America, stuck again!
On the morning of the 14th December, in Newtown, Connecticut, Adam Lanza took an assault rifle and two handguns into Sandy Hook Elementary School. Forcing his way through, smashing the glass of the front of the school and shooting the teachers who tried to save the small children’s lives, many played dead or were hidden in the cupboards of the school. The gunman, asked one teacher where her class was, all hidden, she proclaimed they had all gone. She lost her life for this action.
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. (Bill of Rights)
That conversation has to continue, but this time the words need to lead to action. (Barack Obama, 19th December 2012)
During the time Obama took his place in the Oval office there has been eight major shootings, ranging from schools to army bases. Four of these shootings have taken the headlines of national and international news. One was earlier this year when James Eagan Holmes, with recently bleached orange hair, went into a cinema showing the well-known Batman movie at midnight, and started to rip his way through the cinema. Each time the president and Congress have come to say they want to change the landscape and make the country safer, each time showing that this was only words of comfort for the recent victims of the attacks.
So what is different for America this time? Maybe because this time they were not teenagers at High School, young adults that were at University or soldiers at their base, all these events still shocking. These were young children, properly not fully understanding the events that took place before them, as they saw some of their fellow friends or favourite teacher lose their life. Or maybe this is once again the comfort given for now to the victims.
However on the 19th December, Obama and his Vice President Joe Biden held a press conference, the president put forward a task force, lead by his Vice President (who wrote the 1994 Federal Assault Weapons Ban) to help his federal agencies create a proposal to take to congress and push it through to help ‘reduce the violence’ in America. He said that the task was of reform and allowing the ban of assault weapons, something that was done in 1994 but ran out ten years later. There was also a sentence that would of made any Hollywood Executive shudder, the change of culture that glorifies gun violence. Also the shudder from private healthcare, already upset with Obama, with the proposal to bring mental healthcare readily available, pointing to the mild autism that Mr Lanza has been reported to have. So what could be the obstacle for this plan, The Gun lobby.
The Gun lobby is a very wealthy and powerful group of organisations, the biggest, NRA (National Rifle Association). This is big business for many people and the idea of a market disappearing, could mean a massive loss, meaning these lobbying groups and companies will try anything and everything. One PR stunt that has been popping up everywhere on nearly every media outlet is that of the author, Professor John Lott. He wrote the controversially titled book ‘More Guns Less Crime’. Proclaiming that when guns were banned from countries, crime went up. Mentioning in many interviews states such as, Washington and New York and then to countries like the UK. One very interesting point, as much of our crime rates, in very serious ones, has been a constant decline for decades. Professor Lott, as reported by Representative Chuck Schumer has a fellowship with University Of Chicago. This in course is funded part by the Olin Foundation part of Olin Corporation. I’m sure it is no surprise that this is one of America’s biggest gun makers. Reported by Mr. Schumer in 1996, 16 years after we see this man under the thin veil of an academic, spreading and preaching the word of the gun lobby. We see that damage control is on for the NRA where, only footsteps from the White House a press conference for the executives of the lobby group will take place.
As we see the gun lobby has pulled all its shots. Will Obama win this? I am not so sure. We have seen a weakening of the president, each time he has come forward to make a major change for country, which included the congress, from healthcare to Guantanamo Bay. This isn’t his entire fault, as he has a polarizing enemy that, after a presidential loss, the biggest a political party can face there could be the frostiest of exchanges. We have another major fight, the fiscal cliff that could mean the shutting down of the government if not reconciled. Although the White House does have friends in both houses, one famous one Diane Feinstein, a fellow democrat, and some Republicans who have been fiercely anti gun laws now softening to the idea.
It is easy as an European, and an Englishmen to think that it is all straightforward, but remembering Amendment 2, quoted at the start, the freedom to protect yourself and to hunt is integral to American life and there is not simple answer to the mess that America keeps getting itself stuck in. The sea change for real reform could come, but I urge Barack Obama to really sit down with his opposites, forget cameras and really knock heads together to help bring the real help that the vulnerable need, including the children of your country.