The obscenity of guns
I am this week in Seattle. Many great and good things I could and maybe I will write about. But here something that I felt I need to write about.
The Seattle Times – nine-time winner of Pulitzer prize for journalism published this week in its first page an article about the many problems and serious dangers due to poor gun control law in Washington state.
The main advertising found in the same newspaper that day was for a company that sells guns. Nine pages of it.
Asked about it an US official (State Department) told me proudly – “this is a great proof of no interference in the editorial policy of the newspaper on behalf of the advertiser. “
I was expecting that – dealt with the European Commission bureaucrats for many years. It is disturbing for a European, I said to her. To exemplify I asked her is she would think it is normal to have in a main newspaper an article against pornography and sexual violence and at the same time to have as the main advertising a porn-site known for the horrific ways it portrays women – splashed on nine pages.
She ignored my parallel and undisturbed told me that in fact the advertising is for hunting. I thought for a moment she could have been a Commissioner or at least a Director General if born in the European Union. For sure she could have lead the Roma initiatives in Brussels.
I showed her the pictures of small guns and told her that I doubt that can be used for hunting anything that is more than 10 meters away.
I kept for myself that I think those could be used against rats and some of the cockroaches I saw in the US and in Ferentari. Considering the cost of ammunition – advertised generously on another two pages in the same newspaper it would be indeed cheaper than most of the rats extermination campaigns ran by some of the Romanian local administrations.
I asked her if she thinks advertising things that kill people is worst than advertising anything else. She switched to –“ I am not a pro-gun” person “but I respect the second amendment of the US constitution”.
Guns kill thousands of Americans each year – over 12.000 in 2013 to be more precise.
The US official I write about is a very nice, polite and bright woman. The US is an amazing country and the goodness and generosity of most of the Americans is something I wish I could see us, Europeans, replicate.
But neither politeness, intelligence, goodness and generosity will prevent the death of thousands of innocents. The courage to speak up against a decrepit first amendment , against the most powerful arms lobby in the world and populist , irresponsible politicians will do it.
Guns have no place in being advertised by newspapers. It is obscene and irresponsible. And considering how many Americans die every year because of shootings it is also very much anti-American. Over 12.000 times so. Every year…
That’s a really interesting observation. You’re right of course, it is fundamentally immoral to promote (or buy stock in) things that we unequivocally believe are wrong or harmful. But alas, that’s how the American economic system functions. We rob Peter to pay Paul. Do you have that saying?
Nope we don’t. Regardless, how can we change things that we are so used to that we are unable to see how harmful they are is what I am worried about…
Not to invalidate your point (being against guns myself) but isn’t this issue one of the puppet political causes? A convenient one? Beaten for ages just because that? Being convenient?
Bear with me for a moment. For every death due to a fire gun there are 3 more related to car accidents (35 thousands die every year in US due to car accidents). Needlessly to say the cars are advertised everywhere 🙂 Yeah, I know – a poor parallel.
Proportionally, there are close to 4000 deaths in Canada due to the same car related accidents, more than double(2.5x, so out of proportion here) compared to Germany when considering the population.
Before you wave that off as not being serious, look at the process required to get a driver license in US, Canada and lets say Germany, which is somewhat better I think. And tell me you don’t think giving the green light to people unprepared to drive is not a blank license to kill?
Focusing on guns rather than overall problems the society does not want to deal with, is masking here a fake political point being paraded all over the media. Are guns bad? Yes, they are. Can it be fixed? Hopefully. But it needs to be framed and discussed pragmatically, which does not happen now.
And if we were to build a list of the bad things – there are so many, worse, that do not make the press. So we keep talking about guns THAT KILL.
How about the food THAT KILLS?
I recently read about:
„The recent mass death of bumble bees in
Oregon—the largest-ever reported incident of
bumble bee death in the U.S.—illustrates the
problem of neonicotinoids. In June 2013, more
than 50,000 bumble bees, representing roughly
300 colonies, were found dead or dying in a
Target store parking lot in Wilsonville, OR. The
culprit was a neonicotinoid pesticide, dinotefuran,
applied to nearby linden trees at the manufacturer
recommended application rate.40 The pesticide
was applied to prevent honeydew secreted by
aphids from dripping onto parked cars.”
All these and a ton more chemicals end up in the food. We kill the eco system. But open your mouth in N.A. and you’re crazy!
One has to wonder if this new brave world isn’t the success of an older system „with a human face”. Lately it feels more and more that way. Missing the good jokes though.
Good points. I was more focused on hypocrisy than guns but I understand what you mean. Alcohol, cigarettes, pesticides the list is indeed long…