“There are lessons here on U.S. gun culture, and the risks inherent in allowing a prevalence of weapons that makes it easy for the deranged — as the killer must surely have been — to obtain them.”*
“The deranged”. How many “deranged” people are there? Or potentially deranged? I don’t know – maybe 2-5% of the population? Just try to imagine the potential – if it were only about derangement.
The President says “meaningful action to prevent tragedies like this, regardless of the politics” needs to be taken. Much as I admire Obama, words like this have been spoken so many times. But nothing will change, until American mythologies and attitudes about guns and “government” are confronted and changed.
Traditional issue: So many Americans feel threatened by the idea of changing or eliminating the 2nd amendment – the right to bear arms. What would it take to reassure them that there is an alternative?
I remember back in the fifties visiting my uncle’s farm in Manitoba. I was 13, and my young cousin who was about 10, drove me around the farm on the tractor. Apparently there was a convention that the rules about driving didn’t apply on one’s own farmland. I was impressed and intrigued. I later also learned that one could keep a rifle for gophers and that sort of thing. Could we not change the rules so that people who wanted guns for farms and hunting could ‘qualify’ for them? And with a requirement to keep them under lock and key, the guns would hopefully be less available for ‘deranged’ activities. Is this just too simple?
The thing in the Amendment about a ‘well-armed militia’ needs to be seen as a part of history, but no longer relevant, given that there is now a permanent well-armed ‘militia’: the Department of Defence. The fact that so many Americans are actually afraid of potential insurrection by the military or even police, is very sad (or are we Canadians just too stupid to fear them?). Could this be counter-acted by education? And what if police and soldiers participated in community activities, where citizens see close up the actual attitudes and feelings of those who are feared? Might people come to see them as neighbours, and “good guys”.
Not in my lifetime, I think. But I’m glad to see the conversation has at least begun.