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YUSUF KANLI

yusuf.kanli@hurriyet.com.tr

YUSUF KANLI > The right to have arms

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Was the Newtown school massacre in the United States a sign of the approaching doomsday, the apocalypse? For the 26 children and adults slaughtered by a sole gunman, Adam Lanza, it was of course the end of the world, the apocalypse.

All across the globe, the tragedy touched all hearts, pearls dropped from the eyes and everyone wished, as Pope Benedict XVI said during Sunday prayers, “May the God of consolation touch their [families of the victims] hearts and ease their pain.” It is easy to pray for families of the victims of the massacre. Irrespective of how much we want to share the grief of the families of the victims, “fire burns where it drops.” Definitely, no one would want even his worst enemy to experience such pain.

The states of the United States must revisit the thorny gun control laws and think once again to what degree individuals possessing firearms is a “freedom” or a threat to communal security. In Turkey as well, put aside homicide events, every year scores of kids and adults fell victim to brusque people celebrating something by firing their guns into the air. What do they achieve other than kill some individual people by firing their arms in the air? Often academics appear on TV to say such primitive actions could be stopped through education. Well, “education takes away illiteracy while asininity remains much the same.” Recently, there was a scene in one of the many soap operas on Turkish TVs: Rather than go to court, locals were asking a landlord that was greatly respected in the neighborhood to resolve their disputes; the same landlord, however, repeatedly celebrated the pregnancy of his late son’s wife by firing into the air.

Obviously possessing firearms cannot be a liberty or a sign of a degree of liberty in a society. Possessing firearms cannot provide security to an individual. On the contrary, it is a security risk. Besides, such weapons, even if locked in safe places in the houses, might somehow be accessed by kids or mentally disturbed people and the end result might be catastrophic for some other people.

This understanding of presenting “deterrence through weapons” is a very dangerous road to walk. Nowadays, for example, many people in Turkey are fuming against an Iranian military commander who, in a very impolite manner, warned Turkey that deploying NATO Patriot anti-missile systems was a move that risked conflict with Syria. The Iranian general furthermore claimed that the missile systems would be deployed to secure Israel’s security but might trigger a world war. Together with the Malatya radar base, the presence of “allied” troop and weapons systems on Turkish soil is reaching an all-time high, if we exclude American bases. Though President Abdullah Gül, as well as many military analysts, does not agree, Western officials fear that a cornered Bashar al-Assad could resort to desperate moves, such as using his country’s stockpile of chemical weapons. On the other hand, Turkey cannot ask, of course, Iran’s opinion before doing what is necessary for its and its allies’ defense. On the other hand, unless enforced by a no-fly zone, the deployment of the anti-missile systems could be more of a symbolic than a tactical move.

December/17/2012

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US Observer

12/18/2012 8:55:41 PM

@ mara, and I'm sure I don't need to point out to you that we can thank our liberal friends here for the lovely Judicial system we have. @ murat, there are gun laws in place, it's not the wild west over here. Bottom line it was a terrible incident, but I have seen other teribble incidents in Europe too. The knee jerk reactions are normal I guess, but as the great Charlton Heston once said, "From my cold, dead hands"!

Eric Martin

12/17/2012 11:30:45 PM

Look at Syria. They're government feared it's own people. In the USA it's the crime too! This article is all wrong. Should we ban bombs in Turkey? Now you get it. Crazy people will use anything including knives. No one wants crazy people with guns. There are laws preventing this. Didn't help.

Erik Johansson

12/17/2012 11:05:20 PM

Will they ever understand? When weapon access is restricted and controlled, it is easier to reveal potential perpetrators of violence in advance. Another benefit with a restricted and controlled weapon access is that people who are enraged for some reason can´t just grab a gun and shoot.

joe Maddin

12/17/2012 9:13:16 PM

As lethal weapons are omnipresent in the video games these fatherless isolated kids spend their days watching, would they also be banned or regulated in these violent games that set examples of easy ways of winning by killing.

mara mcglothin

12/17/2012 9:08:15 PM

The real threat to society in AMerica is NOT guns, but the crazy people that we are too politically correct to jail. Now, if someone is unstable, you can take them for treatment, but you cannot put them away like in the old days. There is no guarantee that once they leave treatment they will continue to take the medicine prescribed for them. This seems to be the case with this young man and many others in society. So not the guns, but the crazies.

Blue Dotterel

12/17/2012 8:52:28 PM

Thessalonian, that's true. An modern M4 carbine is hardly a hunting rifle. But arms manufacturers can't get all their profits from US wars of convenience.

Murat

12/17/2012 6:21:27 PM

Yes, gusn do not kill, people do. Cars do not kill, drivers do. So we have them inspected and tested and registered and monitored closely. There are strict limits to what you can drive on public roads. What part is not clear?

mara mcglothin

12/17/2012 6:08:33 PM

THESSALONIAN I have been asking people in the know who are gun owners about the semi-automatic gun issue. It is the most important right should our country be "attacked from within". This is the right that people are not willing to give up. Should at any point our government go off the rails, it would be normal Americans who took to the streets to take the country back.

Murat

12/17/2012 6:08:10 PM

"he should of been in an institution as he was mentally ill..." He is more normal than you think. Millions of them among us. In my book, anyone who vehemently defends the right to bear arms with no restrictions, and speaks of the right to own and carry "assault weapons" by all, is in that category that needs to be watched and supervised. It is an American disease unfortunately. A good senator was making the case that if the poor principle were armed, she could have stopped the massacre.

Thessalonian

12/17/2012 5:10:11 PM

As someone wisely pointed out below, guns do not kill people, people do. I must however point out that ordinary citizens being able to purchase fully automatic assault weapons is a bit over the edge of sanity and or reasonable justification. Regards
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