The worst massacre in the history of the USA took place a few days ago at a university in Blacksburg, Virginia. A severely disturbed 23-year-old fatally shot 32 students before finally shooting himself.
The debate centering on easy weapons laws in the USA has been rekindled, prompting Virginia's Democratic Governor Kaine to maintain that he's not "interested in a debate over gun control." The same line was instantly taken by the Senate's Democratic majority leader Harry Reid, who warned against a “rush to judgment” on stricter gun control. In the USA, the individual's right to possess firearms is guaranteed by the “Second Amendment ." In addition, immediately after the killing frenzy at Blacksburg, George Bush's spokeswoman defended the rights of U.S. gun-holders. As long as all laws are obeyed, citizens have “a right to bear arms.”
That's really some conclusion! For the current U.S. Government, which is hardly known for astute analysis, it is apparently that simple. Equally astute was the remark by Republican Presidential candidate John McCain, who declared: “We have to make sure that these kinds of weapons don't fall into the hands of bad people."
It's nearly incomprehensible: Even a bloodbath like this - which could happen again any day - is not sufficient to make arms possession more difficult or even implement existing laws more faithfully. In some of the federal states, firearms are traded registration-free in flea markets and trade shows.
The tradition of arms possession is so deeply engraved in U.S. society that the discussion between proponents and opponents amounts to a “clash of cultures.” President Bill Clinton once said: “When the culture changes, we change the laws.” But cultural change is an immensely long-term affair, which is why a tightening of gun laws in the United States - the “freest country in the world" - appears somewhat improbable. But personal freedom should always stop the moment one's actions deny the freedom of others. Because Americans see it differently, Blacksburg and Littleton will be repeated.