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What price the right?

June 19, 2015

I rarely write about politics, I feel unqualified to pass comment on the important issues, on news and current affairs. However, on this occasion I feel moved to write something vaguely sensible.

Tragedy has struck once again. Not the mysterious Islamic “other,” the stranger to Western ideals shrouded in body and thought, but a white American. A man who killed nine innocent people. This was no gang land killing, no drug-induced killing spree, no punishment killing or execution. This was born from the flames of hatred,

Race and racism must of course be danced with in order to attempt some understanding of this crime. The fact that the murders occurred in a church populated predominately by African Americans, a church with a long and proud history points a finger unwaveringly towards narrow-minded, bigoted poison. We can consider the question of race, we can argue that America’s biggest secret is racism, that despite such giant strides over the past fifty years there are still swathes of America that indulge in the cancerous pastime of ignorance and racism. However, the bigger picture has to be drawn on the canvas of gun law.

The right to bare arms is a not repeated phrase, Americans are fiercely proud of this “right” and some quarters are adamant that this is a fundamental right that should never be taken away. Before we go into this, let us firstly look at the amendment. It was drawn-up during a time of turbulence, during a time when the militia were the defence – a poorly armed, poorly equip force of men who fought to protect their countrymen’s liberties from foreign forces. So, Americans were granted the right to carry firearms in order to defend themselves. They were in effect given permission to become the army. But times change, America no longer faces the same threats, the US has its own army to defend its borders and interests at home and abroad. So why does America spend billions of dollars and hundreds of lives defending itself but pays little heed to the slaughter on its own shores?

Let’s cut to the chase, prod the elephant sitting in the corner of the room –guns kill, simple as that, they are made to end people’s lives. Personally guns do not thrill me but I respect the rights of those who wish to own them. However, owning a handgun is very different to owning an assault rifle. The array of weapons available over the counter is terrifying; why does anyone need to own a machine that can kill a dozen people in a heartbeat? Surely it would be more sensible to hire such weapons and use them only in a controlled environment and not have them in the home. Americans are terrified of legislation, but it strikes me as sick when you have to produce more paperwork and insurance to own a car than you do a gun.

Time has moved on, America no longer has a militia. The argument that guns don’t kill, people kill is at best simplistic nonsense. Background checks are minimal, guns can be bought too easily. Surely in order to save live sit is worth making gun owners’ lives a little more challenging? Why not do this:

Clamp down on the calibre of weapon one can own
Only allow specific guns for hunting
Allow only lower calibre weapons for home defence.
Only allow semi-automatic and automatic weapons to be used on a firing range under supervision – hired only.

If you like guns, buy replicas. Your right to bare arms should surely be superseded by your right NOT to be murdered in hot blood whilst at worship, at school, doing the shopping or watching a film in the cinema.


From → Society, Sociology

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