I’m in favor of gun control … especially in the US armed forces.
The question of gun control gets on the front pages each time — too often — a citizen goes beserk and kills lots of innocents. Again, we find ourselves in mourning after another tragic school shooting, this time in Newton, Connecticut, where 20 young children and 6 adults were killed by a deranged 20-year-old male. He started his rampage by killing his mother as she lay in bed that morning.
Why is it that Americans, year after year. tend to go postal, (yes, there’s even a word for it) killing innocents in massacres that are usually inexplicable.
And why is it that in a country, Switzerland, whose government arms its people, gun violence is quite rare?
That difference supports the meme: “Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.”
To get closer to an answer, one has to trace the history of both countries. And it will become quite evident that while both constitutions provide the right to own guns, their approach to using them are quite different. While the Swiss used guns to secure their independence, proclaimed neutrality and steered clear of wars, the US grew from thirteen States, to the most powerful nation on the planet through the barrels of millions of guns, two atomic bombs, drones, blockades, embargoes, sanctions and subversion of legitimate governments.
In the US, it was the use of guns that drove the Indians off their lands; that made the armed West the Wild West; that enabled gangs to wage bloody territorial battles during Prohibition.
In the US, it is the gun that speaks louder than politicians, who speak loudest to take the country to war, who concentrate more on being re-elected and getting out far richer than when they entered.
Now America mourns 26 innocent people. When America mourned victims of 9/11, the Iranians went into the streets with candles to show solidarity with this grief-stricken country. However, at this moment, the US-imposed financial and gold sanctions against Iran is crippling that country, and I wonder who will now dare take candles into the streets of Teheran!
When did Americans mourn for the millions of nameless innocents in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Pakistan, Somalia killed by the US government? For those in Panama’s several mass graves following President George H. W. Bush’s excursion there to extract their leader and former collaborator-turned-enemy President Manuel Noriega. We never mourned for either Nagasaki or Hiroshima, I’m certain; nor for any of the five million Vietnamese.
Once upon a time, the US had a Department of War, until a wise mind, leapfrogging a Department of Peace, thought a Department of Defense would be so much more apt. And so, the country defends itself massively, even though no country has ever dared, or maybe desired to attack it. (Do I hear the sound of readers rushing to your computers to refute that statement? Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, with the knowledge of President Roosevelt, by the way, at 7:55 AM, 7 December 1941; Hawaii became a State on 21 August 1959.)
If this senseless carnage has any chance of stopping, I would think that the U.S. government should not pass up this opportunity to be a better example of pursuing peaceful ways of resolving differences. Turn the clock back and set up a Department of Peace.
Mr. President, yes we can. And you can begin by tearing up your kill list on national television!
Patrick B. Barr, formerly a reporter for Jamaica’s The Daily Gleaner, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org