The Children of the Massacre Have Been
Sacrificed on the Altar of Money
By Nadav Eyal
Translated By Hannah Stork
16 December 2012
Edited by Kathleen Weinberger
Israel - Maariv - Original Article (Hebrew)
Thomas Jefferson said that the tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of tyrants — and patriots. The purpose of the statement was to say that it is necessary to pay a price for freedom — and if necessary, to cause others to pay a price.
This liberty is the idea behind the establishment of the republic; a central concept within that idea is the right to bear arms. In 18th-century America, bearing arms was an expression of autonomy in the face of an oppressive empire: an established opportunity to rebel against a tyrant. The bearing of arms was a broad and significant root of the tree of liberty.
Hundreds of years have passed. Over the weekend, the American tree of liberty was refreshed by the blood of little school children, children whose parents raised them and loved them and dressed them in warm clothing and waited for them to come home. This massacre did not happen in a tough or urban neighborhood, but in the heartland of the American bourgeoisie: in green Connecticut, in one of the most pleasant and established parts of the state.
The national mourning requires that the media be cautious: the bearing of arms is a hot political topic. However, on the other side is the rest of the world, which looks at the world and doesn’t “concentrate on self-examination,” as one American television network self-righteously claimed yesterday.*
Far More Weapons than Yemen
The world looks at America and does not understand what appears to be an insanity, a violent madness that murders and destroys its sons and daughters. In this case, the victims were five- and six-year-old children that just began learning their letters.
It is easy to focus on lonely psychopaths that trouble America’s children again and again. However, they are not the story. Adam Lanza, the latest murderer, is not the story. He is a banal evil. The collective madness is in the story of his mother, Nancy Lanza. She was a regular woman and an excellent teacher — and also a woman who felt the need to keep more than three weapons, including a Glock pistol, a Sig pistol and a Bushmaster rifle.
All of this continues despite the abundance of research that shows how the presence of a gun in the home raises the chances of injury or death. In the American play, the gun doesn’t just appear in the first act; it shoots the first act. And then it shoots the second and third acts.
In America, there are 88 personal weapons for every 100 citizens. There is nothing like this anywhere else in the world. The nation coming after America is Yemen: only 55 weapons for every 100 citizens.
Why did Nancy Lanza, a Connecticut teacher who lived in a city in which not a single act of violence occurred this year, purchase enough professional weapons to destroy a small band of terrorists? Essentially, because she could.
The American constitution promises the right to bear arms; today, if you want, you can purchase in the United States a sniper rifle (12.55 millimeter) with a range of nine kilometers. It could bring down a helicopter. A background check is not required to purchase such a weapon.
Since 1982, over 60 mass murders have occurred in the United States; in 80 percent of these cases, the murderer had legal possession of the weapon. Statistics like these necessitate, rationally speaking, a change in the law. But rationale doesn’t live there. Money does.
When America experienced a deep crisis between 2008 and 2011, the weapons industry added 30 percent more jobs. The industry enjoyed yearly revenues of $6 billion, which consistently supported members of Congress and Senate. The weapons lobby (the NRA) and its representatives tell America the tale of American liberty again and again: a liberty which must, apparently, include weapons — and as many as possible. They perpetuate the routine lie that personal safety increases when you have a weapon (and will increase even more if you purchase a hunting rifle, a sniper rifle and an automatic submachine gun).
The truth is that the innocents of Connecticut and Columbine were not sacrificed on the altar of liberty, but on the altar of money and the strength of the NRA. The tree here is not the tree of liberty, but the tree of dollars.
The writer is the editor of foreign news for channel 10.
*Editor’s Note: Although correctly translated, this quotation could not be sourced.
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