Last Monday, a man called Aaron Alexis went on a shooting spree in a navy dockyard in Washington, DC, killing a dozen. Another gun rampage in America, and hardly a whimper from the proponents of gun control. The latest tragedy has, like all other gun crimes in the US, again shone the light on a lingering problem that plagues American society. The issue has penetrated deep into the psyche of the American people and one wouldn’t be surprised if they want the government to act decisively. Yes, there is the gun lobby — waiting for the slightest chance to be cocked into action, so to say. The opponents of gun control, supported by the hard-as-gun metal gun lobby, it seems, have huge vested interests in the system fuelled by commercial concerns and an industry backed support system.
There have been numerous instances in which individuals or a combination of them, have let their gun do the talking. Instead of speaking their sore minds out, or letting it out with the help of other means, a number of them have pulled the trigger at the slightest provocation.
In an instance of rare trans-Atlantic sadistic camaraderie, a poacher in Austria gunned down four people on Tuesday in a siege drama that had Vienna sending in tanks to capture the lone shooter. The incident begs one to ask: Are Europeans learning to be trigger-happy from the Americans?
US gun rampages in the recent past had set off a stormy debate over the question of gun control. As the country struggled to come to terms with its controversial gun laws, other parts of the world wondered in amazement. Why was a substantial part of the population of the only superpower in the world interested in more guns when gun crimes were on the rise? Why do you need more nozzles when the apparent solution to killings with firearms is fewer of them? Like the answers to many issues American, the answer to this is complicated to the extent of sounding Kafkaesque.
There are many who will argue after the latest Washington, DC, killing spree that if other workers at the naval dockyard had more guns, they would have prevented Alexis from killing so many people. This is the argument that the powerful gun lobby tries to buttress with help from its aggressive campaigners, who keep saying that the right to self defence overrides all other rights. It is true that American society has been severely wounded by gun crime and the fear of a shooting spree keeps many citizens on their toes. However, there is a need to strike a sensitive balance between public safety and the right to self defence. The right to keep and bear arms is enshrined in the Second Amendment of the US Constitution. However, when firearms are becoming destructive to society and being used more by aggressors than to protect people, the idea of promoting gun culture cannot be a sound one•