Posts Tagged ‘gun control’

For many of us, the Near Year is a time of celebration or at least a hangover from all the celebrations. But not for all.

A family in the US is in mourning. An as-yet unnamed woman was accidentally shot. By her two-year-old. In a supermarket. And this was an accident…but one waiting to happen. (more…)

Some of my North American friends find it hard to believe that here in Australia we have damned tight gun controls. While we were never quite the gun culture of the US, you used to be able to get pretty much anything. Bit by bit this was nibbled away at by various governments. However in April 1996, things were taken to a new level. One Martin Bryant went to the historic remains of the Port Arthur penal colony, a popular tourist destination in the island state of Tasmania. There he pulled out a range of weapons including quasi-military grade ones, opening fire at random on the tourists. His shooting spree resulted in 35 dead and 23 wounded. Bryant was later put in prison for 35 life sentences with no possibility of parole. (more…)

An even more outdated Amendment

Posted: December 15, 2012 in Ranting

I woke up this morning to the appalling news of the senseless mass slaughter of school children in the US. I heard some brief interviews with surviving kids and cannot imagine how traumatised those surviving kids and teachers are going to be. My heart goes out to all those who have lost their loved ones in this obscenely senseless way.

In a sense of irony, it was just on two years ago that I was blogging on much the same subject – the ‘right’ to bear arms in the USA. In the days to come we shall be hearing more about that ‘right’ along with the ridiculous ‘guns don’t kill people, people kill people’ bullshit.I take particular offense at that quote. A far more realistic version would be ‘guns don’t kill people, people with access to guns kill people.’

I have taken a lot of the following from my earlier post on this subject and a letter published in the media.

The Washington Post has just published some pertinent facts about firearms and mass shootings that bear reading.

The foundation for this continuing high presence of firearms in domestic hands in the USA still resides in the infamous Second Amendment in the USA. Yet how many of the US defenders of that ‘right’ are aware of the actual wording of that Amendment? The key passage is:

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

Clearly the Amendment was to support the existence of a citizen militia in those formative years after the War of Independence. Further, the 1792 Militia Act required all ‘free, able-bodies, white, male citizens’ between ages 18 and 45 to be enrolled in their local militia.

This US militia is long gone. The US has a massive regular defense force, supplemented by its National Guard. There is no need for the citizens militia any longer and the concept of mandatory service outside of wartime is long gone from the US statute books. So why retain this massively outdated amendment?

The Washington Post article quotes someone who comments on the the fact that despite similar firearm ownership rights in Israel and Sweden, those countries have much lower rates of firearm-related homicide. However there is a pertinent additional fact not covered in that brief analysis. I do not know about Sweden but Israel still has mandatory military service for all eligible citizens. And military service helps deliver greater respect for firearms and what they can do. As I noted above, that military service aspect is no longer present in the US situation.

Exactly how does having enough guns present to make it easy for gang bangers to go armed for drive-by shootings, support a free state? Or enough guns to make it easy for depressed teenagers to go on shooting rampages at their school? Or an eight year-old being able to play with an Uzi sub-machine gun at a gun show and blow his head apart? Or a deranged man having access to the firepower to kill and injure people at a political rally? Or for as-yet unknown reasons for someone to treat a school as a form of crazed abattoir?

Surely it is time for the US to show some real leadership for a change and finally do something about gun control? Isn’t it time to get over this Wild West mentality?

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