Guns imported from the US are wreaking havoc in the Mexican drug wars and thousands have died. Yet, armed with the slogan “guns don’t kill people, people kill people”, the NRA and its right wing allies insist on fighting any attempt at gun control.
The Associated Press cited a recent US government report which stated that a total of some 68,000 guns recovered by the Mexican authorities over the past five years actually originated in the US. During that same period the Mexican drug wars has claimed some 47,000 lives.
Yet, the NRA remains steadfastly unrepentant and is sticking to its slogan, “guns don’t kill people, people kill people”, while it refuses to contemplate any change in US gun legislation. However, that laissez-faire approach to weapons dramatically changes when the NRA and its allies start talking about Iran and its pursuit of nuclear weapons.
During the 2008 presidential campaign John McCain sang bomb, bomb, bomb Iran. In a speech to the NRA, Mitt Romney was very forceful about not creating new laws to “burden lawful gun owners” while attacking Obama on Iran. Newt Gingrich on the other hand wants the President to give Israel all the weapons necessary to attack Iran and in a speech before the NRA, he declared that the right to bear arms should be universal.
Based on their logic, the NRA should be promoting Iran’s right to bear arms and in doing so they should adopt the slogan “nuclear weapons don’t kill people, people kill people”.
Of course this is an exercise in the absurd but that is merely because we are giving the NRA’s slogan on guns its due, by illustrating just how ridiculous it is. Should we be laughing?
Well, such an absurdity is worthy of laughter except that the reality is far more serious. Don’t get me wrong, I too am nervous about any proliferation of nuclear weapons in the Middle East, a region which is almost permanently in some form of turmoil. Yet, for those of us who think right and wrong and not right and left, there exists a very grim reality.
The 47,000 deaths in Mexico over the past several years are bad enough but it is by no means the whole story. The Legal Community Against Violence (LCAV) reports that “every year, more than 100,000 Americans are victims of gun violence”. For a third of these victims the violence is terminal.
Further, the estimates from www.globalissues.org are that some “300,000 to half a million people” around the world are killed by firearms each year.
While those on the right worry about Iran’s as yet non-existent WMDS, the real WMDs, the guns which they unflinchingly support, are killing thousands upon thousands of ordinary people every day.
It is by such means that politics create tragedies.
Jonathan Ledwidge is the author of the books Clearing The Bull: The Financial Crisis and Why Banks Need a Human Transformation and a Mannequin for President.