Posted tagged ‘gun control’

Arizona shootings: time to reflect

January 10, 2011

Not many days ago I wrote a post on this blog pointing out the dangers to society when some people get easy access to firearms. It is terrible when this takes on more meaning than I had expected, but Saturday’s events in Tucson, Arizona, should make everyone in the United States think again, and much more seriously, about proper gun control.

But there are also other lessons. One of them is about the impact of excessively partisan and hate-filled speech in politics. As is now fairly well known, Gabrielle Giffords was one of the ‘targets’ identified by Sarah Palin on a US map identifying politicians to be removed from power because of their support for the healthcare Bill (her ‘map with gunsights’ has been taken down by her, but is still available on some websites). The rhetoric of some American politicians has become crazily extreme, to the point where people (as we now see) can be put physically at risk.

The United States is a country I admire very much for all sorts of reasons, but right now it needs to stop in its tracks to reflect on what has happened, and how it has allowed itself to become a place of unreasonableness, intolerance and violence.

When stupid people become dangerous

December 31, 2010

I am a great admirer of the United States of America, but one of the things that distinguishes the US from Europe – and not in a good way – is the American attachment to the private ownership of firearms. Where this can lead is shown in this wholly weird news story.

Yesterday, December 30, two men walked into a shopping centre at 5 am and started shooting with rifles. Given the tragic incidents that take place from time to time involving unbalanced citizens with guns, it might have seemed to those present (who were forced to scatter and flee) that this was another such occasion. It wasn’t. Rather, the two men had simply decided to ‘have some fun’, and their concept of fun as they planned it was to shoot at some street lights at a time when, they believed, there would be nobody around. In fact one of the shops in the area had just opened, and so there were people present.

I cannot even begin to understand how the ownership of guns can be seen as a human right. Crazy events┬ásuch as this, involving crazy people, ought to persuade reasonable citizens that gun control is a necessity. You’d think.