The Connecticut Shootings

The school shooting in Newtown, CT is one of 61 mass shootings that have occurred in the U.S. since 1999. The U.S. is not the only country that has had this type of shooting, but it has them more often than any other country. (The Washington Post offers some interesting statistics on this. You can find them here. This reasons for this are probably complex, but it is not unreasonable to suppose that the U.S.’s shredded social safety net and lax gun control are factors in this. We live in a country where a man who was obviously schizophrenic, Jared Loughner, was able to purchase a Glock 19 without any trouble.

I come out of a political tradition that opposes gun control on the grounds that it disarms the working class. This argument might have some traction if there were workers’ militias in this country, but there aren’t. (The militias that do exist all have reactionary politics.) It was the George W. Bush Administration that allowed the ban on assault rifles to expire. You know that they didn’t do this so that oppressed minorities could fight the police. I think it significant that the people who most strongly oppose gun control laws also support “Stand Your Ground” laws, which are effectively an invitation to vigilantism. The Right wants people to live in an atmosphere of fear and violence. In such a society, people are more easily manipulated, and they are more deferential to authority.

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