An awful tragedy unfolded this weekend in the US.
Yesterday I watched US President Barack Obama’s emotional tribute to the victims of the Connecticut shooting. Please pause with me a moment, as you read this, to think of the victims, and their friends and families.
I have to ask – why does the US have so many shootings? CBS report thirteen multiple shooting incidents in 2012 alone. And the US is the most heavily armed country in the world, apparently with 0.88 privately owned firearms per capita in 2007, four times what we have in New Zealand.
Here in New Zealand, the number of multiple-killing gun incidents in our entire history can be counted on the fingers of one hand. Very rare, though in one of the confluences of bad luck that dog my life, one occurred in my home town, the gunman within rifle range of my former family home.
What is it that makes people “snap” – and reach for a gun? What happened to talking? Being reasonable?
Looking in from outside, it seems to me that the right to ‘bear arms’ is an emotional issue for the US; it cannot be discussed without becoming politicised, emotionalised, fraught – involved. Other countries have their own sacred cows, equally as fraught, equally as emotional. Don’t get me started on New Zealand’s. Yet it seems to me that until all these issues can be disengaged from emotional entanglements, they are going to be hard to tackle.
Yet, when you look at what’s happening, surely the onus is on people to try? To talk? To step back, take a breath…and be reasonable?
Life is precious.
Copyright © Matthew Wright 2012