What Guns Have to Do in Cities?

Same old story: a lone 20 year old gun man, stacked with four high power semi-automatic rifles, entered to an elementary school (Newtown, Connecticut) killed 20 children and 6 of their teachers in a very short span before shooting himself when police arrived. This story has been repeated so many times, but what happened in terms of any concrete measure to stop this kind of carnage. Nothing! Zilch!

Toxic Mix: © 123rf.com

Toxic Mix: © 123rf.com

Because Americans have fundamental rights, protected by Second Amendment to keep and bear arm, without realizing that they are living in a different epoch. They don’t need assault weapons to protect themselves from invaders or their own government or to kill chicken, turkey, bore, or cow for tonight dinner, at least in cities. We all have moved away long time (about 100,000 years ago) from the hunter-gatherer society. Most important, Americans project themselves as the most civilized people in the Western world, but in reality it is a black spot.

By the way, if “We the People” can change the Constitution with Second Amendment, why not make the Third Amendment. Stating that now on Second Amendment is expired or only such and such clause of It with these restrictions are applicable. The rest are null and void. Especially, given the fact that “We the People” can change or reinterpret the Holy Bible with changing circumstances, why not a Constitution. The one which is written by fallible men and not given by God.

Carnage: © thejunction.net

Carnage: © thejunction.net

See the statistics, which is alarming: some 300 million civilian firearms now in circulation or nearly one for every adult. Guns kill 30,000 Americans each year. International studies have shown strong correlation between more firearms and higher number of homicides. American murder rate is roughly 15 times that of other wealthy countries. Children ages 5 to 14 in America are 13 times as likely to be murdered with guns as children in other industrialized countries.

However, just like in the past, the present hue and cry of Newtown massacre will become a storm in a tea pot. Hardly there will be any change in American behavior in terms of concrete measures. Politicians, officials, experts and media will all play their routine song and dance and then everything will become normal as nothing happened; until happens again and then same drama would be repeated.

Americans don’t realize that the biggest terrorist organization is sitting among them right inside the United States. It is the National Rifle Association. Its stand on protecting and promoting assault weapons (including one with grenade launcher option) in every inch of the country has resulted in death and maims of its innocent citizens more than total fatalities of Americans in all wars and terrorism. But no politicians can question the stand of NRA: both parties have sold their soul for the regular financial support from NRA.

Happy Shooting: © ammoland.com

Happy Shooting: © ammoland.com

Gun worshippers in America very proudly and repeatedly say: gun does not kill people. It is people who kill people. This argument is so flawed that one cannot resist but banging the head against the wall. The same day as the tragic Newtown shooting, a Chinese man stabbed 22 children in a school in the province of Henan without a single fatality. And it took about ten times longer for law officers to arrive at the scene in China than in Newtown. We all know that both offenders like most others in the past were lunatic: nothing new. But ultimately it is the gun which kills people. The more powerful is the gun, higher is the carnage. It is not rocket science, but let me repeat. The same lunatic holding a stick will cause less carnage than a knife, than a pistol, than a high power gun, than cannon, than a rocket launcher…

The bottom line is that in any civilized society no gun (whether it is legal or illegal) should be allowed in cities except for the law enforcement authorities. Period.

Bigger the Better: © caffertyfile.blogs.cnn.com

Bigger the Better: © caffertyfile.blogs.cnn.com

Those city dwellers who want to hunt, naturally they have to go to remote areas. And guns would be stored in a close by police station. Each gun will have a chip tag just like a luggage during air travel. Computer will follow and monitor the movement of that gun. The moment it crosses the defined hunting boundary, warning will go on and authority will cease the gun. The culprit will have no option than to forfeit the right of possessing the gun again. All cost associated with registration, the chip tag and monitoring the movement of the weapon has to be borne by the gun owner. Just like we all have to bear the cost of registration, licensing and insurance of owning a car; and so for owning a gun. Those living in remote areas where hunting is part of their livelihood would be exempted from the cost or would receive a rebate like HST credit.

No one has provided the evidence that gun saves life. For the sake of argument even it saves life, the question is what is the tradeoff? Will a civilized society tolerate massacre of dozens or saving a few. The answer is clearly “No”. Even a fool will not accept such a bet: certain death of dozens of innocent by guns with the possibility that gun can save a few lives with the remote probability that actually it would happen – is lunatic.

© Mahmood Iqbal and ipotpourri.wordpress.com: 2012


About Mahmood Iqbal

An Economist (PhD) and a Professor (Part-time) at the Carleton University, Canada. The author of "No PhDs Please: This is Canada." Besides doing research on serious economic and policy issues for the last 25 years, like to write journalistic pieces on subjects of interest. An amateur Photographer. ... Blog appears to be appropriate venue to post my wondering thoughts without any peer pressure and academic review process.
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