Before he sloped off for his holiday, leaving the US speeding towards the Fiscal Cliff, Obama tried to use the school shootings as cover for his failure to address the economic issues about to engulf the US.
Hussein Obama seized on the school shootings to launch a campaign against gun owners and divert attention from his failure to reach any satisfactory position on the economy. His Christmas present to the American people is probably the loss of nearly 800,000 jobs.
Obama must have known that his talk of removing a Constitutional Right was not going to fly, but would only create new divisions. The only result so far is the NRA counter attack demanding armed School Marshals in every US school.
There is more logic in the NRA position than in the Obama position, but neither are addressing the real core problems.
The NRA argue that only a good person with a gun can deal with a bad person with a gun. That is of course entirely true and any school shooting has resulted in an army of SWAT and other armed police and Federal officers descending on the scene of the shooting. Unfortunately, by the time the armed response teams have arrived and started to plan the next steps, there will usually already be casualties and frequently, the incident has already ended with the suicide of the gunman or bomber. Having armed guards already at the school increases the possibilities of reducing casualties.
However, attacks on public locations by the mad and the bad are very few in number and impossible to forecast with any accuracy. Today they are more likely to include a bomb or some other device than they are to involve firearms. When firearms are the primary tool of the attacker, they may not be legal licensed firearms, but something more deadly.
The more effective solution is to reduce the possibility of an attacker reaching the intended victims. That requires perimeter defences and checks on people, and what they carry, within the perimeter. That could require armed guards and might require more at the start of each day, keeping the guards outside most of the buildings and reducing the risk they might injure innocent people in a fire fight.
The real solution is to get to grips with the problems that the US and many other countries suffer. The solutions will not be easy to implement but that is no excuse for not making the effort.
Many countries now suffer arrogant career politicians who ignore the views and fears of the public they are supposed to represent and serve. They are only interested in clinging to power and extracting the maximum pay and expenses from the tax payers, even if it involves criminality. They then hope to retire to enormous riches as consultants and talk circuit speakers. That sets a terrible example to citizens, reduces the number who bother to go out and cast a vote at elections, and encourages similar greed and lawlessness.
Lack of money may not be an excuse for criminality, but economic recession places people under terrible pressures and increases mental illness. Some people are always more vulnerable to these types of pressure.
Therefore, Obama would have been more effective had he tried to reach a solution on the US economy that would gain majority support, rather than trying to gain short term political and personal advantages.
The US certainly has a unique challenge because the Constitution guarantees the right to bear arms but makes no mention of what those arms might be. It can be argued that any form of gun control is illegal under the Constitution. The fact that semi and full automatic weapons did not exist at the time the Constitution was approved, does not in itself give any US politician the right to restrict these tools. In fact, the guns carried by Americans at the time of the drafting of the Constitution were the assault weapons of their day. Looking at countries such as Britain where draconian gun laws were introduced a century ago to deny arms to the Irish Republicans, and then tightened many times, have failed to deal with mad or bad gunmen. Each time the laws were tightened, gun crime doubled. Today, even those participating in Olympic sport are denied target guns for daily practice within Britain and the events involving target guns at the 2012 London Olympics were possible only by special dispensation. The British athletes competing in events that involve firearms will dwindle over the years because new competitors will not have access to the facilities to practice and reach Olympic standard. If British politicians really believed in the gun controls already in place, they would have refused to host Olympic sport that was illegal under the existing laws, even if that meant passing up on the opportunity to host an Olympic Games. Going down the same path in the US is equally unlikely to solve the problem of gun crime and risks making it a greater risk. It also ignores the reality that many Olympic sports are based on practice with weapons that were once the front line armament of soldiers.
The way forward is to create a less violent society and that may require controls on the Internet and on video games, get rid of corrupt self-serving and greedy politicians and replace ‘rights’ with responsibility. A very difficult task to achieve but a very necessary task.