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L'Humanite, France

Los Angeles vs. Utah: The Two
Faces of the US on Guns

By Christophe Deroubaix

Translated By Tara Ferguson

30 December 2012

Edited by Kyrstie Lane

France - L'Humanite - Original Article (French)

A few weeks after the killings in Newtown, the United States is divided about weapons. In Los Angeles, the police have launched an operation to buy weapons from individuals and have recovered, among other things, two rocket launchers. In Utah, people are re-arming themselves to ensure their safety.

In the last few days, everyone has been talking about it in Utah. There are dispatches, articles that go over those dispatches and TV reports. On Thursday, 200 teachers, up from the usual number of around 15, participated in an annual training in weapons handling. A few weeks after the massacre in Newtown, every form of media shows the progression of a reaction inspired by the National Rifle Association, the powerful lobby whose president declared last week, “The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is with a good guy with a gun.”

One could even say that idea is catching on in the United States. It is obvious that the fear remaining after Newtown has provoked a fallback position and a position of armament for Americans. But it must be specified that Utah, which is being watched by the entire country, is the 45th state by population with 2.5 million inhabitants, of whom 60% are Mormon, is a bastion for the Republican Party (Romney, a local favorite, won 72% of the votes there), is very linked to the National Rifle Association and is already at the forefront of states with the highest number of weapons per capita.

$100 for a Pistol

There is another America, in that it behaved differently after Newtown: the America of Los Angeles, which has 3.8 million inhabitants, 40% more than in Utah, and is a bastion for the Democratic Party (Obama won three quarters of the votes). On Wednesday, the city put into place a buyback operation, with vouchers in exchange for firearms: $100 for a pistol, $200 for an assault rifle. “I think that everyone has been traumatized,” declared Antonio Villaraigosa, the mayor. “People told themselves, ‘Let’s not wait for Congress, I’m tired of the endless debate on the legislation of firearms, I want to do something.’”* The result: 2,037 firearms recovered, including 75 assault weapons and two rocket launchers.

On the issue of firearms, Los Angeles and Utah symbolize the unending arm wrestle in the United States. But we make ourselves to believe, with stories that always give into sensationalism and cliché, that all of America is in the image of Utah.

*Editor’s Note: This quote, accurately translated, could not be verified.



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