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La Cronica de Hoy, Mexico

Want Guns? They Have Them There

By Fran Ruiz

Translated By Sara Hunter

15 December 2012

Edited by Gillian Palmer

Mexico - La Cronica de Hoy - Original Article (Spanish)

Do not keep going around asking why. Yesterday’s tragedy has a simple answer: The United States has between 270 and 300 million firearms, and it is the country with the most gun-possessing civilians in the world (in fact, its population is almost the same number.) So logically, it suffers the highest number of shootings and killings in the world. The bad luck is that we live below this country and the arms that they sell freely up there are the same that feed the crime wave here in Mexico; but today we will talk about the misfortune that, this time, has happened to them.

Sometimes fate is cruel. It is ironic that the school where the worst carnage in history took place is called Sandy, like the devastating hurricane that flattened the coast two months ago; it is also ironic that it coincided with the anniversary (today) of the proclamation of the second amendment to the Constitution of the United States, the one that recognizes the right for every citizen to possess arms — any and as many as they want — and use them, if they feel in danger. The controversial amendment was drafted December 15, 1791, with the dangers posed to some fearful English settlers by a savage and unknown world in mind.

Two hundred twenty one years have passed; and Americans have not only lost that fear, but they have become more and more foolishly addicted to firearms. In 1990, 41 percent of Americans looked favorably on a prohibition of the possession of firearms, a percentage so low that it would scandalize any Western society. Despite the daily shootings in every corner of the country and the periodic mass-killings, in 2011 only 26 percent of Americans supported a gun-free country, a lamentable record.

The taste for the possession of firearms is not limited to any particular ideologies or races; all succumb to the charm of guns. President Barack Obama really likes them too, even if he would like more gun control. But even some Democrats, all Republican congressmen and most of the population want the opposite. In 1990, 78 percent wanted more gun control; now it’s only 27 percent. What has happened to the Yankees?

As mentioned in “El Pais,” the consequence is that the restrictions for acquiring firearms have not only not been made stricter, but they have actually been reduced. Today, it is legal in some states to carry firearms in public locations or carry loaded guns in the glove compartments of cars. The National Instant Check System counted almost 17 million arm sales in 2012, double what was sold annually a decade ago.

Viewed from afar, the conclusion is that American society is sick and prefers to endure an average of 10,000 murders per year by firearms rather than touch the Second Amendment.

Today, tomorrow and in the following weeks, there will be voices that will ask for changes in legislation, including that of a shaken President Obama, who already seems to have had enough gun violence. However, I am afraid that the debate will fizzle out and will not be reactivated until the next massacre.

The only hope is that yesterday crossed a red line with the worst massacre of children in recent history in the United States, and that the useless sacrifice of innocents will serve to make adults understand, once and for all, that there must be action, and that the president and Congress have an obligation to stop this madness.



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