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If there is a mass shooting and anyone is asked where, the answer is likely to be the United States.  The reason of course is the easy availability of guns, even guns that fire like machine guns.  The Second Amendment allows the ‘right to  bear arms’ — to prevent tyranny say the proponents.  Yet, the world has moved beyond guns for the tyranny we face today is a tyranny not of guns but of the mind.

Psychiatrists say the psychosis gene, if present, expresses itself in the twenties or sixties.  The Las Vegas shooter, a self-made millionaire, was 64, the San Bernardino pair 28 and 29.  Unless they have previously sought medical help and labeled dangerous, guns can easily and legally be bought by such disturbed people.

After the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012, Senator Diane Feinstein introduced a bill banning “bump stock” weapons — an adaptation allowing machine-gun-like rapid fire — but it was defeated in the Senate.  So if you are a nutcase seeking ultimate renown, the U.S. welcomes you with weapons of your choice including machine guns.  Note, however, the country’s president has already topped you:  he is threatening to nuke North Korea.  The ‘land of the free’ is also the ‘land of the freak’.

The prevailing belief that Donald Trump plans to pull out of the Iran Nuclear agreement might have been the final catalyst for the Nobel Peace Prize committee in Norway.  It awarded it to ICAN, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons.  Unlike Aung San Suu Kyi  or Barack Obama, it at least is not going to dim its luster and blacken the award.

That war, so glorified in history, does not have an equivalent honor seems a curious omission.  Of course, there are always the spoils of war, and individuals persuaded to serve as gun fodder are beribboned and bemedaled, but no Nobel War Prize.  We really do not know if Alfred Nobel would have approved although surely all the promoters, the war merchants (now the military industrial complex) have enough resources.  So how about something named after Henry Shrapnel, inventor of the single most devastating killer from the battlefield of his day continuing through to the artillery carnage of World War I.  Awarded to the world’s most belligerent, it has interesting possibilities:  For example, Barack Obama would have been among the few, the very few, holders of both the Nobel and the Shrapnel.

Likely aspirants are busy.  On Wednesday (October 4) a joint U.S. and Niger Special Forces patrol was ambushed near the Mali border about 200km north of the capital Niamey — where the U.S. has a drone base.  A second drone base costing $100 million is planned for Agadez.  Now how many people in the U.S. know there are 800 men stationed in Niger, a number likely to increase as the new second drone base is readied.  The drones have to be serviced, the base guarded and protected, even though the drone pilots may be sitting at a terminal back in the U.S. itself — an odious thought and a precursor of the future as people kill at the other end of the world from the safety of an arm chair in an office.

The cost of the Niger ambush:  Four U.S. dead, two injured seriously enough to be flown to a base hospital in Germany.  What is happening in Nigeria, Niger and Mali is a direct result of Libya’s dismemberment.  Once it led Africa on the Human Development Index and kept fundamentalists in check, now it’s a hornet’s nest of factions spilling arms to Islamic extremist groups like the one that attacked the patrol in Niger.  Blowback from bad policy and a growth opportunity for the U.S. Africa Command.

The U.S. has been using war as a solution to global problems and disagreements for too many years.  It is a state of mind, a national disease, causing incalculable loss — countries destroyed, hundreds of thousands of lives lost, millions of lives devastated, a refugee crisis affecting European cohesion, even the recent German election, etc., and who is to say it did not affect a disturbed man in Las Vegas.  Glorification of war and its inevitable heroes has its costs.

Dr Arshad M Khan (http://ofthisandthat.org/index.html) is a former Professor based in the U.S. whose comments over several decades have appeared in a wide-ranging array of print and internet media.  His work has been quoted in the U.S. Congress and published in the Congressional Record.

 

 

2 Comments

  1. Sally Dugman says:

    My state — MA, USA — is considered to be of all fifty states here in the USA the fourth hardest on gun control laws and got an A- for enforcing lawssince 2014 after Sandy Hook massacre of mostly young children.

    Here’s some more information:

    My friend, Mel, sent me this e-mail, which was titled “You Need This!” It was a rye way of agreeing with my own stance. Contents included:
    Go to sigsauer.com/products/firearms/rifles/sig-mcx-virtus

    I’ll purchase it here if you want to cross five or so state line with a semi automatic assault weapon.

    This is almost as cool as my Smit&Wesson 46 mag “cannon”

    I can walk into the gun shop today, plop down $.2500.00 and poof within 15-20 minutes be the proud owner of this well crafted item.

    If everyone had a gun like this in his possession there would be a lot fewer home invasions.

    ========
    Aside from Mel’s email, let’s remember this information:

    Bowling for Columbine – Wikipedia
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bowling_for_Columbine
    Bowling for Columbine is a 2002 American documentary film written, produced, directed, and narrated by Michael Moore. The film explores what Moore …
    ‎Laura’s Law · ‎Daniel V. Jones · ‎Gary Plauche

    Political documentary filmmaker Michael Moore explores the circumstances that lead to the 1999 Columbine High School massacre and, more broadly, the proliferation of guns and the high homicide rate in America. In his trademark provocative fashion, Moore accosts Kmart corporate employees and pleads w… MORE
    Initial release: November 21, 2002 (Germany)
    Director: Michael Moore
    Screenplay: Michael Moore
    Awards: Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, MORE
    Producers: Michael Moore, Kathleen Glynn, Kurt Engfehr, Jim Czarnecki, Charles Bishop

    ========

    Oh, but there’s more and in this commentary, I’m just touching the mere tip of it.

    The U.S. ‘Right’ to Own Guns Came With the ‘Right’ to Own Slaves
    https://www.thedailybeast.com/the-us-right-to-own-guns-came-with-the-right-to-own-
    Dec 6, 2015 – The grim history of gun violence in the United States goes way back, aided and abetted by the same monstrous reasoning that once defended …

    The Slave-State Origins of Modern Gun Rights – The Atlantic
    https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/09/the…of…slave…/407809/
    Sep 30, 2015 – Gun-rights advocates have waged a relentless battle to gut what remains of America’s lax and inadequate gun regulations. In the name of the …

    The (Really, Really) Racist History of Gun Control in America – MTV
    http://www.mtv.com/news/…/the-really-really-racist-history-of-gun-control-in-america/
    States passed laws forbidding African-Americans from carrying weapons. In South Carolina, slaves — who were “of barbarous, wild savage natures” according …

    ========

    I stopped being a pacifist: Pacifism (???) | Countercurrents. I also know that fighters and murderers don’t always use guns and bombs to slaughter others. Look around at each country and you’ll see about what I mean. Just follow the news and you’ll see about what I mean. … Personally, I don’t see the carnage stopping whether involving napalm. white phosphorous, guns, knives, beatings and kicking, bombs, lynchings from trees or whatever other means are used. Yet, I know that I will resist with all of my might this carnage.

  2. K SHESHU BABU says:

    When the president consistently speaks of war, there is little surprise that some people will ‘ actually implement’ his words and deeds! The Los Vegas murderer might have been inspired by Trump war rhetoric …!!??

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