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Who has it right?
December 14, 2012Posted by on
Being a citizen of the United Kingdom who lived there for the majority of his life, I often still look to the BBC for unbiased news reports of events around the world.
Tragically, today we were presented with two reports of people attacking multiple school children. One in China, where there are very strict gun controls (and gun ownership by private individuals is illegal), and one in the United States of America (where gun ownership is a constitutional right, and while some ownership controls exist, gun ownership is not illegal).
In the case of the attack in China (see http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-china-20723910), the headline is…
“A man with a knife has wounded 22 children – at least two of them seriously – and an adult at a primary school in central China.”
In the case of the latest attack in the United States of America (see http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-20730717), the headline is…
“A gunman has killed 20 children and six adults at a primary school in the US state of Connecticut, police say.”
Both stories are unthinkable to us, and In both cases the mental stability of the person responsible might be questioned, and in both cases you can argue that a person determined to dish out this kind of mayhem will do what they can with the tools available to them, but the outcomes of the two stories are drastically different, because the person in the United States had easy (and constitutionally defended) access to guns whereas the person in China did not.
You can argue all you like about the constitutional right to carry arms here in the US, but facts are facts – in the US there are 26 families who are suffering a tragic loss because guns were easily available to someone, whereas in China, 23 families still have their loved ones because someone had to resort to less effective weapons because guns were not available to them.
The solution to the problem is not simple though. You can’t just outlaw gun ownership and fix this – there are too many guns out there already for that to work. It is clear however that the time for doing nothing and living with the consequences has passed. I just hope that something is done before we find ourselves posting about yet another mass shooting and lamenting that we have a broken society while being unwilling as a nation to do anything about it.