Monday 17 December 2012

gun control

Another tragic set of killings. This time of teachers and children at Sandy Hook. The same fatuous statements from the gun lobby, and unfortunately from ministers in the churches. The Christian right and gun lobby lie together in the same incestuous bed, while the victims lie in harsh earth.

The basic logic of the situation is that guns are specifically designed to kill. That is why they were invented and perfected. Other potentially lethal objects, such as knives, were not designed specifically with killing in mind. A gun is designed to kill in a detached manner. Stabbing someone with a  knife is more directly tactile and bloody - and, in a strange way, needs more courage.

No private citizen should have the right to own a device whose only primary purpose is killing.   Someone who owns a gun is saying, I can easily kill you with the motion of one finger.

Firing a lethal weapon cannot be classified as "sport", least of all when the targets are animals. Obtaining pleasure from killing, which is what hunting is about, is amoral and degrading for those who gain the pleasure and those who spectate. It may be that famers have the right to possess shotguns, but even that needs scrutinising.

The gun lobby claims that people have a right to bear arms to defend themselves. By defending the universal right of citizens to bear arms, they defend the right of potential killers to bear arms. Who is a potential killer is not safely definable. It may be you or it may be me.

As I understand it, the right to bear arms in the Constitution was formulated to allow the ready raising of a militia in the face of continued threats to the fledgling republic. Even if that is not what was meant, I cannot think that Jefferson and the founding fathers would even begin to defend the current situation. They could not have envisaged some 10 million potent modern weapons in the hands of almost anyone who wants to obtain one. Their humane principles would have demanded that the Constitution be amended. The right to carry a gun is trumpeted as an inalienable American right. It is simply and hideously wrong.

The day after the killings, a local pastor trotted out the homilies about Christ having triumphed over death and the necessity of evil in the world. Obama announced that god has "called" the children to him. Why are we not celebrating if they are joyous in the arms of god? The teachers children are cold corpses. The agonised parents relatives and friends face the reality. The rest is political and religious cant.