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Wake up and smell the gun powder

By Gordon Robinson

 

As soon as news broke of the latest American mass shooting, the 213th for 2022 and the 27th in a school, gun lobbies went on the defensive.

A Fox news guest chided parents for sending their children to schools “easy to shoot up”. And of course the tired old nonsense “Guns don't kill people. People kill people” was trotted out.

Wrong. People with guns kill people. People with guns kill more people than all other combos of people with lethal weapons combined. So, what to do? We can eliminate the guns. Or we can eliminate the people. You choose.

Here are some uncomfortable facts to help you decide:

  1. Mass shootings per capita in USA more than double those in the next worst affected country, war torn Yemen that’s six years into an armed conflict that has killed and injured over 18,400 civilians.
  2. USA is saturated with guns. In 2020 alone, U.S. gun manufacturers produced 11.1 million firearms, up from 5.4 million in 2010. Pistols and rifles made up about 75% of the total.
  3. The alarming frequency of mass school shootings in USA compared to elsewhere makes it a uniquely American crisis

On March 13, 1996, a 43-year-old male drove five kilometres from his home to Dunblane Primary School, Scotland, carrying four legally owned handguns and 743 cartridges. He killed 16 children and a teacher before killing himself.

In 1997, John Major's Conservative government amended the Firearms Act to ban all cartridge ammunition handguns, except for .22 calibre single-shot weapons. Following the 1997 election, Tony Blair's Labour government introduced a further amendment, banning .22 cartridge handguns as well. Since Dunblane, there've been ZERO mass school shootings in the UK.

So why is this so difficult for America? Here are some inconvenient historical facts. USA was founded on genocide and systemic racism. Since then it has been constructed using jingoism, a.k.a American Exceptionalism, as concrete.

In the past 3 decades, adverse effects of immigration and reproduction have threatened white America’s numerical superiority. It’s now in full panic mode hence the MAGA Movement; attempts to ban factual history teaching; and the mass slaughter of innocents often under the guise of a fight against “White Replacement”. This was the mantra of the British Fascist Party in the early 1960s that fought against Black and Jewish immigrants. So the stubborn refusal to compromise by America’s gun lobby is white history repeating itself; the rise of Fascism; and the fall of Democracy in America.

But that’s America’s problem. It’s headed inexorably down a path of implosion and no amount of kneeling at sporting events or rational argument will alter its course.

I’m concerned Jamaica doesn’t carelessly become collateral damage.

It’s an illusion that these legal guns have protected many from deadly criminal attack usually planned and orchestrated to ensure no licensed firearm holder has time to reach a gun.

We must wake up and smell the gun powder. Plug gaping holes at our legal ports and equip the coast guard so it can stem inflows through informal ports.  We can’t afford a right to bear arms. Handing out gun licenses like confetti ostensibly to fight fire with fire only burns the house down.

 

EDITOR'S NOTE: This commentary by Gordon Robinson first aired on Radio Jamaica's That's a Rap on Sunday May 29. Please click on the audio icon above to listen.

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