Saturday, 3 October 2015

Gun Control - The Great American Divide


1 October 2015. Christopher Harper-Mercer shot and killed eight students and one teacher at Umpqua Community College. He then engaged the police in a gun battle, which resulted in Harper-Mercer being killed. This was the 19th school shooting in the US in 2015. Nineteen... 

I find it interesting that the argument for having guns is rooted in the Founding Father principles of the United States. For those who don't know, it is in the Constitution of the USA. Not the original. The fact that the principle is called "The Second Amendment" should have given it away. It came in two years after the Constitution did. That, to me, counts as an afterthought, not a core principle. The Bill of Rights seems to be esteemed above and beyond anything else in the Constitution and, as a consequence, they are the most fiercely debated points. However, Amendment number two rears its head on a regular basis these days and it does so with its hands soaked in the blood of young people.

The Second Amendment reads: 

"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." 

For such an important legal statement, it is clumsily written. For argument's sake, let's agree that this allows every American to the divine right to own a gun. I know I could dispute that but stick with me. Every American can own a gun.

Let's look at the First Amendment, which I think we can all agree on: 

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

The indisputable right to freedom of speech is clearly stated in this principle. It is less clumsily worded, granted, but there is no doubt of the guaranteed privilege that is being extended. Does that freedom come without limitations? No. Speech that stirs up the people against the Government is a crime, namely sedition. Words that incite violence against people based on their race is illegal. The revelation of Government secrets is not freedom of speech, it is treason. Even putting crass language and adult based themes on the television at certain times breaks reasonable censorship regulations.

Most people accept that freedom of speech needs a level of control. If the controls in place were not adequately protecting the nation and its citizens, they would be increased. So why is America so divided on the issue of gun control, when their children are getting gunned down on a regular basis?

You only need to find a post on gun control on Facebook to see that the chasm between the standpoints is rooted in culture and, well, stupidity. There is no other way to put it. To illustrate my point, I take comments from this meme that was posted on Facebook.

Try to forget the horrendous apples and oranges argument presented in the meme. I'm not entertaining how utterly idiotic the comparison is, even though the creator in question thinks it has merit. Maybe he thinks meth should be legal, which demonstrates just how moronic they are.

So let's go through some of the comments it garnered:
Don't like guns...fine dont buy guns...but don't call the cops either ...they have guns
The police are heavily regulated when it comes to their weapons. If anything, they are the very embodiment of gun control!

i mean theres gun control in england and people still get killed by guns
This is true. In 2010, there was one gun homicide in the UK per every 2,000,000 people. In 2013, in the US, there was one gun related murder per every 28,000 people. Or in other terms, if the UK had as many citizens as the US, roughly 175 Brits would be shot to death, while 12,500 Americans would face the same fate. If you think improved gun control is not worth 12,325 lives, so be it.

Look at how banning guns in Australia worked. They have more crime and the thugs still have guns. The only thing is now the general public can't protect themselves with the same kind of force. Banning guns is not the answer.
Really?! In 2011, one Australian died by a gun per every 116,000 people. Of that, 72% were suicides. These are still tragic and unnecessary deaths but they don't involve the savage shooting of college students. It is also about the same rate of gun suicide as in the US.  Compare the homicide rates and the picture changes. Simply, for every Australian murdered with a gun, 32 Americans are killed with a bullet. That's one Sandy Hook and half a Columbine.

The statistics bear it out. I'm not even advocating the removal of all guns, just that increased gun control is required. Sure, some people will still be able to procure a gun by illegal means. That is not a sound argument against gun control. If you say "If they want a gun, they'll get one, so there is no point in gun control" then why isn't plastic explosives readily available in Walmart? It's the same argument. If someone wants to blow a place up, they'll get it, right? But because it's tougher to get, it happens less.

Some Americans foolishly assume that gun control is part of some covert conspiracy to turn the USA into a communist country. Those people need to join us in the 21st century. Some say that knife crime will soar if guns are controlled further. Knives have a practical use, like preparing vegetables. You can't peel a potato with a Magnum, so that argument is back to the apples and oranges farce. None of the pro-gun arguments that oppose at least an increase in the level of gun control have any credibility, irrespective of the passion those points are preached with.

It seems clear that I am for further gun control laws in the US. Yet, it doesn't matter what I think. I'm not an American citizen. I have no say in the politics of that country. I can also rest easy because the children in my life, namely my niece and three nephews, live in the UK and Canada. The likelihood of them going to school and being gunned down are pretty slim. If you want to cuddle your guns more than you want to cuddle your children, that is your political right. May God have mercy on the souls who are murdered, not on yours who stand by and let it happen because of your precious blood-soaked principle.

Jeb Bush summed up the pro-gun feeling. He shrugged it off, with the statement "Stuff happens." That's the problem. This stuff shouldn't happen. Ever. President Obama was right - "Enough is enough."

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