December 2012, Week 3


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Portside Moderator <[log in to unmask]>
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Sat, 15 Dec 2012 01:42:17 -0500
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Questions I Ask Myself About Connecticut School Shooting

by Juan Cole

I ask myself, "Why?"

Why do US cable news networks intensively cover these
mass shootings, making it the only story for a day or
two and prying into every detail of them, when they
aren't interested in preventing them from happening
again through banning semi-automatic weapons? Is it
just, like, a natural disaster to them?

Why don't the news anchors or discussants ever bring up
the simple fact that between 1994 and 2004, the Violent
Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994: The
Federal Assault Weapons Ban prohibited assault weapons?
The prohibition was not unconstitutional. Congress
foolishly put in a 10-year sunset provision, and of
course Bush and his Republican Congress allowed it to

Why doesn't anyone blame George W. Bush for these mass
shootings? He's the one who led the charge to let the
assault weapons ban expire. Why aren't the politicians
in Congress who take campaign money from assault
weapons manufacturers ever held accountable by the

Why don't the news programs bring up the reported moves
of Sen. Diane Feinstein to prepare new legislation
banning assault weapons and their accoutrements? Are
they so afraid of the NRA that they can't even discuss
the legislative process in public?

What in the world does the 2nd amendment have to do
with these incidents? Do they look like a "well-
regulated militia" to you? Semi-automatic weapons are
the 18th-century equivalent of artillery in terms of
their ability to kill. Do you think people should be
allowed to have artillery pieces in their back yards,
too? Is this some sort of sick joke, that you are
telling us our children have to die because the
Founding Fathers wanted madmen to have high-powered

Why does complaining about semi-automatic weapons (and
the means to make ordinary guns semi-automatic by
attaching e.g. ammunition drums) being freely available
always devolve into an argument about gun control and
hunting? No one minds if people buy rifles to shoot
deer with in the countryside. An ordinary, non-
automatic rifle can't produce a mass killing like that
in Connecticut because it cannot get off so many rounds
so quickly. Nobody hunts with an automatic pistol, and
if they do, they should be publicly shamed by, like a
group of hot girls calling them wusses as they set off
in their hunting jackets.

Why aren't there more class-action lawsuits against the
people responsible for the proliferation of high-
powered weaponry in our society? Lax gun laws and
inadequate security checks in Mississippi, West
Virginia and Kentucky and 7 other states meant that
they supplied nearly half the 43,000 guns traced to
crime scenes in other states in one recent year. The
guns aren't randomly acquired, and they aren't used or
Saturday night specials. They come disproportionately
from specific states.

Likewise, a relatively small number of corporations
produce and market semi-automatic weapons for the
civilian market. Why aren't they named and shamed?

Why doesn't anyone on these news channels ever mention
that firearms are used in 300,000 crimes a year in the

Why doesn't anyone on television news ever simply give
this statistic: In one recent year, there were 39
murders by gun in the UK, but 9,000 in the United
States? Why is it wrong to let Americans know how
peculiar is the situation Americans have to live in?


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