Alt Press Pick of the Week: Breaking Down the Gun Control Debate

Alternative Press Center

Protestors rally in the March on Washington for Gun Control in January. (Elvert Barnes/Flickr/Creative Commons).
Four writers criticize the many attempts at gun control within our militaristic, undemocratic and Darwinian society in “Twin Madnesses, et al,” a forum in the February issue of Z Magazine. The authors—David Swanson, David Rovics, Tom Diaz and Lawrence S. Wittner—all support gun control in itself, but they hold different perspectives about how to effectively reduce gun violence by addressing larger problems in U.S. society and policy. The writers say hypocrisy dominates the gun violence narrative, from the National Rifle Association blaming movies and video games for violence while they promote gun use in film, according to Diaz, to pursuing gun control and a militaristic foreign policy simultaneously, writes Swanson. And gun violence does not take place in a vacuum, reminds Rovics. People engage in violence for a reason, whether it be insanity, desperation, poverty, or something else, so regulating guns alone does nothing to address the social inequalities that make violence an option. Further, he says, gun control without democratic accountability and submission to the will of the citizenry will not drop violence down to the level of other developed countries. These authors demonstrate that, yes, guns kill people, but so do people with guns. Only addressing guns is insufficient; not addressing guns is unacceptable.
From Guns, Violence, Massacres, and Other Developed Countries,’ ” by David Rovics for Z Magazine: We can take away the assault rifles—and I hope we do—but until we develop a real democracy, stop spending all our money on bombs, and eliminate poverty—all of which can and has been done by many of those “other developed countries”—innocent children and adults like Eric Mark and so many others will continue to be killed by “madmen” in “senseless acts of violence.” It is only once we have a democratic, egalitarian society ourselves that we will be able to stop the majority of the violence so rife on the streets of America: the violence caused by American poverty and American racism. And from Gun Control and Arms Control,” by Lawrence S. Wittner: Preventing or restraining armed aggression needs to be tackled not only by arms control and disarmament, but also by just and effective governance on the local, national, and international levels. To some degree, this job has been accomplished within many nations. Particularly when countries have representative governments, equitable laws, an impartial judiciary, fair policing, an accessible mental health care system, and a high level of social well-being, conflicts within them can often be settled short of resorting to armed violence—at least if they are not awash in guns.
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