January 10, 2013
One more incident in the long list of tragedy came up as one student shot another student with a shotgun at Taft (California) High School on Thursday. This is the 10th major bloodshed in the US since 1966 when a 25-year-old young man killed 16 and severely wounded another 30 from the clock tower of Texas University.
In 1791 the US Congress ratified the Second Amendment to the Constitution, which reads that “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” This was used to be the cornerstone of US legislation on gun possession until 1968 when the assasinations of three emblematic figures of national politics -i.e. President JF Kennedy, Martin Luther King, and Senator Robert Kennedy- pressed the Congress to pass a law prohibiting convicted felons from possessing firearms. This law also entailed the registration of all merchants trading guns through the inclusion of serial numbers and control reports.
Ronald Reagan’s assassination attempt on 1981 pressed himself to endorse the Brady Bill (passed in 1993), which established a national system for background checks and a five-day waiting period after purchasing a handgun, after a long-lasting legislative debate that was still protecting gun possessors and was focusing on detrimental elements of convictors (i.e. their relation with drug offences or prior convictions for violent crimes). Meanwhile, in 1991, a 35-year-old man fatally shot 23 people in Texas, wounded more than 20 before killing himself.
In 1994, the Youth Handgun Safety Act passed banning the possession of handguns by those under 18 and prohibited adults from transferring them to juveniles. While someone could expect that incidents would cease down, in 1999 in Colorado high school senors opened fire on students killing 13 and wounding 23 others. Eight years later, in 2007, in the campus of the Virginia Tech University an 23-year-old student killed 32 people and wounded undetermined number of others.
The list continues with 4 more major incidents since 2009, raising the number of deaths to over 160 with unlimited others being wounded. All US governments were unable to react and protect their citizens, while the National Rifle Association (NRA) was always creating barriers against more strict and effective legislations.
After all, there are two fundamental assumptions excluded from the data:
1. That the NRA is more powerful than any bill and act passed or endeavored to pass by the political establishment since 1931 and the first law limiting gun possession.
2. The absurdity of this phenomenon is unparallel in the modern Western history, especially when we are talking about a country -the US- with no immediate or geographically adjacent external threat. As of the internal danger or the so-called “hidden ennemy”, this can only be considered as a trivial propaganda.
The US security agencies are more powerful than any other state in the world and this is proved by the fact that internal peace has been so strongly preserved all these centuries.
All things considered, the Obama administration should undertake serious action to address this issue as the frequency of incidents in the last 20 years gives gun possession issue uncontrolled dimensions and set it as the major issue of national security for the United States.Dimitris Rapidis