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After reeling from the appalling ruthlessness of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and, despite the continuing brutality imposed on innocent Ukrainian civilians, the world moves on; the inhabitants of the planet getting more concerned about the effect on the pocket. Law of the jungle I’m afraid.

On a lesser scale, but equally horrifying, was the mass killing last month of 18 children and two teachers at Uvalde Primary School in Texas. Again, the world moves on; but should the United States? In 2020 alone, more than 45 000 Americans died at the end of the barrel of a gun, a 43 per cent increase over 10 years earlier. The powerful gun support lobby simply trots out the ‘Second Amendment’ mantra. What’s that?


The United States’ Constitution came into force rather a long time ago; the year 1789 to be precise. Since then it’s been amended 27 times in order to meet the needs of a nation that has changed enormously since the 18th century. The Second Amendment in December 1791 – not 1971 (note for proofreader (lol)) - protects the right to keep and bear arms. But the wording suggests that it focused on military use and it wasn’t until 2008 that the US Supreme Court confirmed for the first time that the right belongs to individuals, including self-defence in the home. That’s your gun lobby working!

The horrible mass shooting at Uvalde Primary has revived the controversy over guns in the USA. Proponents of increased gun control argue that limiting access to guns will save lives and reduce crime; opponents insist that it would actually do the opposite by preventing law-abiding citizens from defending themselves against armed criminals. They don’t mention that gun suicides outnumber gun murders. Not surprising at all; it’s a lot easier, in the anger and despair of suicidal thoughts, to shoot yourself than pursue the same objective by banging your head against a brick wall. Guns are very dangerous indeed; especially in the home. Constitutions should not be considered as set in stone. When the Second Amendment was passed in 1791, did you have people going into schools mercilessly shooting little children and their devoted teachers? Of course not.


It’s an outcome of the dysfunctionality in today’s world. And the only thing certain about our imperfect global society is that it will continue to change, and forever with gains and deficits.
In the days when the Second Amendment was passed, did you have internet-provided extreme violence and pornography to warp the minds of vulnerable individuals? No, you did not. And when you have over 300 million people, as has the United States, with 390 million guns, by the law of averages you’re going to get some deranged individual who has read about despicable acts of human destruction; and then goes out and does some.

You have all sorts of anomalies within the gun laws of the United States and different rules in its different states. Some even allow guns to be sold without permits and proper scrutiny of purchasers. In some states, semi-assault weapons are allowed; and there’s no control over private sales. The 2008 ruling did, as ‘dicta’, (there goes that archaic use of a dead language again) state that the right to bear arms is not unlimited. It was referring to the existence of certain long-standing prohibitions such as those forbidding ‘the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill’ or restrictions on ‘the carrying of dangerous and unusual weapons’. But how do you manage that?

In the most recent carnage the culprit bought two assault rifles on his 18th birthday from a licensed dealer. A bullied loner is the only view anyone had about him; yet he was crazy. The mind boggles at the thought of how insane a person has to be to methodically prepare weaponry for the occasion, shoot grandma first, then embark on the merciless destruction of innocent children and teachers, petrified in those terror-stricken moments before their violent death.


But a Constitution should not be considered as set in stone. The Second Amendment is waved at critics as if it is. No law should be so. Yet isn’t it remarkable and rather worrying that the greatest democracy in the world is the only one by far with extensive evidence of such terrible incidents? Democracy is morally right but practically difficult to implement and sustain. Politicians of both major parties, fearful of retaliation from the National Rifle Association (NRA), solemnly offer their ‘thoughts and prayers’ while refusing to enact reasonable and constitutional measures now favoured by a majority of Americans; such as expanded background checks for gun purchases and the reinstatement of a federal ban on assault weapons, which Congress allowed to lapse in 2004. Put simply, the outrage and sympathy fades as society moves on. How about suggesting a referendum on those key issues? The politicians might get a bit of a shock. Just like Mr Cameron and his Tories in the BREXIT vote of 2016.

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