Yes, I’m going to go there…
What does it say that every time I turn on CNN for 5 minutes, just in the hope of getting some unbiased update I see something, that makes me cringe.
I turned on and saw Paula Zahn NOW. I don’t watch CNN enough to know which shows are on when but I was sure to hear something on the tragedy eventually (as CNN has threatened intense coverage which ironically was convenient, if it had only been of any value…).
What I observed was the end of a debate betwen what I assume was a gun proponent, a professor, and a woman whose involvement I didn’t figure out.
The professor said that professors should not carry guns and that neither should students. The gun proponent basically said that the rule preventing the carrying of guns on campus contributed to the number of deaths this week. Let’s consider that for a second…
So if a class professor or student had had a gun, there’s a chance that not as many people would have died. Of course the gun fight may have potentially escalated if the ‘defender’ didn’t hit home with the first shot (remembering that you don’t need training to purchase a gun there). On the other hand, if shooter had not been able to buy a gun, no-one would have been shot. Of course you could argue that he could have got a gun in some underhanded way.
Take a look at the UK, the rest of Europe and Canada (on CNN’s handy but not very detailed world map of where not to live if you don’t want to get shot). In those areas, there are no rights to bear arms and less than 1 in 100,000 people are murdered with a gun – unfortunately it doesn’t say how much less.
Someone I know had a friend die in the UK this week. His friend was riding a bike and died as a result of a collision (that occured due to reasons subject to inquest) with a rubbish/garbage collection vehicle. There’s a rule that says you need a certain license to drive drucks/lorries. Would the gun proponent’s values suggest that such a rule was the reason the kid couldn’t have been driving his own truck, possibly preventing him being severly injured? In fact the gun proponent would not seem to care whose fault the collision was, but be more concerned that both parties could have at least had a truck each, no matter what the risk of untrained truck drivers would be on those who choose not to drive a truck…
I’m not saying there isn’t a valid defense with a gun or that rights should not be there, but enabling an increased risk of danger is moronic. In the UK you can own a shotgun for sport so long as the police come round to interview you periodically and ensure it’s locked away. I’m sure that someone subject to home invasion in the UK who had such a weapon, may consider its use to defend their lives, but home invasions are rare, possibly because no-one can easily tote a weapon to enter into such an endeavour feeling indestructible.
There is perhaps simply a distinct difference in culture between the USA and countries like the UK, largely driven by a belief system in the USA which is at the core of many divided opinions, none of which will be ‘resolved’ any time soon. And to some, that may be what makes the USA ‘great’ – they may be right, but personally I like to avoid potential exposure to crappy logic when it comes to risking the lives of those I care about.