Opinion

Guns won’t provide peace of mind | GUEST VIEWPOINT

By MICHAEL SERAPHINOFF

Newtown, Conn. will haunt the conscience of America for years to come. The other day I took the ferry over to Port Townsend and I caught myself studying the little children with their parents also on a day’s pleasure outing. I kept asking myself, is that cute little one of the same age as the victims of Newtown?

This particular act of savagery troubles me and many others for the obvious innocence of the victims and the obvious ease of their execution. Because the killer lived in America in the early 21st century, the technological means to kill 20 children in two minutes’ time was no more difficult than obtaining the keys to the family gun cabinet.

The killer was one of a small population of people always in our midst in whom hatred appears to have overwhelmed all other competing emotions. Such people, in such a state of mind, are like a destructive force of nature that can sweep through a community and leave in their path a terrible wake of death and destruction.

I am, for the most part, resigned to the fact that this world will always likely contain such people, and it will always be extremely difficult to determine who among them will become the next Columbine, Virginia Tech, Aurora, or Newtown killer. What I am not at all resigned to is the shocking ease of execution of their human fire storms.

The killing power of modern weaponry combined with its ease of access in our society has created the conditions for “perfect storms” of human induced death and destruction for the foreseeable future. I say this because modern U.S. arms manufacturers appear to be hell bent on increasing sales through appeals to our lower instincts.

The response of that industry to the Newtown tragedy, through their NRA mouthpiece, has demonstrated their amorality once again. How convenient that their solution to gun violence mainly involves the sale of many more of their guns. They urge Americans to purchase millions more hand guns and semi-automatic and automatic rifles for their personal protection and to arm thousands of new guards to police our schools and other public institutions.

Will many people be persuaded that a gun at home and an armed guard at their children’s school will provide them the greater peace of mind? We might want to consider the quality of life in societies that have already gone even further down that road in our world today. Afghanistan immediately comes to mind. Would you prefer to live in such an Allah-forsaken society, with so many angry, frightened people who have armed themselves and who have posted armed guards nearly everywhere in order to try and achieve security?

Compare the life of the average Afghani with that of the average Brit or Aussie, who lives in a society that has all but banned public access to modern weaponry useful only for the hunting of one’s fellow man. Will we Americans choose the way of life of Afghanistan or England and Australia? The choice is ours.

 

Michael Seraphinoff, a scholar of the Balkans, lives in Greenbank.

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