Quite separately from the human tragedy of the shootings in Aurora, Colorado the intriguing issue of gun law in the US comes, once more to the fore. This seems to work on two levels: public safety; and the principles of ‘spontaneous order’ which so coloured the thinking of the founding fathers of the United States itself.
One outbats the other when it comes to priorities when it comes to American politics. It took a Conservative [Of sorts – Ed], to lay out the case for prioritising the former, albeit in the broadest of broad terms:
You know, soothing words are nice, but maybe it’s time that the two people who want to be president of the United States stand up and tell us what they are going to do about it, because this is obviously a problem across the country,”
The problem, in bald terms, is that the right to bear arms has been an American citizen’s birthright since the days when it took two and a half minutes to reload a weapon of choice. These days you can lay waste to a dozen lives wel within that time and injure many more.
How many of those in the cinema last week bore arms thinking it would protect them from such an attack?
It would certainly have been the right of most of them to do so, but it turns out the only thing that saved more was the prompt arrival of the state’s police and emergency services.
Lionel Shriver has given up commenting on such events, arguing that paying attention to such perpetrators only encourages others.
The intention of the founding fathers of the American Republic is a bulwark many in the gun lobby invoke and it is well dug in…
It is hard to see it easily unravelled, even at state level. But if it is not tackled at the level of the Constitution, calls for reforms are worthless.
I am not sure how anyone could argue that the founders’ intentions were permissive of such thoughtless mass slaughter of its own citizens?
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty