Like the death penalty, gun law is so dependent on the host culture. A few random comments, some of which are fairly terse:
If common sense checks are in place to ensure weapons are stored beyond the reach of the young or mentally unstable then the right to bare arms seems fine.
The ease by which a young man was able to use one of his fathers guns in the March 2009 massacre in Germany was embarrassing at the very least.
To understand why young people do bad things, read Lord Of The Flies by William Golding.
With very strict limitations, I support the right to bare arms in the US based on the constitution. However, until about 10am on September 11, 2001, I had been opposed to gun ownership anywhere having watched the Columbine massacre unfold on TV – and many years earlier, been in the path of Michael Ryan, the gunman who murdered friends of friends in Hungerford (UK) in the 1980s. I lived close by Ryan’s path, barricading myself and a colleague in my house as it happened. We had no idea where he would strike next. Like most shootings, the random nature of the crime was terrifying.
The problem in the UK is that we cannot revolt if the government loses the plot or is taken over by a regime that becomes a threat to common sense and/or freedom. All said, democracy does work here.
Generally, as with any item or concept that can be used for good or harm – a car can be driven into a crowd with ease, a kitchen knife a tool of murder – the rule of law and common sense needs to apply. However, if there is no one to protect us (‘us’ referring to well meaning good people), surely we reserve the right to defend ourselves and the common good? So, let farmers and rural home owners defend themselves even in nations where guns are outlawed.
Why so much gun crime in the US?
Before I go on, I lived in the US for 10 years (1991 to 200) and despite that love hate relationship that many may share, I love the American people and their well meaning honorable character that I have yet to discover elsewhere. Anyway, onto the matter at hand:
It is actually quite simple, and I make no apologies for being so blunt. Americans are on the whole spoiled and have been allowed to accept too much freedom in a manner that is both beneficial and extremely selfish – in a cold distant manner that some of you reading this will understand if you have spent time there. The lack of what I would call old school British Reserve & Discipline* in the US means some people do not have a built in mental safety valve to deter them from actions that would be looked upon elsewhere as outrageous, embarrassing, immensely selfish and/or dangerous.
Thinking of the consequences of ones actions (from chewing gum, becoming obese or talking loudly in public) is not that common over there – and yes, there IS a connection. A lack of self respect can be very dangerous. Americans tend to want something or else, so if a young student or worker is upset about something, he or he and a colleague will have no concerns about shooting to death a number of innocent people – even taking time to plan such action with no second thoughts. It makes them feel good, so good riddance anyone else.
Worse, due to the lack of social interaction in every day life, people do not get to use their 5 senses. The streets of leafy neighbourhoods are always empty except for early morning joggers and postmen – as shown clearly in Breaking Bad. Everyone drives everywhere. No mothers pushing their babies along the pavement or walking their kids to the shops or school, so no gossip, friendly chit chat by parents or kids. Too much technology, not enough humanity – despite good hearts.
May 26 2014 – More importantly, and my views on this have finally been robustly vindicated by the shootings in Santa Barbara in May 2014, liberal values, in particular those in Hollywood and celebrity culture elsewhere, mean children are left alone, with their career oriented parents elsewhere. And in many cases, divorced. I do not think people realise just how damaging a divorced or fragmented family can be to children.
Sweden, Israel and a few other nations equip many households with weapons as part of national service, yet there are no massacres within civilian society there. This says a lot about the differences between the US and other nations when it comes to social interaction.
With UK culture becoming more about self too now, if it wasn’t for the fact obtaining guns here is difficult, you can bet we would see more and more massacres as undisciplined people let loose after a bad day. Woe is me so f*ck you! A very British trait by the way, seen everyday on trash TV here now like The Apprentice.
No matter what, people do snap occasionally and there is little that can be done to prevent that other than learning to seek counsel in order to reduce any pressure though sharing ones pain. A good talk with a caring tactful pragmatist can do wonders! As can taking up an active sport.
It is interesting to note that every time there is a tragedy, there is demand that the NRA and others take action. Yes, the gun laws need major change, but as detailed above, most of the massacres were carried out by those from fragmented liberal families. As made clear across this blog, liberal values are bad for children, bad for society and bad for the economy – unless it comes to national infrastructure and the environment.
- BBC article on US gun ownership that sums up my own observations from 10 years stateside
- Traumatic detailed description of the Port Arthur massacre in Australia. I only learned about that tragedy while updating this page after reading some comments on the (hours old) massacre at an immigration centre in New York state on 3rd April 2009. Warning, the description of the Australian massacre is heart wrenching.
*Sadly declining as our country falls apart under the influence of celebrity tat and ‘reality’ TV. It is so embarrassing!