Having wasted most of the weekend online arguing with pro-gun people in the USA, I have given up. I have tried this before and keep coming to the same conclusion: they are happy as they are.
They believe the level of violence and gun-related deaths is quite low compared to other causes of death, and so is quite acceptable.
They believe there is a huge threat to society waiting to get them and, unless there is a ready civilian militia armed to a military standard, it could get them at any time. They need to be ready.
They believe that people being armed is why their society is so peaceful, that it is only unarmed people that are victims of crime, and it is their own fault for not being armed.
It is a belief system. Facts and statistics are immaterial and disregarded. You cannot argue using logic against a belief system.
Essentially what they have developed is a Gun Faith. Guns are worshipped, adored, protected by the constitution and idolised. ‘Idolised’ being the operative word. Some people carry a St Christopher, some wear a cross, some carry a picture of Mary and some wear a birthstone crystal. In the USA people carry a gun for the same reason: faith it will protect them. Despite the factual evidence to the contrary.
A funny thing about religions is how people take it to extremes to prove their faith: growing a couple of locks of hair really long, totally covering their women, refusing to shave. In the USA Gun Faith the extremists carry semi-automatic rifles simply as symbols of devotion. The NRA is the church of this religion. I get all that now.
That’s why people have started referring to the pro-gun lobby online as The American Taliban.
I’ve just been cheerfully posting this in various groups’ pages on FaceBook:
Those companies are, of course, all arms manufacturers or retailers. Yes, the NRA really is the marketing and political arm of the arms industry.
I can understand why the Russians want statues to The Great Patriotic War, fought for survival against a treacherous Nazi Germany that was hugely important in the eventual end of World War 2 for the allies.
I can also understand the desire to recognise the tools of this victory, such as the remarkably effective T-34 medium tank.
But a statue to the Kalashnikov AK-47 assault rifle seems a bit odd. Firstly, because it was produced after WW2, but especially because of its history since then for unlicensed production, illicit black market trade and as the weapon of choice for revolutionaries, terrorists, drug cartels, pirates and criminals. It made the BBC news because the statue’s designer put the wrong parts diagram on a plate on the statue.
What the BBC did not say was the statue is unpopular locally and the unveiling of the statue to the AK47’s inventor resulted in the arrest of the sole protestor, link, proclaiming “a creator of weapons is a creator of death”.
But I am puzzled by the words of Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin of the Russian Orthodox Church who describes it as “a sacred weapon”. What a strange Christian. But then, he also endorses female genital mutilation, so his opinion is not that worthwhile.
Incidentally, the roughly estimated 100 million genuine and copied AK-47s in the world are responsible for about a quarter of a million killings every year.
In a discussion about removing civil liberties to combat terrorism, I liked this comment:
If we did not openly and actively sponsor fanatics waging civil wars on the Russian periphery and in the Middle East for the last 20 years the AK47s (actually, most of them are AK72 nowadays) would not have been there to be sold in the first place.
.. and nobody would have made a bean off arms deals.
Wars are simply there to convert tax money into private income without too many questions asked – profit is the cause of war. The rest is IMHO just camouflage and fluff to hide the bigger picture.
It’s totally true that guns don’t kill people, or at least rarely – about the only way you can kill someone with a gun is to beat them to death with it.
There is no point in outlawing guns. They are out there, there are millions, they are made of metal and will last for a thousand years if they are kept oiled. Failing that, I could find materials in my basement that would produce a workable gun, and it doesn’t take much knowledge of the subject to figure out how to do it.
BULLETS on the other hand, are time consuming to make and require specific equipment. Production of enough to do serious damage would require planning and patience that are not characteristic of those who shoot up elementary schools. And, working on such a project might attract the attention of someone sane.
Bullets can be individually stamped, and their sale can be registered and entered into a computer base. They can be tracked from production to use, so that every bullet can be traced back to the person who purchased it. This way, a guy who wants to buy a couple boxes of bullets to go shoot deer, or the woman who wants a box to keep with the gun in her bedside drawer, won’t set off any warning bells. But the guy who is buying an arsenal will attract attention before he finds a more lethal way to do it.
Now there’s an interesting idea: unique identification of bullets. That would be inconvenient for all sorts of gun-related bad behaviour. Including mercenary activity.