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El Universal, Mexico

Obama: “Yes, Yes You Should”


By Arnaldo Kraus

Translated By Adam Zimmerman

30 December 2012

Edited by Jane Lee


Mexico - El Universal - Original Article (Spanish)

Picking the right slogan isn’t easy. It requires imagination, creativity and following the maxim “less is more,” which means saying a lot with few words. The slogan from Barack Obama’s first presidential campaign, “Yes, we can,” synthesized the desire for change and the need to come together. When he finishes his second presidential term, Obama will not have to imagine beautiful new meaningful phrases. He will have to look back.

During his first term and the beginning of his second, the killing of citizens by other citizens has caused blood and ink to run. The blood from the massacre of children and adults in a school in Newtown hurts differently because of the innocence of the victims and the heroism of the teachers who gave their lives to protect their students. This killing should mark a new presidential commitment. On this occasion the slogan, written by the memories of the cadavers, is society’s demand to Obama: “Yes, yes you should.”

Without a third campaign, as part of his ethical obligation — in addition to nationalizing health care, closing the infernal prisons of Guantanamo, reducing unemployment and abolishing the death penalty, especially for minors — Obama should disarm his fellow citizens and prohibit the sale of arms. If he does this, he will prevent future killings in the United States, and maybe, by limiting the sale of arms to Mexican drug dealers, he will also reduce the number of killings in our country. President Obama should do something more than speaking empathetic words; he should prohibit the sale of arms.

There does not exist, strangely enough, a barometer that measures, after weighing such variables as level of education and distribution of income, the degree of humanitarian, ethical and cultural development of a country in relation to the number of citizens killed by firearms. Killed not in wars but in the streets, in elementary schools (Newtown, 2012), in universities (Virginia, 2007), in cinemas (Colorado, 2012), in temples (Milwaukee, 2012) and in a long, sad et cetera. If such a barometer did exist, the United States, after a comparison with its “peers” (Australia, New Zealand, the U.K., France), would occupy last place.

How could it not be in last place? One out of two homes in the U.S. has at least one firearm, with a total of 270 million available for domestic use. 5 percent of the world’s population lives in the U.S.; its inhabitants own around 40 percent of the total guns in the world in civilian hands. Each year there are around 12,000 homicides and 200,000 people are wounded by firearms. By way of example: On September 11, 2001, the attacks in the U.S. killed 3,000 people. Since then more than 140,000 people have been killed by firearms and more than 2 million have been wounded. How could it not be in last place? The U.S.’ atavism on this issue is a shocking contrast to its level of cultural, scientific and medical knowledge. Rooted in the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, ratified in 1791, the defenders of the right to bear arms, supported by the successful and powerful National Rifle Association, continue validating the philosophy of the Second Amendment, whose leitmotif is the right to bear arms: “A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

More than two centuries have passed since the amendment was written. The geography of history, humanity and politics and the geography of reality have changed. If it is not possible to re-amend the Constitution, it should at least be possible to change the way of thinking about arms and the stupidity of keeping arms in homes. The news reports on the killing at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown is just too raw: Adam Lanza, the 20-year-old criminal, learned to use the two pistols and the rifle with which he killed his mother in her house and 26 other people under the tutelage of his parent, under the protection of the Second Amendment and with the complicity of the National Rifle Association.

Obama’s dream should be to amend the Constitution and prove that the Nobel Peace Prize, awarded in 2009 — when his accomplishments were minimal — for “his vision of a world without nuclear arms,” was awarded to him for a reason. If Obama has not obtained nuclear disarmament he should at least disarm his fellow citizens. If he closes some stores where guns are sold as if they were Diet Coke, he would also stop Mexican drug traffickers from stocking up in U.S. stores, enriching their owners and killing their compatriots. A few days ago, the U.S. leader said, “This time, the words need to lead to action. We need to get serious.”* We will see.

From the “Yes, we can” from Obama, to the “Yes, you must” for Obama, the path is as long or as short as civil society and the presidential team wish it to be.

*Editor’s Note: The second sentence of this quote, accurately translated, could not be verified.



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