An American Disease
By Sami Kohen
Translated By Dayla Rogers
18 December 2012
Edited by Lauren Gerken
Turkey - Milliyet - Original Article (Turkish)
Shortly after every mass shooting in the U.S., the country becomes embroiled in discussions about gun control. Scientists, politicians and opinion leaders claim that precautions absolutely must be taken against firearms.
These things have been discussed for years, but there haven't yet been any results.
Now, in the wake of Adam Lanza's killing spree in a Connecticut school last Friday – in which he murdered 26 people, 20 of whom were small children – the same voices can be heard once again: “Gun control now!”
At the head of those demanding gun control is President Obama. In a speech meant to show his conviction, the American leader pledged to take action in order to bring an end to these tragedies.
This time around, it seems as if the gravity of what happened at Newtown has struck Americans deeply. But will these emotions succeed in changing the status quo of weapons in the U.S.?
A Gun for Every Person!
Think about it: there are 300 million registered weapons in the U.S. That comes to one weapon for nearly every person. Of course, if you don't count women and children, that means many Americans have more than one gun in their homes. And these aren't just pistols, but a variety of rifles and automatic weapons!
It is extremely easy for Americans to become gun owners. You can find guns on the shelves of supermarkets like Wal-Mart. You can order guns online. There may be gun regulation in the state in which you reside (such as in Connecticut), but you can easily go to another state and procure any weapon you want!
There are many factors that make it difficult to restrict weapons sales or bring them under tight control in the U.S. One of these is the influence of the “gun lobby.” Following the assassination of John F. Kennedy in the 1960s, President Lyndon B. Johnson presented gun control legislation to Congress, but it failed due to obstacles put in place by the pro-gun lobby.
The U.S. Constitution defines owning a weapon as one of the fundamental rights of an individual. Therefore, the issue has both legal and political dimensions. Republicans fiercely defend this “constitutional right.” At the moment, the Republicans constitute a majority in the House of Representatives.
What About Toys and Video Games?
For most families in the U.S., gun ownership is a part of their lifestyle. We don't have to look far to find an example: the murderer Adam Lanza used the weapons that his mother kept as a “hobby!”
Undoubtedly, these kinds of attacks, which have become frequent, will become less common if the U.S. puts the right precautions in place for gun control.
But the issue isn't just about guns. The people who carry out these killings have psychological and social problems. Adam Lanza was one such mentally disturbed person.
Thus, there is a mental health dimension to this problem as well. Most importantly, violent toys (toy guns) and violence in video games and TV are problems.
This is not just a problem for the U.S., but for the whole world.
It is important to consider these other factors, in addition to gun control.
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