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Obama and Guns: 'Yes, You Must' (El Universal, Mexico)


"Obama's Hail Mary pass should be to further amend the Constitution, and by so doing, offer further evidence that the Nobel Peace Prize awarded him when his accomplishments were minimal was justified. If Obama has failed to achieve nuclear disarmament, he must at least disarm his countrymen. And if he were to close at least some of the stores where guns are sold like Coca-Cola Light, an added benefit would be that Mexican drug traffickers could no longer supply themselves in U.S. shops, which enriches the gun shop owners and kills their own compatriots."


By Dr. Arnoldo Kraus*



Translated By Halszka Czarnocka


January 9, 2013


Mexico - El Universal - Original Article (Spanish)

President Obama and guns: Is it time for him to earn his Nobel Peace Prize?

BBC NEWS VIDEO: Would more guns save more American lives?, Jan. 8, 00:03:24RealVideo

Choosing the appropriate slogan isn't easy. It requires imagination, creativity and following the maxim "less is more," as the message must say a lot with the fewest possible words. The slogan of Barack Obama's first presidential campaign, "Yes, we can," synthesized the desire for change and the need to come together. Now with the beginning of his second term, Obama will no longer need to invent apt and resonant phrases. He'll have to look back.


During his first term, civilian-on-civilian killings have left running rivers of blood and ink. Due to the innocence of the victims and heroism of teachers who gave their lives to protect their students, the massacre of children and adults at a school in Newtown hurts in another way. This mass killing should mark a new presidential commitment. This time, the slogan written on the part of the dead, is society's exhortation for Obama: "Yes, yes, you must."


With no third presidential campaign to concern himself with, and as part of his ethical commitment to universal health insurance, closing the Guantanamo prison hell, lowering the unemployment rate, and abolishing the death penalty - especially for minors - Obama should disarm his fellow citizens and prohibit the sale of firearms. By doing so, he will prevent additional killings in the United States, and perhaps by closing off the sale of weapons to Mexican drug traffickers, diminish the number of assassinations in our country. President Obama needs to do something beyond uttering empathetic words: he must prohibit the sale of firearms.


How strange that, aside from accounting for obligatory variables like educational levels and distribution of wealth, there is no barometer that measures the human, ethical, and cultural position of a country in relation to the number of its citizens killed by firearms. Killed not in wars, but in the streets, primary schools (Newtown, 2012), universities (Virginia, 2007), cinemas (Colorado, 2012), temples (Milwaukee, 2012), and a sad so on and so forth. If there were such a barometer, compared to its "peers" (Australia, New Zealand, Britain, France) the United States would occupy last place.



This is necessarily so: one in every two U.S. households has at least one of the 270 million firearms in domestic use. Just as necessarily: 5 percent of the world's population lives in the United States, and 40 percent of the world's firearms are in U.S. civilian hands. Every year, about 12,000 homicides are committed there, and 200,000 people are injured by firearms.


Let's consider as an example: the September 11, 2001 attacks killed 3,000 people in the United States. Since then, more than 140,000 have been killed with firearms, and over 2 million have been wounded. Necessarily so: this American atavism is at odds with the country's cultural, scientific and medical sophistication. The defenders of the right to possess arms, anchored in the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and backed by the successful and powerful National Rifle Association, continue to validate this Second Amendment philosophy, which enables the leitmotiv of the right to bear arms: "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

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It has been over two centuries since the Amendment was passed. The historical, human and political geographies, as well as the geography of reality, have changed. If amending the Constitution again is impossible, one could change the prevailing logic about guns and the stupidity of arming every household. Media coverage after the massacre at Sandy Hook school in Newton was quite straightforward: Adam Lanza, the 20-year-old murderer, under his mother's tutelage, learned how to use the two pistols and rifle with which he killed his mother at home, and then 26 people more, under the aegis of the Second Amendment, and with the complicity of the NRA.



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Obama's Hail Mary pass should be to further amend the Constitution, and by so doing, offer further evidence that the Nobel Peace Prize awarded him in 2009 for "his vision of a world without nuclear weapons," when his accomplishments were minimal, was justified. If Obama has failed to achieve nuclear disarmament, he must at least disarm his countrymen. And if he were to close at least some of the stores where guns are sold like Coca-Cola Light, an added benefit would be that Mexican drug traffickers could no longer supply themselves in U.S. shops, which enriches the gun shop owners and kills their own compatriots. A few days ago, the U.S. president said: "We have to pass from words to action. We must be serious." We shall see.


From Obama's "Yes, we can" to a "Yes, you must" directed at Obama, the distance is as long or as short as civil society and the president's team want it to be.


*Dr. Arnoldo Kraus is a medical doctor and surgeon at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. His postgraduate studies were in Internal Medicine and Reumatology and Clinical Immunology at the Salvador Zubirán National Institute of Nutrition, were he worked from 1980 till 2005. He was a member of the National Researchers System until 2005. He has published 50 research articles in national and international medical journals, as well as 10 chapters on medical subjects in various books. He now teaches a postgraduate course on medical ethics at the UNAM Department of Medicine. He has a private practice in clinical medicine. A member of the College of Bioethics, between 1990 and 2011 he collaborated on a weekly bases with the newspaper La Jornada. Since 2012, he has written a weekly column for El Universal. He frequently collaborates with Letras Libres and Revista de la UNAM. Author of basic texts in the national discussion about bioethics, Dr. Kraus has written, among others, on the subjects of eutanasia, abortion, laicism, medical technology, doctor-patient relations and the right to healthcare. He has published 11 books, the last ones being The Pencil’s Apology, in collaboration with Vicente Rojo (Conaculta, 2011) and When the Death Approaches (Almadia, 2011).


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Liberation, France: To 'Prove' Himself, Obama Must Go Beyond Assault Weapons
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[Posted by Worldmeets.US Jan. 9, 2:19am]