Children from Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut,
wait outside after a massacre that left 20 toddlers and six teachers and
Newtown: Gun 'Barbarism'
that Cannot be Removed by Legislation (La Jornada,
of weapons among the U.S. population is does not in itself suffice to explain
the often exasperating massacres that occur there. Nations like Canada, Sweden
and Finland also record high levels of per capita weapons ownership without leading
to the type of mass murders that systematically shock and terrorize the United
States. This suggests a kind of collective propensity toward barbarism in that
country which has never been explained, and which should start to be discussed as
quickly as possible."
Visibly distraught, President Obama addresses the nation after America's latest gun massacre in Newtown, Connecticut. By asserting that something must be done to stem such attacks, the president somewhat forcefully reentered the debate about restricting firearms.
Few single episodes of violence have shaken both the society
of the United States and international public opinion like the slaughter that
occurred yesterday at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, where a man
opened fire indiscriminately, killing 26 people - including 20 children aged
five to ten before killing himself.
Without ignoring that this episode is part of a long series
of shootings in schools, workplaces and public places in the country - such as
the infamous massacre at Columbine High School in April 1999, which left 15
people dead; the murder of 33 students at Virginia Tech at the hands of one of its
students in April 2007; and the recent slaughter at a Colorado cinema that saw 12
people fatally shot - and without overlooking that fact that any homicide is
reprehensible - the chilling effect of the school attack in Sandy Hook is
multiplied because most of the victims were from the most vulnerable and
sensitive segment of any society: its children. Needless to say, none of the toddlers
who were murdered represented threats to the "free State," in the language
in the Second
Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which is used to justify the unrestricted
possession of weapons in the country - much less to the aggressor himself.
Yesterday, offering the official position of the White
House, a visibly distraught President
Barack Obama said: "And we’re going to have to come together and take
meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this."
But lamentations and promises are not enough: it is
urgent that the government of that country do something to curb the excessive
proliferation of weapons caches in the hands of its population (it is estimated
that there are about 280 million firearms in the U.S. - almost one per adult).
It is pertinent to recall that the persistence of an anachronistic legal
framework that has allowed such proliferation is explained by the staunch
support of the most reactionary and chauvinist segments of our neighboring
country, including the ultra-conservative National Rifle Association and key
Republican Party cadres. But in addition, one must point to an incapacity or unwillingness
on the part of the Democratic administration: suffice it to say that during
Obama's first term, the drive to limit possession of weapons by individuals as
well as the renewal of a ban on assault rifles, which expired in 2004, have
been somewhat ignored - even though during his first election campaign, Obama
promised to do so.
Posted by Worldmeets.US
However, the availability of weapons among the U.S.
population is does not in itself suffice to explain the often exasperating
massacres that occur there. Nations like Canada, Sweden and Finland also record
high levels of per capita weapons ownership without leading to the type of mass
murders that systematically shock and terrorize the United States. This
suggests a kind of collective propensity toward barbarism in that country which
has never been explained, and which should start to be discussed as quickly as possible.
It is distressing that in a society which enjoys such a high
level of development and wealth - largely as a result of the predatory
colonialism historically exercised by a Washington which strives to hold itself
out as a model of civility to the rest of the world - episodes like those just mentioned
take place. Episodes that in fact suggest a backward civilization and a
propensity for violence and barbarism that, unfortunately, appears impossible
to entirely remove through legislation.