Thursday, April 25, 2013

Yeah, I wondered the same thing

Why does America lose its head over 'terror' but ignore its daily gun deaths? 

"If only Americans reacted the same way to the actual threats that exist in their country. There's something quite fitting and ironic about the fact that the Boston freak-out happened in the same week the Senate blocked consideration of a gun control bill that would have strengthened background checks for potential buyers. Even though this reform is supported by more than 90% of Americans, and even though 56 out of 100 senators voted in favour of it, the Republican minority prevented even a vote from being held on the bill because it would have allegedly violated the second amendment rights of "law-abiding Americans".

So for those of you keeping score at home – locking down an American city: a proper reaction to the threat from one terrorist. A background check to prevent criminals or those with mental illness from purchasing guns: a dastardly attack on civil liberties. All of this would be almost darkly comic if not for the fact that more Americans will die needlessly as a result. Already, more than 30,000 Americans die in gun violence every year (compared to the 17 who died last year in terrorist attacks)."

My question is:  what will it take to regulate guns in this country?  Obviously Newtown wasn't enough.  So I thought of the massacre in Norway, where 69 people, mostly teenagers, were killed.   The guns were obtained legally, through gun control laws, because the killer was a member of a hunting club.  He also had a pistol under the same law.  But apparently he had to get his high-capacity magazines from somewhere else, because they are outlawed and not available anywhere in Norway.  So he got them from... the United States.

Massacres by gun have spurred stronger gun control legislation in a lot of countries.
As this article points out, such measures don't prevent or eliminate gun violence or massacres.  But they do reduce their occurrence, even such "individual" acts as suicide.  Sure, if you outlaw bridges because people jump off them, people will jump off of cliffs.   Nothing is 100% certain.  But if gun massacres can be reduced, I would think that a country concerned about homegrown terrorist bombers would also be concerned about homegrown gun-toting mass killers.

Apparently not enough.

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