American Priorities?

Sometimes it is too easy to be critical of our cousins across the pond but sometimes…

Apparently Kinder Surprise Eggs are banned in America because the little toys inside have small parts and could be a health hazard to young children. Very responsible, some might say too far in the direction of a “Nanny State”.

And yet anyone can walk in off the street and buy a semi automatic rifle* with the capacity to discharge several bullets per second.

*(Oh I know there are supposed to be rigorous checks but Newtown and Aurora seem to show that they are clearly insuficient).

Anyway why should anyone outside the military need such weapons? Really?

I don’t want to give the impression that American gun lunacy is the only cause of the recent tragedies, clearly there are issues with mental health care that also be addressed urgently.

But meanwhile we have to wonder how many more Newtowns there have to be before the image at the top of this post makes all Americans cringe with shame?

The world is watching.

9 responses to “American Priorities?

  1. Well, look at it this way; eating a kinder egg might make you gain weight, if you at a lot of them, while buying an semi-automatic might reduce your stress level.

  2. America has serious social issues to work out, and guns are only a small part of it. American society seems to have lost all concept of consequences, responsibility, and personal respect. I know individuals who still demonstrate these things but on the larger scale they seem to be absent. I believe this lack of care for each other has the largest part to do with the violence on our streets. Mental health concerns and debates are needed, not only to focus on potential violence but to happen at all. There is this feeling that everyone is ok and we shouldn’t talk about problems because that will make people somehow no longer OK. I don’t understand this reluctance, but we can all too clearly see the consequences.

  3. First, I would like to express my deepest sadness over what recently happened to those children and teachers. It was a horrible event. To prey on the weak and helpless is a manifestation of utter weakness itself.

    I live in the USA, Washington to be exact. I agree there are many problems that need to be addressed, some gun control related, and some more society based. It should be harder to obtain weapons. The mental health issue is the most prominent one in my opinion, and I’ll be the first to admit viable controls are missing. I myself own many guns and have a legal conceal and carry permit. I always leave home with a weapon. I will not think twice to put a bullet in a mugger on the street or a burglar breaking into my home… and I shoot to kill. That’s just me. Part of my military and law enforcement background that has become second nature. There are too many people without the adequate training or oversight before being allowed to own a weapon though. Sometimes that does scare me.

    I think one of the many answers to your above question concerning why there is a need for semi-auto weapons is essentially this… and keep in mind it is a very American perspective. The 2nd amendment is believed by many to be part of our constitution to enable the people, or the states, to stand up and overthrow a federal government if it becomes a tyranny or abandons a democratic way of governing. It would be exceedingly difficult to accomplish this if the people were prevented from owning weapons, or only allowed to own inferior ones not suited for the battlefield. Many will not agree, and their viewpoints are respected, but this is a concept ingrained in the American psyche. In fact, it is estimated we have over 300 million privately owned guns in this country that have been legally obtained. The illegal number cannot even be guessed at, and if a criminal wants a gun, they can often be obtained for less cost than one bought in a store.

    With that being said, we can probably expect to see tightened regulations, something instituted to address mental health issues, some restrictions on type of magazines and their capacities, better tracking and oversight of gun sales, longer waiting periods, etc… and I think that might be about the extent. All of these are needed though, and as a legal owner and regular shooter I agree with them entirely. To go further, I think every perspective owner of a firearm should go through the much more stringent conceal and carry permit process which involves fingerprinting combined with local, state, and federal background checks that I have. Anyway, that’s just my two cents.

    For those of you overseas looking at this from the outside though… you are going to see a lot of bluster and rhetoric from both sides of the issue for weeks, months, and perhaps years to come… but with approximately 47% of all American voting households legally owning guns and an estimated 65-75% of all voters opposed to outright banning, and a 0% possibility of a modification to the 2nd amendment passing, far reaching and radical change is unlikely. In 2008 and 2010 the Supreme Court made landmark rulings upholding the right of citizens to bear arms privately, without connection or membership in militias… guns are here to stay. Even if politicians passed legislation banning guns, it would be overturned on appeal to the Supreme Court. I don’t think the tragedy sparking this debate will be in vain though. There WILL be changes, many of which will be for the better… all of which are needed. I just wish it did not take a terrible occurrence like this to make the wheels start turning.

    • Thanks for your thoughtful reply. Let’s hope things do indeed change for the better before any more such atrocities occur.

  4. Reposted below.

  5. This has to be one of the few points where I disagree with you. The Easter eggs with toys in them really aren’t dangerous and banning them is kinda dumb. But as long as I live in this country I intend to exercise my right to bear arms. Where I live, hunting is a viable source of nutrition and predators, both two and four legged, are a legitimate threat. One of the issues brought up in the recorded conversations between drafters of the bill of rights includes a deep seated belief that since weaponry had been flatly denied to the common man in England in that century, their government would make no similar ruling. The lack of weaponry, they felt, was one of the methods by which the Crown had controlled the populace and they did not want a similar situation to occur in their new country. I happen to agree with their assessment. This is not to say that I think laws regarding who can purchase weapons and what kind of weapons don’t need to be better enforced. The laws already exist to order background checks and the like but they are generally allowed to remain very lax. That might be a good place to start. Personally, I think the problem in all of these tragic events was not the weapon. McVeigh used fertilizer, after all. The problem was that the people around the attacker for days and months and years before never took notice or said anything. Truth be told, in some cases, like the shooting in aurora, there were no obvious behavioral signals beforehand. We are not a docile species. The further we get from a functioning society the more common events like these will become. I don’t think guns have all that much to do with it. I’ve said many times at work to new officers, because we ‘re an unarmed department, that I don’t need a gun to kill a human. Guns let me kill them from a distance. This tends to shock people, but the few tomes I’ve had to throw down have proven me to be correct. I realize that guns are a disturbing piece of weaponry, but I really don’t think that targeting the weapon is going to work.

    • I accept your points and partially agree. But I am looking at this as an outside observer from a different culture. Of course there have been school shootings in the UK and other parts of Europe but they are much more rare here; as is gun crime as a whole… To me the problem isn’t guns themselves or the right to bare arms, it is the inadequacy of the controls and the types of weapon that proliferate. Hunting has a place. Self protection can be a real need which I accept. However nobody at all outside of the military has a need for the type of weapons that were used in Aurora and Newtown.
      I have to say also that America is the only place in the world where I have ever felt unsafe walking down the street;- wondering what anonymous maniac might be carrying a weapon that could dispatch me and ten others within a few seconds.
      However in this case I am worried that the overdue attempts to SERIOUSLY control (Not Ban) the kind of weapons that are available to the general public, may overshadow the equally essential debate that needs to be had about the control of and provisions for mentally disturbed people in America.
      Those twenty children must not die in vain. There are obviously problems in American culture and they need to be discussed and they urgently need to be solved.

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