Saturday, 28 July 2012

Guns Before Religious Liberty

I learned this week that illicit gun trade is apparently a $60 billion global industry.  It is an industry that makes it possible for people to commit horrendous acts of violence in order to force their point of view on others, without needing to make use of the more sensible process of engaging in dialogue to resolve disputes.

The United Nations had hoped this week to finalise a gun treaty, which has been in the pipeline since 2006, in an attempt to curtail illicit gun trade and thereby reduce some of the violence around the world.  However the UN failed to do so.  Why?  Well because President Obama, and the other politicians in the US, were selfishly more concerned with winning votes, than doing what is clearly in the best interest of all people around the world.  The US pulled up lame on Friday and claimed they needed more time to consider the treaty.

But the US leaders did much more than show that they were selfishly only interested in what is good for the US, regardless of the cost to other people around the world.  They also showed themselves to be ignorant.  Various leaders in the US were extremely vocal this week about their concerns that the treaty would affect the rights of US citizens.  The executive vice president of the National Rifle Association said that: “(w)ithout apology, the NRA wants no part of any treaty that infringes on the precious right of lawful Americans to keep and bear arms”.  Even presidential hopeful, Mitt Romney, weighed in on the subject, saying: “I'm not willing to give the United Nations sovereignty in any way or form over U.S. citizens”.  What they all seemed to forget is that a treaty is between governments and that it has no power to infringe on individual constitutional protections and rights within the US.

What is however of particular significance, I think, is what this vociferous reaction of the US, towards a perceived threat to their right to carry a gun, says about the US.  You see the right of US citizens to follow their conscience and refuse to pay for contraceptives, which the Obama administrations HHS mandate wants to force them to pay for, has served to polarise the US.  Yet the mere suggestion that a US citizen may be deprived of the right to own a gun, capable of killing another human being, unites the US and secures the backing of both Democratic and Republican politicians.

Something is clearly wrong with this picture!

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