The recent attack on the Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, CO, that claimed three lives and wounded nine, highlights yet again the enormity of the gun violence problem in the US. Gun running, with the attendant travesty of police action and behaviour, has already raised considerable alarm in American civil society, campus groups, media players and the cantankerous international community. The American toe-hold in public imagination requires more than a facelift, as, the wars in West Asia and North Africa have muddied the dictums of pre-emptive action, the Responsibility to Protect and imminent threat doctrine, disrupting the swan song of the American Dream.
The rising number of gun crimes bedevil the holier than thou idiom of a nation which places its entire policy premise on democratic peace. No society can be polemically sacrosanct and every nation state is bedeviled with the firestorms of sociological controversies. But here the situation requires urgent measures. The viscerally attuned imagery of homeless bearded men sleeping disconsolately over plastic wraps, and the staple scenario of black mothers scurrying around small houses to prepare breakfast for four children, remains embedded in the public mind.
In the last few decades, lawyers have played a significant role in spawning a legal front against gun-violence. The incidents at Waco in Texas, the far-reaches of the Sinaloa drug cartel in the sandkissed twilight zones of the United States and Mexico, point to American enforcement agents who have been the prime protagonists of the debate for a while. The practice of letting the guns ‘walk’ and then following the investigative trail in the badlands of Chicago have led to a few fiascos which have questioned the strategy of enforcement instruments in the US.
Some sportspersons and Hollywood stars go all the way with their support for the gun lobby in the US. The way the anti-gun grouping arranged for finances and solicited the support of law firms spread all across the nation, in order to create a national legal and civil society against the gun lobby, earned them much public support. The activists won important legal battles and created a much needed awareness amongst the citizenry.
In the contemporary context of the many gun shootings this year alone, US President Barack Obama has come out openly against the menace. He has evoked a war cry imagery to shake the American citizens out of a stupor. He said, “We have to make a credible political choice. When Americans are killed in a mine disaster, we work to make mines safer. When Americans perish in hurricanes, we strengthen the communities but the notion that gun violence in different is rather questionable.”
The idea that Americans love their freedom and the sanctity of the Constitution too much to resist gun control regulations, allows derelicts and mentally challenged delinquents take the law unto their own hands. Police apathy too adds to the problem when fake gun violators are mistreated or race transgressions are committed by the authorities. Data compiled by the crowd-sourced site Mass Shooting Tracker shows that there have been 294 mass shootings one mass shooting being defined as an incident in which four or more people are shot in the 274 days sinceJanuary 1. Another agency, Gun Violence Archive, has recorded, as of December 1, as many as 47, 956 incidents of gun violence. The need of the hour is a gun control regulation as the American President has declared in disgust.