MONTGOMERY VILLAGE, Md., September 16, 2013 – After another mass killing, this time only one mile from the legislature that doesn’t want to take notice, we are losing hope that rational gun laws are coming. Twelve workers at the Washington Navy Yard were killed by apparently a disgruntled contractor that had “anger management problems” and PTSD. According to NBC, the gunman was killed by police, but not before he did his deed that also wounded another eight.
This comes at the heels of two legislators recalled for voting for stricter gun laws in Colorado.
It is easy to predict that the gun lobby will retort that if more people would have been armed, the killings would not have occurred. In fact, the killer apparently used at least one gun that he took away from armed officials. Even trained law enforcement officials can be victims to a resolute killer. One wonders what would have happened if others would have been armed, one can speculate that the casualties would have been greater. A chaotic shoot out in a building with thousands of possible collateral damage victims provides an unacceptable scenario.
Maybe we have to look at the reluctance to legislate more rational gun laws from a different perspective. A global view may provide some answers.
Searching for global arm sales statistics in the Internet is confusing. Numbers vary widely as there is no normal way to define what constitutes a weapon (is an attack helicopter a weapon, or just the machine guns and rocket launchers installed in it?). Regardless, it could be in the hundreds of billions of dollars. One fact that appears clear is that the U. S. remains as the leader in this field and our weapon sales constitute an important and very lucrative part of our exports.
Even President Obama, a Nobel Peace Prize honoree (Alfred Nobel invented dynamite), has become our salesman in chief in promoting U. S. arms sales. Seeing a big market in up and coming countries like India, he may ask for regulations that expedite international arm sales.
Some may say that trying to restrict arms sales internally by enacting new laws may provide a schizophrenic or a hypocritical image of the U. S. Others may point out that the issues involved in domestic and international arms sales are very different and unconnected in a dangerous world.
The fact is that both the domestic and international arms commerce have a winner, the weapons industry. Another factor is that weapons are mostly used to kill human beings or to deter by threatening to kill. May we benefit by seeing the whole picture?
Ultimately, we may think of how we would like history to see the U. S.; as the ultimate merchant of arms or as a leader of disarmament.
Unfortunately it is apparent that the weapons industry is one of the few industries in which the U. S. still has a clear supremacy both in the domestic market and internationally. With respect to domestic sales, can we find a balance between the success of this consumer product and the atrocities that we have seen throughout our country in the last 20 years? We have found ways to solve this type of dilemma in the past and should be able to do it again.
We need less rhetoric and more action in trying to find a balanced solution to the super abundance of fire arms and the people that are willing to use them and the rights under the second amendment as interpreted by our courts and supported by many Americans.
Most gun owners are law abiding citizens and it is difficult to believe that they would not support the idea that fire arms don’t belong in the hands of persons that may use them criminally. For this to have traction it is necessary to get past the paranoia of those that believe the government wants to ban private gun ownership altogether.
The gun lobby does not want this dialogue to take place. After all it is funded by the gun industry that wants unrestricted gun sales to continue and the profits that it entails. While corporations may be people according to the Supreme Court, humanistic feelings are not included in their persona. Their only job is to make profits for its investors.
Mario Salazar, the 21st Century Pacifist is in Facebook (Mario Salazar) and Twitter (@chibcharus).
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