MAY 30 — “The constitutions of most of our States assert that all power is inherent in the people; that... it is their right and duty to be at all times armed.” — Thomas Jefferson

Last week’s shooting in a school in Uvalde, Texas, where 19 children and two adults were killed, ignited yet again the debates and controversies surrounding mass shootings (see note 1), guns and gun laws in the United States.

As a teacher, I’m relieved to say that in Malaysian schools the most dangerous things we have to fear are bullying, swimming pools, dengue and exams.

As a Malaysian, I’m doubly glad we have no 2nd Amendment in our Constitution or the National Rifle Association (NRA).

We only have institutional “favouritism” enshrined in our Constitution and that’s already trouble enough.

Each time a mass shooting occurs in the US, the Left and Right will do that silly dance where everyone else is to blame except themselves.

It’s very obvious that no matter what happens, ideology and narrative always take pride of place.

A handgun is pictured through a display case at the National Rifle Association annual convention in Houston, Texas May 29, 2022. — Reuters pic
A handgun is pictured through a display case at the National Rifle Association annual convention in Houston, Texas May 29, 2022. — Reuters pic

If you’re pro-guns, such a tragedy will make you call for even more guns because what other protection will there be against murderers like the Uvalde shooter.

If you’re pro-guns, you’d call for even teachers (and maybe students?) to have guns. If you’re pro-guns, you’d demand that security guards be (more than) adequately armed.

If you’re anti-guns, almost the only solution you’ll have in mind is to enact stricter gun laws — the fact that killers and criminals are “unlikely” to adhere to gun laws won’t factor into your belief system.

If you’re anti-guns, the idea that a weapon in the hands of a good person could be the only defense against a weapon held by an evil killer will seem repugnant.

The Democrats will play up the strong Republican ties to the NRA and their well-known objection to gun laws, all the while ignoring the fact that many of their own constituencies aren’t necessarily the least violent in the country.

The Republicans, of course, have nothing to say except the usual Second Amendment (2A) pronouncements and the questionably sounding, “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.”

By that kind of logic, why not grant every 19-year old legal access to laser-guided missiles if they can afford it? You know, in case he has to take down a horde of gangsters threatening his apartment?

To be fair to the millions of families and individuals in the US who own guns: imagine that you’ve been a gun-owner for decades and you’ve never done anything wrong... in fact, you may have even protected many people.

Now the State says they want to control your use or access to firearms, because other people have killed innocents with guns. This can easily strike you as a deep injustice.

Now, throw in a) the constitutional element, b) the fact that bad people can themselves easily get guns and (as per above) c) the history and “culture” of Americans when it comes to their relationship with guns.

Is it any surprise that most American gun-owners will cling even more tightly to their weapons?

* Note 1: In the US, a “mass shooting” is defined as a shooting incident in which four or more people are killed (excluding the shooter).

** This is the personal opinion of the columnist.