 persons); China has 40,000,000 (4.9/100 persons); Germany has 25,000,000 (30.3/100persons); and France has 19,000,000 (31.2/100 persons). The same survey shows that the number of annual deaths by homicide in America is 9,146 or 60 per cent of the world average, making it the world’s No 1 killing field in peace time.
Unfortunately, Americans are never serious about enacting a legislation to permanently ban assault weapons or limit access to them. Only after incidents like the Sandy Hook killings do you hear hurried debates about gun control. Give it a couple of months, the media saturation coverage peters away, and it is back to business as usual.
As one commentator noted, “Unless you are prepared to confiscate all existing firearms, disarm the citizenry and repeal the Second Amendment, it’s almost impossible to craft a law that will be effective.”
Not that the world should lose sleep over America’s obsession with gun in the name of freedom. Indeed whether America chooses to bury its head in the sand like the Ostrich and pretend that all is well, is totally its affair. But the fact that we are all members of the same human race explains why the death of a defenceless child under the circumstances we saw in Newtown should draw tears from the eyes of any parent with kids.
Yet if the truth must be told, the hard fact is that America’s obsession with freedom to bear guns has become an imperilled proposition. This was the point made several years ago by the late Soviet era famous dissident Alexander Solzhenitsyn, when he first stepped foot on American. The author of The Gulag Archipelago and several other books was once incarcerated in Siberia where he spent several years battling Soviet dictatorship. It was during the cold war years and the West adopted him as a “Prisoner of Conscience”. Ultimately he was banished from the Soviet Union in 1974 and Solzhenitsyn opted to live in America.
However, the 1970 Nobel Prize for Literature laureate soon became totally disgusted with American way of life. Solzhenitsyn concluded then that if freedom meant sexual promiscuity, daylight muggings, shootings and maiming, bloody movies and violent video games, disoriented behaviours and unprecedented crimes which were almost non-existent in the Soviet Union, then he foresaw in America a nation imperilled from excessive freedoms. He later returned to his native Russia where he died in 2008 aged 89.
In conclusion, one would like to state that President Barack Obama’s recent tears as he visited with families of the Sandy Hook massacre would amount to nothing but sheer hypocrisy and crocodile tears if by the end of his second term Obama was unable to push through some form of gun control law as an epitaph to the memorial of Sandy Hook’s 20 minors and 6 adults.