'Surely we can do better than this?'*

>> Monday, 17 December 2012

You know, I try not to be contentious on this blog.  I try to keep my head below the parapet, for my family's sake, and mostly that's fine.

But the events last Friday in a small town in Conneticut, and the subsequent reactions of some have driven me to break that self-imposed rule today.  In an attempt to understand how it's come to this, I've been reading a great deal of what has been available online and whilst most of the articles are measured and respectful in their tone, the remarks in the comment boxes from people who are concerned that their precious 'right to bear arms' may be affected by this tragedy have been - well, not so much.

I know I speak as a non-US citizen and as someone who has never lived there.  It could be argued that I have no concept of being part of a society where it's normal to have instruments of death as part of the furniture in a home.  But that wasn't always the case in the UK, and I also speak as someone who's family has been directly touched by the horrific impact that guns can have on a life; my great uncle, aged only 17, shot himself in the face whilst cleaning a gun in the family home.  My grandmother, aged 12, was left to clear up the blood and the part of his eye that remained on the floor when he had been taken to hospital. He died two months later, after a great deal of pain and suffering. Such a waste.

So, you know what?  I think I'm allowed to comment on this.  I'm going to, anyway.

But I'll keep it short. So, for anyone out there who believes that the right to have a gun in their home is more important than one child's life - let alone 20, and the 6 heroic adults who died trying to protect them - I have this for you.

Charlotte, Daniel, Olivia, Josephine, Ana, Dylan, Madeline, Catherine, Chase, Jesse, James, Grace, Emilie, Jack, Noah, Caroline, Jessica, Benjamin, Avielle, Allison.

Those children had names.  Read that list, and then tell me you're not ready to give up your fxcking gun.

*President Obama in his speech at the vigil for the victims of the Newtown shootings.  You can read the full transcript here.


Pippa W 17 December 2012 at 09:03  

Totally agree. I would say more but I'm crying too much.

MsCaroline 17 December 2012 at 09:56  

The most shocking thing for me is the people who honestly believe, after all of this horrific death and destruction, that the answer to this problem is MORE guns. It's so ludicrous it makes me want to cry. How can you even talk to someone who believes that?

The Expatresse 17 December 2012 at 14:45  

Guns and lousy health care are the two main reasons I do not miss the US. That we can ban rap music with the WORD "gun," yet sell a gun a few aisles over at Wal-Mart sickens me.

Guns don't kill people, people kill people," they will say. "You can't get rid of all the guns out there," they will say. Well, just because we can't prevent every act of lunacy is no reason not to even TRY. I don't know how anyone can look at the photos of those little children and not want to try something. Based on our results, what we are currently doing hasn't been working.

Expat mum 17 December 2012 at 15:57  

It feels quite hopeless here as there are people on TV saying if the Head Teacher/ Principal had been armed she would have been able to take the killer out before he did any damage. Which means that she would have had to be walking around the school with a sodding great semi-automatic on her shoulder? No thank you.

Oh, and the hilarious thing is that I have just tried to send my in-laws a wine basket and failed. Although you don't need a permit to buy guns in Arkansas, you're not allowed to send wine. You know how dangerous that Cabernet is.

nappy valley girl 17 December 2012 at 16:20  

I could not agree more. Beyond belief.

Circles in the Sand 17 December 2012 at 17:30  

I wonder if you read the same comments I did, on the Piers Morgan blog - my blood started boiling I was so angry. I was literally yelling 'You're so stupid', before giving up and crying...

jeanie 18 December 2012 at 11:19  

As my US friend says, no-one needs a semi-automatic to go hunting.

Trish Burgess 18 December 2012 at 12:52  

I've read so many considered, sensible blog posts and articles like this over these last few days that it seems impossible to think the US can't at least start trying to find a way to decrease the amount of guns among its population. Let's hope so.

Lauren 18 December 2012 at 17:11  

It's so awful and I dread that even after this America will not ban guns.

Iota 18 December 2012 at 20:48  

84 people die every day in the US from gun shots. This tragedy makes the news big-time, but it's only a quarter of a daily dose of gun deaths. That puts it in perspective, in my opinion.

rolise 7 January 2013 at 15:58  

First may I say that I totally agree with you. I hate guns and the saying guns don't kill people, people kill people while true is also using semantics because guns make it easier to kill.

In many of these mass murder cases, however, it is not so much the right to bear arms as the fact that they use automatic weapons. No one needs those. I do know some people who live in upstate NY, Wisconsin and other rurual areas who hunt. We chose to disagree on the gun and hunting issue, but they don't use automatic weapons and agree with me that the sale of them is uneccessary.

Also when the second amendment was written there were no automatic weapons just rifles. did they even have handguns? Maybe we should limit the arms to those available then.

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