I have tried to be polite on this issue, although I admit in a couple of recent posts I was starting to lose it. But given that today’s shooting in San Bernardino is the 352nd gun massacre in the US this year (http://shootingtracker.com/) it’s clear even the faintest hint of subtlety is too much in the face of your blind belief that America Knows Best, so let me give it to you straight.
When the rest of the world is not plain gobsmacked by your outrageous and unforgiveable stupidity in allowing the slaughter of innocents, we are laughing at you. Yes America, you are a global joke.
A sick joke, certainly. But when we see you up there telling us what’s wrong with world while your own citizens run amok, how can we take you seriously? Why should we take you seriously? You can’t keep your own country safe from its own citizens. Who are you to make judgements about the rest of us? We watch you, and we laugh at your effrontery.
I feel sure gun lovers would like to shoot me for saying ‘allowing’ the shooting of innocents, but what else can I call it? The ‘guns don’t kill’ argument is one of the most spurious pieces of justification floating around – and there are many. Yes, a gun on a shelf is inert – but what la-la land do you live in? Do guns in America exist in a vacuum? Clearly not, and whether you like it or not, you cannot go on pretending they do. It is time – way beyond time – to deal with what IS, rather than trotting out a piece of philosophical double-talk that has no bearing on the entirely demonstrable fact that human behaviour is irrational, unpredictable and bears no relation to Disneyland. And the equally demonstrable fact that unrestricted gun ownership does not stop mass shootings.
I should also point out that however much you pray for the victims and their families and nod your heads in sage sorrow over the aberrations of the mentally ill, the rest of the world is shaking its head at your hypocrisy. If you were truly sorry, you would move heaven and earth to make sure that the mentally ill – children – the momentarily enraged – can’t easily get their hands on a lethal weapon to act out their fantasies.
As for the ‘protection’ issue – can you not get it through your heads that if nobody carried a gun, you wouldn’t need guns to protect yourselves against people with guns? I suppose, to give you your due, this is fairly unimaginable in a country where you can buy a gun like a pound of butter, but that alone is enough to give the rest of the world the horrors. It is sick, America. Sick. Certainly organised crime would still manage to arm itself, but since when is organised crime interested in breaking into your house (where, I should point out, responsible gun owners keep their weapons beyond reach in a locked box), shooting up movie theatres and malls or spraying bullets around schools?
And believe me, the rest of world is not fooled. This isn’t about constitutional rights. It’s about the power and money tied up in gun manufacture and sales, and the macho thrill apparently inherent in gun ownership. ‘Don’t take our guns’, you say, like children clutching their favourite toys to their bosoms. Which would be pathetic if the consequences weren’t so deadly. 6,717 Americans died in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. So far this year alone, more than 12,000 Americans have died in America as a result of gun violence.
During an interview on ABCTV (Australia) in 2013, Larry Pratt, then President of the Gun Owners of America, was unimpressed by the absence of Australian mass shootings since the introduction of new gun laws in 1996. We’re not interested in being like Australia, he said. We’re Americans.
Well good for you. Being American in this context isn’t something I’d be boasting about.