In December 2012, a gunman walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, and killed 20 children, six adults, and himself. Since then, there have been at least 1,607 mass shootings, with at least 1,846 people killed and 6,459 wounded.
The most recent mass shooting being at the Stoneman Douglas high school in Parkland, Florida in which 17 school age human beings had their lives unceremoniously snuffed out.
Despite the constant shootings and the loss of innocent lives, the United States Congress has been frozen into immobility out of fear of the powerful gun lobby the National Rifle Association(NRA).
The NRA is not the only gun lobby in the United States but it is by far the most vociferous of the twenty-two (22) or so other lobby groups including the powerful Gun Owners of America (GOA)…
The issue of guns in America continues to be a serious issue as incidents of mass shootings, including school shootings, continue unabated.
The American war of independence was won against Great Britain by men with guns, not a standing army but average citizens who decided to defend the land they themselves had appropriated from the native Americans.
The second amendment to the constitution guarantees Americans right to bear arms, the second amendment is next only to the first amendment which guarantees the right to free speech. (see the rights).
There is far more than the history of America which goes into Americans love for guns. As important as the history is, the future is probably exponentially more so to gun owners. That, however, is for another conversation at another time.
According to the New York Times, over 30% of Americans own guns. From published reports, of the 30% who do own guns, those households own five or more weapons.
This presents a conundrum for the families who are victims of gun violence. It is equally distressing that even as children are being slaughtered in their classrooms, the Congress of the United States is either unable or too afraid to act.
There is much which can be done on guns in America, no one has an absolute right to own a submachine or machine gun, the Supreme Court already asserted that.
Journalist Robert Creamer wrote in (2011) “Beyond the question of what the Constitution means by the “right to bear arms,” we must also remember that no right is absolute. Each person’s rights are constrained by the extent to which they impinge on another person’s rights.”
That truth is exemplified in the 1st amendment to the constitution which guarantees the right to free speech, yet one does not have the right to shout “Bomb” on an airplane or “Fire “in a crowded theater.
Yet in case after case, the weapon of choice in school shootings and other mass casualty incidents seems to be the dreaded AR15.
Surely these weapons and others in their class can be removed from the hands of civilians but the average white male is not about to give up these fearsome weapons and truthfully there is no will anywhere within the body politic to remove them from their hands.That includes even in Democratic circles.
The power of the gun lobby cannot be ignored in the era of citizens united and big Kock and Adelson money in politics.
But the challenge for America is how does she extricate herself from the tenacious tentacles of big money power on its everyday politics.
Big money and constitutional guarantees do present a problem for those who would like to see an end to these quite preventable mass killings in the United States.
Smaller nations should take heed and learn from whats happening in America on this front and limit the power of their lobby groups in the shaping of policy.
In Jamaica, a small country of 2.8 million the power of the human rights lobby can easily be construed to be a criminal rights lobby.
We have witnessed how their aggressive advocacy have hindered effective legislation, resulted in the creation of INDECOM, arguably a crime enhancement Agency and has hampered the police’s ability to do it’s jobs effectively.
Now is the time for the people of Jamaica to wake up and not allow foreign-funded lobby groups like JFJ, INDECOM or others to dictate our politics or policies while the streets run red with the blood of our children, parents, and family members.
Now is the time to lay down some markers in the sand.
There is no constitutional right to have foreign-funded lobby telling us how to enforce our laws.