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Amy Goodman
NationofChange / Op-Ed
Published: Thursday 27 December 2012
From the hallways of Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., to Afghanistan, to Somalia, the flood of U.S. weapons and ammunition fuels violence, death and injury.

Pull the Global Trigger on Gun Control

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While the final funerals for the victims of the Newtown, Conn., school massacre have been held, gun violence continues apace, most notably with the Christmas Eve murder of two volunteer firefighters in rural Webster, N.Y., at the hands of an ex-convict who was armed, as was the Newtown shooter Adam Lanza, with a Bushmaster .223 caliber AR-15 semiautomatic rifle. James Holmes, the alleged perpetrator of the massacre last July in Aurora, Colo., stands accused of using, among other weapons, a Smith & Wesson AR-15 with a 100-round drum in place of standard magazine clip. Standing stalwartly against any regulation of these weapons and high-capacity magazines, the National Rifle Association continues to block any gun-control laws whatsoever, and even trumpets its efforts to block the global Arms Trade Treaty, slated for negotiations at the United Nations this March.

On Christmas Eve, the same day as the attack in Webster, the U.N. General Assembly voted to move ahead with 10 days of negotiations on the Arms Trade Treaty, to commence March 18. Recall, it was last July that the Obama administration said it “needed more time” to review the proposed treaty, effectively killing any hope of getting a treaty passed and sent back to member nations for ratification. This was just one week after the Aurora massacre, and in the heat of a close presidential-election campaign. The NRA succeeded in helping to scuttle the global Arms Trade Treaty, delivering to President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton a letter opposing the treaty signed by 50 U.S. senators, including eight Democrats, and 130 members of the House of Representatives.

The global treaty shouldn’t be controversial. By signing on, governments agree not to export weapons to countries that are under an arms embargo, or to export weapons that would facilitate “the commission of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes” or other violations of international humanitarian law. Exports of arms are banned if they will facilitate “gender-based violence or violence against children” or be used for “transnational organized crime.” The treaty deals with international exports of weapons and ammunition, not any nation’s internal, domestic laws that govern the sale or use of guns.

Amnesty International last week called on the NRA to “immediately drop its campaign of distortions and lies about the pending United Nations’ global Arms Trade Treaty.” Amnesty USA’s Michelle Ringuette elaborated: “Every day, 1,500 people die in armed conflicts around the world - one person every minute. These unregulated weapons are used to force tens of thousands of children into armed conflict and to rape women and girls in conflict zones. More than 26 million people around the globe are forced from their homes, and their livelihoods destroyed, by armed conflict. The NRA must immediately stand down on its campaign to block a global arms trade treaty.”

NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre rolled out his public response to the Newtown massacre one week after it happened, blaming the violence on “monsters” and everything from video games to hurricanes, but not allowing that guns and their ready availability in the U.S. might have something to do with it. At his press conference, LaPierre was twice dramatically interrupted by peace activists from the group Code Pink. The first banner, held by Tighe Barry, read, “NRA Killing Our Kids.” Barry held the banner in front of the podium, silently, as LaPierre tried to continue his speech. Barry was then pulled out. After LaPierre resumed his speech, Medea Benjamin rose, holding a banner reading, “NRA: Blood on your hands,” after which she was hauled away. Two days later, on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” LaPierre denied that regulating semiautomatic weapons or high-capacity magazines would help stem the epidemic of mass shootings in this country.

The NRA exerts enormous influence over state and federal gun regulation. Andrew Feinstein, who wrote the book “The Shadow World: Inside the Global Arms Trade,” told me, “I have not seen anywhere else in the world a gun lobby that has the same level of influence on its own government as the NRA does in the United States.” He went on: “The U.S. buys and sells almost as much weaponry as the rest of the world combined. So what happens in the U.S. is going to have enormous impact on the rest of the world.”

From the hallways of Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., to Afghanistan, to Somalia, the flood of U.S. weapons and ammunition fuels violence, death and injury. President Obama and Congress need to take action, now.

© 2011 Amy Goodman
Distributed by King Features Syndicate



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ABOUT Amy Goodman

Amy Goodman is the host of "Democracy Now!," a daily international TV/radio news hour airing on more than 900 stations in North America. She is the author of "Breaking the Sound Barrier," recently released in paperback and now a New York Times best-seller.

So everyone is led out with

So everyone is led out with eyes closed and the school is closed off perhaps forever... I can believe the lone gunman thing and that authorities ignored a mental case raised on guns and going to shooting ranges who likely was flagged a the time of early college entrance as a genius type.... but I can also say what an excellent way to get gun control not for these things but for everything Homeland Security wishes to accomplish in securing our country by staging something.
Like the plans for Operation Northwoods with plans for planes full of people switched out for empty planes etc to provoke an attack on Cuba... or staging a bin laden raid we have to believe on faith or like with the Pentagon. A person with an office in the vicintiy of the 9/11 attack, who happended ot be out that day, tells me there is film of the plane coming in that he has seen... well if that were true why was it never shown like the continual repetitive showing of the the WTC planes???.
Taking it a step further, are some willing to provoke the real thing in order to get an effect they want and being willing to have acceptable collateral damage in order for it to happen. As in govenment by hysteria like looking the other way for Pearl Harbor to happen after a year or more of provoking Japan

Hegelian dialectic =

Hegelian dialectic = Problem/Reaction/Solution

Give LaPierre's NRA credit

Give LaPierre's NRA credit for being focused on the really important issue. In particular, proposed EPA and other agency rules call for use of cheap and widely available NON-lead shot, in interests of saving California condors and other endangered predators of wildlife carcasses from a prime cause of death. These rules wouldn't impact anyone's rights or abilities to own guns, to use guns, to hunt, or to shoot. However, NRA strongly opposes these rules - apparently because they would gravely interfere with a goal which is far more important than mere constitutional rights: namely, maximizing needless deaths not only of humans but of endangered wildlife.

The right to free speech is

The right to free speech is there not to protect the speech 99% agree with, it is there to protect the 1% whose speech may be considered offensive. The right to express one religious beliefs is there to protect all religions, not just the popular ones. The same protection is given to protesters with the right to assemble. These are rights I served in the military to protect and uphold. Now if some one yells fire in a movie theater causing injury or death, no one talks about removing free speech as a solution, the same is true if a certain religious group causes a problem, not a peep about restricting the right to religious choice. Why is that? When it comes to something as important as a right to self defense whether it's defense against a foreign invader, home invader, or even against our own government (if it gets out of control) when some one uses a tool of self defense that causes a problem, instead of looking for what caused the problem, we have a mob of people trying to destroy the most important right we have? If we as a people lose or seriously infringe on the 2nd we lose all the other rights too. Please watch this video and really think about what you are calling for. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iDivHkQ2GSg

I

I

The military industrial

The military industrial complex runs America - guns are money. The rest of the world is just grateful that no-one has the problem that the US does. Even Yemen, the second most heavily armed nation in the world with war and poverty does not have the kill rate of the US.

What do you mean by "kill

What do you mean by "kill rate". We must be honest with the data.

A couple questions for all

A couple questions for all the anti-gun folks.

-Why are the US cities with the most strict gun laws the ones with the most crime ? When I went to high school, early 70's, we could bring our guns to shop class and demonstrate proper care and cleaning as well as have guns in racks fully visible in our pickups. We would go target shooting after school. To this day the school has not had a single shooting. - Please explain how this could possibly be ? It's obvious that simply eliminating guns is not the solution. The real solutions are simply not allowed to be discussed.

RON_M: If what you say is

RON_M:

If what you say is true, and I'd like to see some statistics on it, what would it prove except that the cities with the highest crime rates decided to impose the strictest gun laws? But you say the cities with the harshest gun laws have the most crime? Well, what kinds of crimes are we talking about? Rapes, burglaries, muggings, assaults? Or MURDERS? That point would be critical, wouldn't it? At least someone who's been mugged or assaulted can live to tell about it, and perhaps relocate if they have a mind to.

But murders, they're fairly limiting to the victims, wouldn't you say? So, crime rates could mean a variety of things.

As for what you said about taking guns to your high school in the early 70s, that might be a tad unusual for that time, but if you were driving pickups with gun racks, you were probably in a rural or small-town location, not in the middle of a high-crime urban area.

But everything has changed since then, so that proves nothing.

No anti-gun proponent believes that having better gun controls, and banning assault-type weapons from private ownership, is suddenly going to make our country loving and peaceful and secure. But we can't just throw up our hands and do nothing, as the NRA wants us to do. Or turn our schools into armed fortresses, with cranky, out-of-sort, heat-carrying teachers bullying everyone in class with their handguns. And if you say the gun would be in a locked drawer, well, what the hell good would that do if an armed intruder suddenly burst into a classroom and the teacher is 20 feet from her locked desk?

Clearly, Adam Lanza was "trained" and experienced with guns, with his mom, at the firing range, and he had EASY ACCESS to rapid-fire weapons from her private arsenal. Would he have rushed off on a mass-killing spree with only a pocket knife? But wow, look at the choices he had, and what he carried with him, after shooting his mom several times in the head while she was lying in bed.

This is not the only instance of psychotic killers stealing firearms from a friend or family member and then using those weapons to claim innocent lives. So, the ACCESS to these weapons by people intent on harming others IS a part of the problem. Not the only part, but you simply can't dismiss it as a crucial factor.

And what are the "real solutions" not allowed to be discussed? Was Nancy Lanza herself not a gun enthusiast and collector, and would she be among those called "responsible" and "law-abiding" gun owners? Yet her hobby contributed to the quick and easy death of 20 first-graders and six of their adult would-be protectors. It contributed, like it or not. So we have to address every aspect of the problem of our gun culture. To ignore the question of ACCESS, whether through gun shows or stealing from private collections, simply is too important not to address.

We can't predict who is going to suddenly go bonkers in our society and decide on a spectacular suicide after mass murders, but we can use a little logic in addressing the problem of ACCESS which all gun-lovers seem to ignore.

Sure, cars kill more people than guns...but by accident, not on purpose. And so many people live in suburban areas today and their only way to get to their jobs is by private cars.

No matter how tight or restrictive gun controls are (think of Israel, where very few citizens have the right to own handguns, and no one can own assault-type rifles), you're still going to have "crime." But we might be able to cut down the number of homicides, and that's a worthy goal, IMO.

Reply to Ron_in_NM, Lying

Reply to Ron_in_NM,

Lying about it would serve no purpose, it's what I lived and is what it is. I doubt there are any statistics on it because there simply were no shootings. Crime ?, of course there was, but limited to theft. You're correct, we didn't have the AR's. The AR's of my day were the semi-auto, mostly 22's. We would "sight in" our deer rifles "30-06's and it's no small weapon". The point here is we didn't have the shootings even with these weapons. There wouldn't be as many 'victims', but the point is there simply were not the number of random shooting like exist today.

Any shootings I remember were between people who knew each other. My sister was killed by her husband with a rifle. It was a very very rare situation and no witnesses. I don't remember any occurrences prior or years after anywhere similar. Nobody blamed the rifle, they simply wondered what the hell happened.

I failed to include all the cities surrounding where I lived. There are probably 10-15 I could mention which were rural, surrounding Boise, Id.

If the cities with the most crime decided to impose the strictest gun laws, then why hasn't it worked ? And why do other large cities without those same laws with less crime. I'm simply stating that the police can't be everywhere and when the criminal doesn't know who or what house may or may not have a weapon is a deterrent. There are many cases where guns have been used in self defense yet never reported other than locally. This is a disservice to all.

You say that "things have changed", and what I stated means nothing. Well, what has changed ? That was my other question I wanted people to think about. I don't want to accept this new change. Why can't we go back to "before things changed".

One thing I wonder about: When I grew up, we hunted. We knew what damage the gun could really do. Could that teach more responsible handling of weapons ? We had no video games where you do all this killing without really seeing the result. It simply goes away when you shut the game off. We would see the dead animal, dress it out and take it home and use the meat. Those realities are not seen anymore.

When we create these "gun free zones", the truth is they're not really gun free. Perfect place for a bad guy to go. When has a law stopped all crime?

I don't pretend to have any answers, I simply want to help others look at this issue from another direction.

One thing for sure, this latest event is a new low in our country. 20 kids, I just don't understand.

RON_M: Nice to see you can

RON_M:

Nice to see you can reply without going ballistic, as far too many posters do these days.

You didn't address the matter of what kind of crime we're talking about when you say the cities with the strictest gun laws have the most crime. There are other things to consider, though.

How long ago were those strict gun laws imposed? Had anything changed for the worse in the general population of that city? (Like the emergence of too many violent gangs.)

And "crime" is too generic to have much significance. Even "violent crime" is not specific enough, IMO. The real test is the number of homicides. Have they gone down or up since the strict gun controls were adopted? If they have gone up, then some serious analysis has to be done to see why, and how to respond to it, because tighter gun controls should lead to fewer homicides. Not "no homicides," since people could still kill other people with knives, hammers, or their own two hands. (Or black-market weapons.)

But I'm not convinced that cities with tighter gun controls have more crime. Newtown had tight gun controls but it's my understanding the town had a relatively low crime rate . But "tight gun controls" did not prevent Nancy Lanza from having her own private arsenal, and all quite legally, I assume. So, just how "tight" are the tight gun controls, in the first place? Our idea of "tight gun controls" would seem very loose to a citizen of Israel, where they have REAL tight gun control laws. But I would not consider any laws that allow private citizens to buy and possess assault-type rifles to be "tight."

Guns-rights advocates seem to assume that all of us who want better, and stricter, gun control laws, have the naive notion that by doing so, all crime will disappear and we'll all turn into cuddly teddy bears. That is a paper tiger, and isn't real. Gun control advocates don't believe everything will suddenly be perfect with the adoption of stricter laws.

But in all too many instances of mass shootings in the last few years, ACCESS was a significant enabling factor. This access was easy because of no restrictions on purchases at private gun shows OR the comparative ease of stealing rapid-fire weapons from friends or family members.

So, this rampant gun violence in America is a complex problem and should be addressed in various ways. But only people who are blinded by their own beliefs would say that ACCESS doesn't contribute a significant element in homicides, especially multiple murders with rapid-fire weapons.

You asked, "When has a law stopped all crime?" Never, I would assume, and those of us pressing for much tighter gun laws do not expect such a Utopian outcome. Laws can't change human nature. But we can, by application of reason and logic, work to limit the access to weapons designed only for the quick killing of humans, and if we don't address that, we're just spitting against the wind.

Arming teachers and principals (and custodians, too?) and expecting them to be the protection against armed loonies is unrealistic. One wonders if every student entering the school should pass through metal detectors, but that doesn't seem terribly realistic when you think of schools with hundreds of students lining up to enter the school. Well, maybe something could be done as far as remodeling the entrance so that anyone entering could be seen from a distance and thus a clearly armed gunman could be stopped in their tracks. But that isn't perfect, either.

There just is no perfect solution to the American love for blowing away those we consider our enemies, whether at home or abroad. So, we have to adopt those measures that are firmly grounded in reality, not political philosophy or ideology. To do nothing is unforgivable.

RON_M, Why must it

RON_M, Why must it "always" be a black and white world? "The anti-gun folks." Unless you've been under a rock somewhere, the conversation "isn't" about "all" guns which effectively negates the "anti." Did you target shoot with a Bushmaster .223 or an AR-15?
Lie to me and tell you did. I've been hunting. I've been target shooting. I don't need an "assault weapon" solely designed to kill "human beings" quickly and efficiently to do either, and neither does any other "marksman." U.S. cities with the strictest gun laws tend to be our largest cities that also have tremendous difficulty trying to reign in the proliferation of cheap, black market handguns. As for going to high school in the early 70's, I did so as well. We played sports after school. We never had any shootings and still haven't. What a coincidence!

Woetopoe says: "U.S. cities

Woetopoe says: "U.S. cities with the strictest gun laws tend to be our largest cities that also have tremendous difficulty trying to reign in the proliferation of cheap, black market handguns."

Really, Woetopoe? ARE YOU ARGUING THAT GUN CONTROL DOES NOT TAKE THE GUNS OUT OF THE HANDS OF CRIMINALS? Did you just rehash the old phrase "if you outlaw guns, only the outlaws will have guns"? I think you did... Seems you agree that the handgun bans have only succeeded in stripping protection for innocent victims from gun-wielding criminals.

THEODOREROOSE..., I "do not"

THEODOREROOSE..., I "do not" agree that "handgun bans have only succeeded in stripping protection for innocent victims from gun-wielding criminals." Your obvious solution then is to return to a time when "everybody" so choosing could legally carry a gun down the street. The concepts of "civilization" and "a nation of laws" seems to have escaped your mental grasp. You live in a fantasy world where the "good guys" are always ready to gun down the "bad guys" and protect innocent women and children. The "logic" of that thinking created a plethora of "Boot Hills."
But, chimerical delusions are not surprising coming from someone with a screen name like THEODOREROOSE... Our 26th President, as accurately and historically painted by author James Bradford in "The Imperial Cruise," was fond of getting dressed up in hunting regalia and going to a photo studio, where he would stand with one foot atop his latest "kill." lol
"The Mighty Hunter!" Adjust the "rabbit ears" and go back and watch some more "Gunsmoke." And just for the record...the "black market" has "nothing" to do with laws. How many people would end up dead with no laws at all? History provides some relevant answers. Try reading some.

Memo to all you "Cold Dead

Memo to all you "Cold Dead Hands" heroes out there.

Since it is clear that you intend to kill yourselves if the government decides to inject sanity into our gun laws, please plan to do it in a concerned and efficient manner:

1) Choose your spot carefully, I would suggest out in the open so that your loved ones will not have an onerous clean up job

2) Select your weapon with care for the same reason, use a small caliber to prevent widespread blood and brain spatter.
3) Also if you score a through and through you will not endanger your neighbors
4) I realize that you are making a statement to protect your rights to semi and full automatic weapons, but select single shot please to avoid accidental overspray as you fall on the gun
5) Please advise the proper authorities via time delayed email where they can pry your weapon of choice from your cold dead hands. It will make it easier for them to comply with the law and remove one more gun from society
6) If your intentions are clear, and you have no doubts about the rightfulness of your action, do not clutter up the suicide hotlines. They have enough to do right now.
7) Make sure all your paperwork is in order, place your gun permit on top of your last will and testament and other useful documents that your loved ones will need.
8) If you feel compelled to write a suicide note, contact your local NRA rep for fill in the blank templates. They have proven themselves to be quite good at this.
9) Try to reject any ideas that anyone will care for your reasons, just accept the fact that you have the right to bear arms, the Second Amendment allows it.
10) Finally, in the spirit of defending that right, don't ask anyone else to pull the trigger that blows you away by challenging local law enforcement people, they have enough to do protecting our children from people likeyou.

If you are kind enough to follow these simple instruction you will have a wonderful experience secure in the knowledge that you have helped humanity by eleminating another potential murderer and at the same time done it in a considerate and humane manner.

TRI: Marvelous! Very clever,

TRI:

Marvelous! Very clever, and I enjoyed every minute of reading it. Chuck Heston's "Cold Dead Hands" performance fired up some of the NRA nuts. You forgot to mention the recording of the deaths of the CDH heroes, for I'm sure they'd want to leave graphic mementos of their noble martyrdom for what they hope would be a worshipful posterity.

I'd like to know what goes on

I'd like to know what goes on behind the scenes with the NRA. They loudly proclaim their "right" to own weapons of mass destruction, and advocate, as a solution, the arming of MORE citizens. Their actions, while harmful to the general welfare, surely must delight the gun-makers in America, so maybe that explains the rigor of the NRA in defending their outdated and dangerous "right."

Who's paying who in the NRA? It's a fair question.

I always enjoyed the film performances of Charlton Heston, and yes, even Clint Eastwood, but as political philosophers and ethical guides we have to look on them as total bums wrapped up in their own legends of themselves.

Now Wayne LP, with none of their talent for performance, advises us to arm volunteers to guard our future fortress-schools, as well as place an armed policeman in every school in the country. He lives in a fantasy world where gun-bearers never freak out or lose control, or can never be killed by a determined psychotic. So, some of the gun nuts now want to arm all the teachers and the principals. Can you imagine that cranky you-hating math teacher carrying heat when she glared or snapped at you?
(And if she keeps her handgun in a desk drawer, what if some pissed-off student takes it out? Or could she move quickly enough, with calm and determined aim, to take out an armed intruder?)

The NRA creates fairy tales of "good guys with guns" never doing anything wrong or excessive, and ALWAYS taking out the "bad guys with guns." Are they all consuming hash-laced brownies or what? So, because of the myths they foster NOTHING ever gets done in the real world about our problems with wackos or general bad guys having such easy access to tools for mass murder of innocents.

This, from Roget's

This, from Roget's 21stCenturyThesaurus:"Terrorize":alarm,appall,awe,bludgeon,
browbeat,bulldoze,bully,coerce,cow,dismay,dragoon,fright,frighten,
hector,horrify,intimidate,menace,oppress,petrify,scare,scare to death,shock,spook,startle,strike terror into,strong-arm,terrify. Any connections to the NRA are purely coincidental. Wouldn't you say? By content of the article and by professional definition, the NRA, is, quite simply, the largest, far-reaching and well-funded, "Terrorist" organization in the world.

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