Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Gun control, modern American terrorism, and real solutions (part 3 of 4)

Gun control, modern American terrorism, and real solutions (part 3 of 4), In Part Two of 'Gun Control, Modern American Terrorism, and Real Solutions,' I wrote, 'The current system…lacks predictability and quantifiable preparations for disaster response. Such is the case with most places large crowds gather - including campuses, concert halls, and sports arenas - where levels of security are, in many instances, non-existent. Will you finally get the message when the next mass shooting occurs at either Harvard, Coachella, or the Super Bowl?' (Examiner, March 30, 2013.)

Two weeks later, a bombing occurred at the finish line of the Boston Marathon - near Harvard. Cameras captured the suspects in action with a grab bag of explosives nearby. The same men allegedly killed a campus policeman at MIT, and on April 23, Christian Science Monitor asked, 'Was the Boston Marathon bombing a US intelligence failure?' Truthfully, there are so many avenues in the US by which potential criminals can complete their missions that U.S. intelligence is hard-pressed to act against a mass outbreak of such violence. The fact remains that two men were able to injure 300 people in broad daylight at a heavily attended sporting event and later, 'An estimated 200 shots were fired [and] an arsenal of weapons, including handguns, a rifle and at least six bombs were found at the scene' when the sole living suspect, Dzohkhar Tsarnaev, was apprehended (New Jersey Times, April 20, 2013.)

Among interesting side notes to the story:

a) On April 23, radio show host Rush Limbaugh asserted, 'The news media are doing to Dzohkhar what they did to Trayvon Martin…They're regularly showing a photo of Dzohkhar that was taken when he was about 14. Soft, angelic, nice little boy. Harmless. Cute. Big, lovable eyes…Not at all what he looks like today' - comparisons 'deeply offensive for Trayvon Martin and his family' as, 'Martin was a victim of gun violence in a state that remains lenient towards gun owners who turn their weapons on other Floridians' (ThinkProgress.com, April 23, 2013.)

b) 'It was a stunning collapse for gun-control advocates just four months after the deaths of 20 children and six adults in Newtown led the president and many others to believe that the political climate on guns had been altered in their favor,' NBC News reported soon after, 'President Obama's ambitious effort to overhaul the nation's gun laws in response to December's school massacre in Connecticut suffered a resounding defeat [as] every major proposal he championed fell apart on the Senate floor' (April 17, 2013.)

Rather than politicizing these deaths and influencing listeners to act upon his divisive portrayals of American race relations, if Limbaugh had any sense, he would have posed the question of whether or not my suggestions would have prevented both the terror in Boston and the actual event that led to the death of Trayvon Martin, as the presence of cameras played a major role in locating the Tsarnaev brothers and the additional presence of police officers on the streets of every block - along with cameras capturing all public activity - would likely have caused both Martin and George Zimmerman to think twice about fighting on film. In the event of a conflict that occurs regardless of the safeguards in place, the entire event would be documented for posterity while detailing its details in full.

Private business surveillance cameras have not totally prevented all crime, but have brought criminals to light and to quicker subsequent justice as a result of their use. Such efficiency, if utilized in the public realm, can be seen in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing - where the suspects' identities and whereabouts were quickly revealed.

It is now time, though, to ask American politicians and right-wing journalists if they actually are advocates of further terrorist attacks and escalations of domestic violence. The Senate's vote against universal firearm background checks has done nothing to change the international perception of America as being in a state of never ending internal conflict, and the words of such highly paid race baiters as Limbaugh drive such points home. The willingness of those like the Tsarnaev brothers - in tandem with, in the eyes of many around the world, a somewhat justified portrayal of the U.S. as a violence-crazy, war mongering nation in decline - proves there is no reason for terrorists and even other nations with war in mind to not attack the United States.

There is now a dire need for identification of possible terrorists through their devices of terror; Guns are naturally part of the equation, and the Tsarnaev brothers had clear, unsupervised access to weapons that were legally acquired, at some point, by either themselves or third parties. By discouraging firearm background checks and encouraging a 'free and open' gun trade, where no one takes responsibility for anything and such an attitude is attributed to the 'founders' legacy,' anti-American sympathizers win. Most Americans are not sharpshooters and, in yet another previous article written in this column, I cited the very low rates of success by police departments when engaged in shootouts with such untrained rivals. That the Senate has assumed the playing field is even, with citizens as trained at handling guns as the policemen who accurately fire their guns at low rates, is naive in the face of the city bombings and campus shootings. The citizenry is clearly not better off with more armaments in its possession than its police force has at its disposal.

However, in a move that likely prevents one of the most obvious possible tragedies of all time, 'A policy change scheduled to go into effect…that would have allowed passengers to carry small knives, bats and other sports equipment onto airliners will be delayed, federal officials said…The delay is necessary to accommodate feedback from an advisory committee made up of aviation industry, consumer, and law enforcement officials, the Transportation Security Administration said in a brief statement [that also] said the delay is temporary, but gave no indication how long it might be' (ABC, April 22, 2013.)

A better question than how long it may be before weapons are allowed back onto airplanes due to the public's blood lust is when the next massacre - bombing, shooting, or otherwise - will occur. As Americans, we are now accustomed to consuming violence on a daily basis. Most in the US use the Internet nearly all day, even at the workplace, and are influenced by the messages they consume. The Boston Marathon bomber has told you, point-blank, the instructions he and his brother followed are online - lying in wait fir anyone who wants to commit a 'copy-cat' crime - and that the, 'U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq' were also to blame for Internet-supported 'self-radicalization' (CNN, April 23, 2013.) I am telling you there is no reason for someone not to repeat such a crime out of fear, given that there are few (if any) true repercussions.

The Internet faces no censorship or regulation, and is littered with an abundance of hate-speech, pornography anyone of any age can watch at any given time, and, in a great majority of cases, outright, unsupported lies. One major solution is obviously to start there, as national security suffers tremendously from notions of free speech being taken advantage of by those with malicious intentions.

Or, you can simply ignore it and walk away from the argument with the delusional, misguided perception that it is beneficial for entities preaching hate-filled rhetoric to have an equal voice, as their discourse is 'educational' in nature. If that is the case, then just realize I predicted, in print, the chaos in Boston.

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