Another day, another mass shooting in America. Yet again the rest of the world looks on with blank incomprehension as America ‘wrestles’ with the moral quandry of whether to make it harder for people who snap to gun down masses of their fellow citizens or, in this case, innocent children.
Is there any point me adding my voice to this debate? It’s already going the same way that it always does and it’s massively dispiriting to see the same old rhetoric trotted out yet again. Though I do sense a greater level of outrage and purpose in what passes for the American left I suspect tempers and resolve will fail again, there’ll be some tinkering around the edges of the law and then the same thing will happen again.
It’s all so depressingly familiar. The catchphrases, the rationalisations (not that they’re rational). ‘Guns don’t kill people, people kill people’. ‘The teachers should have been armed’. ‘Right to bear arms!’. ‘This happens elsewhere’. Even ‘It’s a price worth paying for freedom’.
As I’ve intimated before on this blog there are two different kinds of freedom, freedom from and freedom to. For me, a person’s right to life (freedom from harm) definitely outweighs the gun owner’s right to own one.
Under any sot of examination beyond the surface all the excuses and justifications fall apart. You can find that out easily enough yourself, there’s no shortage of statistical analyses doing the rounds.
It is true that gun ownership is not the whole of the problem, there is also the culture surrounding guns, their fetishisation, their worship. Properly controlling the sale, possession and access to guns is a good first step in fixing that cultural issue.
Above all, America needs to have a rational debate on the issue and come to a level of agreed upon change to rebalance these priorities for the 21st century, rather than the 18th.
As we’ve seen with this recent election, with the creationism debate that still rages in American schools and now, with the blame game going around again, America doesn’t seem capable of having a rational debate whether in the public square or in the more rarefied heights of political offices.
Until leaders choose to lead and educate, to risk their popularity to do what’s right and to change people’s minds, nothing is going to change and even an ocean away that makes me sick to my stomach.
This is going to keep happening.