Monday, December 17, 2012

Is School Killing an unavoidable by-product of freedom?

New discussion in the USA about the recent massacre in Newton CT where 20 young school children and 8 adults were massacred by a lunatic with a sort of M-16 automatic assault rifle that he took from his mother (after killing her).  A tweet today stated that the number of people killed in the USA by gunfire since 1970 is bigger than their losses in the last 4 major wars.

There is so much info on the net that it seems as if newspapers stockpile murder and gun statistics for release after a massacre, like they prepare obituaries of famous people.

The NRA is silent for the moment, but will speak up again when people, horrified by yet another bloodbath, propose laws to restrict the free availability of weapons. The NRA has political cloud based on weapon carrying voters and based on political contributions by the weapon producers. First amendment? Nonsense: it is a skewed prisoner's dilemma: every gun-toting idiot, sorry, every responsible father believes he can better survive armageddon and defend his family form anihilation by their gun-toting idiot neighbours, sorry, from the responsible, but gun carrying fathers next door, when he has the biggest gun.

Today the NYT published ideas from readers to solve the problem: most of them were aimed at arming the teachers or barricading the schools. The US is becoming more and more attractive as a country of destination. The land of the free, home of the brave.

It is probably impossible to convince the "frontier" people of the US, the descendants of the old colonists, that one can live a good life without an assault or riot gun, even without hunting rifle (you búy your meat? argh). Popular opinion on gun laws has become even more liberal the last ten years. We have to assume that it will be impossible to contain the voters, so any politician proposing anti-gun legislation will loose his seat.

From a more practical point it is probably completely unfeasible to collect 280 million guns that are out in the streets. Pandora's Box was opened and cannot be closed again, even if the majority would want that. Although: by collecting one million weapons each year, and no sales anymore, the problems can be solved in the year 2293.
A third point is the money behind the political campaigns and behind the lobbying in Washington and elsewhere. As long as the NRA & weapon producers can buy their votes, no proposal for legislation will be accepted. It would require a very courageous president in his second and last term to take on such a challenge.

So unfortunately the most likely outcome will be that guns will stay. Maybe Obama will succeed in banning the most atrocious assault rifles, together with missiles and hand granates. But this will not prevent the next lunatic from taking his freedom rights in his own hands and killing the next, albeit maybe smaller, group of innocent bystanders.


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