Doing No Favours | Non Violence [2]


GunWhat a terrible tragedy in Virginia. The families – and whole community – are in my thoughts and prayers as they try to find some way through this.

The soul-searching has already begun here. The UK press have been pointing out the all too frequent nature of these such attacks. Guns and stressful modern life do not mix well. As I’ve written before here, the same technology that allows us so much freedom, and unprecedented leisure, also has again reared its dark head. You simply can’t kill over 30 people with only your bare hands. You need tools to do that.

My knowledge of the socio-political climate over the issue is limited to Michael Moore’s output, plus some other partisan material, and I understand that comparisons are tricky to make between countries. Either way, a factor of nearly 35 times more gun-related homicides in the US than most of Europe has to be explained.

For me, I can’t help but wonder each time such news breaks again: surely gun control has got to mean more than using both hands?


Technorati: | |


7 responses to “Doing No Favours | Non Violence [2]”

  1. yeah, the old cliche ‘the right to bear arms is about as sensible as the right to arm bears’ springs to mind.
    do you agree with Moore that fear is one of the most driving factors? I think that is one of the most clearly gospel flavoured messages out there at the moment.

  2. I wouldn’t want to comment on the US situation, but my feeling about the UK, and the recent spate of teenage Black-on-Black shootings is that fear really is at the heart… perhaps in two ways?
    Firstly, there’s clearly a vicious circle of ‘if they are packing a weapon, so I’ll have to to protect myself’.
    And secondly, I wonder if it’s also a deeper fear of rejection and isolation. With other support structures so fragile, peer pressure is huge, and having taught these kids, there is also a terrible fragility of self esteem. This is why so many of these murderers shoot because someone has ‘disrespected’ them.

  3. Kester: As one who works very closely with students on an American college campus in a role that tries to keep an eye out for such students. Another angle I would suggest taking serious consideration of is the extreme pressure Asian American students feel to succeed. Many Korean American families (his parents ran a dry-cleaning store and his sister went to Princeton) place massive pressure on their children to succeed. I am not suprised by the profile I have heard about this student who did the shooting. In addition, technology, specifically Myspace and Facebook has created another world of pseudo-“intimacy” were communication is simply not face to face, person to person, rather it affords already isolated individuals to hide behind IM and such creating a world unto themselves. It was the perfect storm gone bad. There are larger themes going on here than mere availabilty to fire-arms.

  4. I agree Adam, it’s not just about gun control. But the ease of access to guns does mean that when people ‘flip’ they really can do serious damage. Imagine he had not had access to guns… he might still have ‘broken down’, but in doing so the results might not have been so catastrophic.
    So, yes, it’s important to look behind the shooting and see the shooter, and see all the stresses and strains that may have led them to that point, but it’s also vital that the outlets that these people have access to are controlled. People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones… but if you’re going to construct glass houses, you make damn sure that stones are hard to come by.
    Personally, I’m shocked by the total lack of gun-control agenda in the US. Why? Because people want to be in power, and they’re not going to piss off the gun lobby. It’s crazy politics.
    Instead, I’ll wager we’ll see soul-searching about this ‘outsider’ and how he had all these problems, just as we did with Columbine. In this way the problem can be projected away from the ‘normal’ majority onto some freak ‘others’: metal-listeners, recluses, non-jocks, gays, goths… It seems to me that most of these cases it’s people getting revenge on the cruel majority who ostracized them.

  5. Kester – this issue is about as gray as all get out. We do have an epidemic here and we need to examine what the heck’s going on.You could have all the gun control legislation in the world and this kid would have still gone off as did the kids at Columbine, Kentucky, etc., etc., etc. Some people would have died or been seriously injured before the shooter(s) took their own life. But with a single shot rifle or pistol (I can’t imagine someone totting around a muzzleloader), the person can be subdued after they’ve fired a few shots.
    The difference as you point out is that in both cases the kids were able to get their hands on some serious ammo. I flyfish and write about outdoor sports. I don’t cover hunting per se but I can’t find any state in the country where you can legally hunt with a semi-automatic much less a fully automatic weapon. Furthermore, the ID checks at gun shows are a walking joke – it’s easier to buy a gun than it is to buy cigarettes or alcohol. Along those lines, I can recall the fierce opposition when legislation was introduced trying to reduce gun purchases to one a month.
    The logic as it’s been explained to me is that if they take away our 2nd ammendment rights to bear arms then our other rights will soon follow.
    But thinking there’s a single bullet solution (pardon the pun) ain’t gonna stop the epidemic.

  6. The second amendment was instituted because of fear.
    Fear that somehow the people would become enslaved or powerless without weapons.
    Fear that government would be able to control them if they werent armed.
    Fear that they might be invaded or the people’s governement usurped.
    It is unlikely that this ‘right’ will ever be taken away from the American people, because, sadly, the country that proudly professes Christ doesnt walk the talk in this instance at least.
    Fear has no place in the kingdom of God.
    Until love and trust usurp fear, particularly of the ‘outsider’, (who should be ‘the neighbour’) there will always be problems of this sort.
    Already the demonisation of this ‘outsider’, his mental health problems, his obsessive behaviour, all the other factors that led him to this dreadful act, has begun.
    Doubtless this will strengthen in the minds of many the need to be able to protect themselves from such danger strangers.
    But the reality is, his fear, fear of not being like everyone else, not succeeding, not getting the girl, not being respected, fed on other fears. Fear does that.
    Its not a simple question, what is? But to my mind fear is such an important factor in this equasion that it cant be ignored. It must instead be dealt with. And continuing to demand the right to bear arms is not dealing with it.
    I was afraid to write this post.

  7. …and, of course, our governments fear terrorists and fundamentalists and insurgents…
    …and that justifies them invading, using shock and awe, having a big surge…
    … I wonder what their (our) excuse is?