Wednesday, 18 April 2007

Guns don't kill people. People with guns kill people.

The British newspapers today are full of the tragedy at VTech. One story carried the frightening statistic that about 25,000 deaths a year in America, including suicides and accidents, are gun-related. Why do the far-right, NRA-supporting, gun-toting morons for whom George Bush is the poster child not get it? How many more deaths will it take? No other country has the equivalent of "going postal". The USA might as well be Iraq. This young man obviously was mentally ill, and it is a massive tragedy that nobody figured out just how mentally ill in time. Yet he was giving out clues all along in his writing. He was referred to the university's counselling service. Did no one check to see if he actually went? If he did go, who saw him and how did they assess him?

I feel so sorry for the families of those killed and for the family of the killer. And I am so relieved I'm raising my children in a civilized country that doesn't believe in everyone's right to bear arms.

I am as big a defender of the U.S. Constitution as the next American, but I think the Founding Fathers had something very different in mind when they wrote the Second Amendment. It was an uncertain time politically. They'd fought and won a war to be independent, and the threat of the loss of that independence was still great. I think they wanted to be able to call up an already armed militia. Also, I think some aspects of the constitution were in reaction to what they'd endured as colonists (taxation without representation for example). However, I'm no historian so I could be entirely wrong about this.

Has anyone out there ever actually been a gun-crime victim? The mother of an ex-boyfriend of mine was shot and killed during a convenience store robbery. My own mother, in a deranged state, tried to buy a gun to kill my dad and me. Fortunately, the three-day waiting limit thwarted her. I never actually believed she'd go through with it, and I'm very grateful I didn't have to find out. Just because someone doesn't have a criminal record doesn't mean they won't commit a violent crime. As the VTech murders so tragically have shown us yet again.

No comments: