There are some who have a strange fascination for guns and weaponry, my brother was one of them. As a child, he liked nothing better than a toy gun or a knife to play with. For all I know, he probably still does.
When we lived in Canada, Brian was fascinated by the gun my father was forced to carry as a policeman on the docks in Vancouver. I’m sure, if my father hadn’t locked it away carefully each night, my brother would have sought it out to play with loaded or otherwise.
As for me, I have never been drawn to firearms or indeed other weapons in any way. Sure, as a kid, I played cowboys and Indians but it was not my favourite game. When I asked for a high quality pocket knife one birthday, my wife and children were shocked. I keep that knife safe in a drawer and only use it when I need to – to me it is an essential tool just like a pair of pliers or a screwdriver rather than an object of fascination.
Americans have always had a love of guns. Many own a collection of firearms which they claim are either purely for defence or for hunting. It is almost like, everyone else has them so I must. The man who shot down 20 children and six adults at a school in Newtown had access to no less than three of his mother’s guns including automatic pistols.
If this was the first tragedy involving firearms in America, it might be considered unusual but the fact is there have been several. Access to guns and licences to own them in most states are easy which means that there will always be the potential for further instances of this sort of horror to hit our newspapers.
Yesterday, at a memorial service, President Obama hinted that he will take steps to prevent any further mass shootings which we take to mean that he will revue the laws regarding firearms. The problem is that the National Rifle Association is a powerful lobbying group and they will be vehemently opposed to any change in the law that would prevent Americans from owing guns. However, by upholding citizens rights to freedom of choice in these matters, the gun lobbying groups must accept the stain of blood on their hands from this tragedy and any further ones that are to come.