Dear Mr President
Your country and all right-minded people are distressed and depressed at yet another gun-related massacre. In 1966, Charles Whitman killed 16 people from "the Tower" at the University of Texas. In 1999, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold massacred 13 at Columbine High School in Colorado. Twelve killed in Aurora this summer, at the screening of a movie. Now, 20 children senselessly murdered in Newtown, Connecticut. There have been others, including some abroad. Emotions are running high. The calls come again to impose restrictions on the ownership of guns. However I think that you should listen to the gun lobby and weigh up the more sensible of their arguments. Then look at the facts on these massacres. Then look at how many people are killed in automobile accidents on Highways. How many are killed by drugs or drug-related killings. I am not a gun owner, I don’t like guns (except when they are examined on TV in shows like “Pawn Stars”) but I don’t like knives, drugs, and any domestic implements or substances when they are used to kill.
The gun lobby are fond of saying that duns don‘t kill people, people kill people using guns. The anti-gun lobby says that guns permit a death-rate much higher than if a massacre was attempted without a gun. It’s so easy to get caught up in the rush of abhorrence over the evil of these latest crimes. But they should not be used to fuel a debate over gun ownership, the second amendment and civil liberty. That should occur in the cold light of a normal day. Ideally without political interference or the pressure of funding or the emotive lobbying of those who use emotion and not reason to fuel their arguments.
Mr Obama, there will always be massacres. In your country, in mine, and in others. Some people are bad, some are mad, and some are both. The most recent one occurred because the perpetrator stole the guns from his mother. He did not legally own any guns. He could have stolen them from the person next door. So calls for screening of people would have made no difference to this person. Guns are everywhere.
I wonder what would have happened had there been an armed US Marshall at the school? They have them now on some flights. He or she may have been able to intervene to stop the massacre. If your country is not going to radically change the law on guns, then perhaps the solution should be to better arm those people who are charged with protecting people, including children, who are within their charge.
A school, a sporting event, a theatre, a cinema, in fact anything where citizens come together en masse is an opportunity for the deranged, the resentful, the mad and the bad, to kill lots of innocents. My solution, Mr President would be to have better armed security at all such events and occasions. Yes, even to the extent of having an armed, trained militia-man or woman present at school every day. Perhaps even train head teachers in the use of guns. This would represent a real sense of security for those who come together to learn, pray, be entertained- whatever.
Mr President if you must have guns in the US, and I think that it is too far gone to try to take them away, then give people protection from them too. By equalising the odds and stationing armed deputies or sworn in assistants, to be able to guard against gun attacks. Of course they would need to be very closely checked to make sure that they too don’t go on the rampage. But such checks happen for your own security personnel Mr Obama, do they not?
Doing nothing is not an option, Mr President, but my suggestion is one that is actually likely to make a difference. Please think about it.
An Open Letter to President Obama: Listen to the Gun Lobby!
Dear Mr President