Analyst Skeptical of US Gun Law Reform After Parkland Shooting
AP Photo/ Wilfredo LeeOpinion03:43 16.02.2018Get short URL
One day after the gut-wrenching events of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, that killed 17, Radio Sputnik analyzed the answer to the question on everyone’s mind: what’s next for gun laws in the US?
Brian Becker and John Kiriakou of Radio Sputnik’s Loud & Clear were joined by two guests: Dave Lindorff, an investigative reporter and columnist who has been a frequent critic of the US government, and Gilbert Mercier, author and editor-in-chief of News Junkie Post.
”School shootings are a weekly event in the United States, going back a number of years,” said Lindorff. “This is a bigger one than usual, but that’s part of the problem. It’s so easy for an 18-year-old kid to buy an AR-15 and multiple clips for it that enable him to slaughter so many people in such a short amount of time.”
“You could listen to the noise: he was firing off two or three rounds a second with his semi-automatic AR-15 military assault rifle. Why? If we know that young people’s brains aren’t even mature enough to have a full impulse control until they’re 24- to 26-years-old, and they’re starting to deal with the judicial implications of that, and how you punish people for crimes when they don’t have the impulse control — and yet we’re perfectly happy selling AR-15s to an 18-year-old kid with clearly no impulse control. This is a kid with with mental problems, all these people with mental problems are getting these guns, it’s absolutely nuts.”
“It’s not just the nuts who are shooting the guns. It’s the nuts that are selling the guns to those who shoot the guns and it’s the nuts that are in government and lobbyists who are pushing for keeping these things legally available to people who shouldn’t have them.”
Kiriakou brought up the common points of gun control debates that follow mass shootings: banning things like bump fire stocks (which allow semi-automatic firearms to fire faster) or assault rifles that are often used in the deadliest attacks. However, Kiriakou pointed out that over 40 percent of all the world’s guns were concentrated in the US, which he saw as the real problem in need of being addressed to end the epidemic of gun violence.
“Let’s start small,” replied Lindorff. “We can’t even [pass bump stock or assault rifle bans]. If they couldn’t ban assault rifles after the totally horrific slaughter of 20 first graders at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, [in 2012] I don’t see how we’re going to get anywhere with it. That was so horrific and if that didn’t get the politicians and the lobbyists embarrassed enough to do something, nothing will.”
Becker then brought up reported ties between alleged Parkland shooter Nikolas Cruz and Republic of Florida, a white nationalist and secessionist group that may have provided him with militia training in the past.
“There’s a pretty good cross-linkage between people who own all this really high-powered weaponry and people who are of a white supremacist/fascist slant,” said Lindorff. “It’s not people on the left, it’s a right-wing thing — to say we need our guns to protect us against the government, to protect us against immigrants that are destroying the white race and so on.”
“So that’s another reason that it’s really hard to get rid of guns, because those people are supported by conservative politicians, Republicans and some Democrats, who feel like they can win these votes from these people and the support of the NRA, which is sort of God to the right-wing nut jobs.”
Mercier then took a ‘devil’s advocate’ approach to the debate, bringing up the original reasoning behind the Second Amendment to the Constitution that has enshrined the rights of Americans to own firearms: that such weapons are necessary to protect the citizenry from the overreaches of a tyrannical government.
Lindorff had an unorthodox response to that common argument. “It’s inconceivable, in a police state that would be created by the United States, that citizens would ever be able to outgun the government. The government just has so much weaponry and the ability to use it. We’re talking drones that can knock you down from the sky, we’re talking about tanks that are used by local police.”
“There’s just no way that you’re going to outgun the cops and the military that would be called in any kind of a police state. So that’s a losing strategy, to say ‘let’s keep our guns.'”