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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Shootings


Deaths by firearm are unusual this side of the pond. I mean recently and, shall I say, privately, because we had our share of public and otherwise massive shootings for a good part of the 20th century with our World Wars and all. And the not so far away Balkan wars.

But last’s week shootings in a school in Germany http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7937554.stm and the cold blood killing of a female doctor at her surgery in Murcia http://www.diarioinformacion.com/secciones/noticia.jsp?pRef=2009031200_2_862098__NACIONAL-paciente-mata-medico show a worrisome tendency.

In one previous blog entry I mentioned the murder of an executive in the middle of a busy street in Barcelona and also a few days ago a new flare of violence in Ulster took the lives of two British servicemen.

Shootings are dependant of the existence and the availability of firearms. Their existence is several centuries old, automatic weapons have been around for more than one hundred years and modern countries have long set up regulations and legal requirements for owners to control ownership and limit indiscriminate access to such a dangerous objects.

The Economist names it “Not just an American horror” as school massacres happened in Germany in this occasion, like it did happen not too long ago in Finland. Both Germany and Finland, like many other European countries have highly restrictive gun laws which have failed to prevent such tragedies.

I tend to agree with the dictum of “Guns do not kill people. People kill people” so often used by the NRA. On the matter of killing people there have been no need to use highly sophisticated weapons, as the first homicide registered in our Jewish-Christian-Muslim culture was carried out with a donkey jawbone. More recently in Rwanda Tutsis and Hutus had it at each other very effectively with just wooden clubs.

Then again, automatic and semi-automatic firearms have the power to kill very many people in few seconds, are easily carried and concealed and that undoubtedly confers them a higher degree of danger. That’s why they should be controlled and banned.

Now then, what we are going to do with the two million large firearms in private hands in Spain is an open question. Mind you that the current killing spree of women is usually carried out with knives, blunt objects or just bare hands. The last woman death took place in Altafulla, a peacefull small community very near to our place, this past week.

But if we could get rid of privately owned firearms completely, no doubt mass killings would be hardest to come by.

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