Question: How does a
mentally unstable man who was kicked out of school and had run-ins with the law
buy an assault weapon?
The weapon reportedly used in the mass murders in Tucson was
an assault weapon -- a Glock 19, semi-automatic pistol, with an extended
magazine. That weapon was illegal to
sell in the US from 1994 to 2004 under the Federal Assault Weapons Ban. It is now legal to sell and own. The National Rifle Association reports there
are tens of millions of assault weapons is private hands in the US.
The federal background check for people purchasing such
weapons only prohibits selling them to people who have been legally
determined to be mentally defective, found insane or convicted of crimes. This man had not been found legally mentally
defective or convicted so he was legally entitled to purchase an assault
weapon. In Arizona he was legally
entitled to carry the weapon in a concealed manner.
According to the National Rifle Association, the US has well over 250 million guns in private hands.
That is more, according to the BBC, than any country in the world. The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence reports that, in one year, guns murdered 17 people in
Finland, 35 in Australia, 39 in England and Wales, 60 in Spain, 194 in Germany,
200 in Canada, and 9,484 in the United States.
Does the US really need tens of millions of assault weapons
and hundreds of millions of other guns?
We already put more of our people in prison than any country in the
world and we spend more on our military than all the rest of the world combined. How fearful must we be?
Question: Why is
there so little talk of terrorism? Apparently, when a mentally unstable white male is accused,
terrorism is not the first thing that comes to mind. For example...
When Clay Duke, a white male, threatened Florida school
board members with a gun and shot at them before shooting himself, in December
2010, he was mentally imbalanced.
When Michael Enright, a white male, was arrested for
slashing the throat of a Muslim NYC cab driver in August of 2010, his friends
said he had a drinking problem.
When Byron Williams, a white male, was arrested after
opening fire on police officers and admitted he was on his way to kill people
at offices of a liberal foundation and a civil liberties organization, in July
2010, he was an unemployed right-wing felon with a drinking problem.
When Joe Stack, a white male, flew his private plane into a federal building in Austin, Texas, in February 2010, he was angry with the IRS.
Therefore, it appears that, when a white male is accused of mass murder, terrorism is
rarely considered. Rather, it becomes a terrible tragedy -- but not one where race, ethnicity or religion need be examined.
However, if the accused had been Muslim, does anyone doubt whether
this would have been considered an act of terrorism? US Muslims could have expected increased
surveillance and harassment, both at home and in the places where they work and worship. They could have expected a Congressional
inquiry into the radicalization of their people. Oh, I forgot -- Representative Peter King (R-NY) has
already started that one!