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There is no doubt that we in Ireland had, and continue to have, troubles of our own that we have to focus on and set to right, but right now we cannot but feel for the trouble that our friends in the US have to contend with inside their own borders, i.e being held hostage to the dubious and anachronistic notion arising from the 2nd Amendment to their constitution — the right of the populace to bear arms.
When the constitution was being drafted over 220 years ago, the new political entity was a vastly different place in many ways: smaller population, largely rural, communities somewhat dispersed and isolated, and alert to the need to defend their revolutionary freedoms and ideas, compared to the present highly integrated, educated, regulated, complicated union.
It is hard to see the need for “militia” nowadays given the multiplicity of armed agencies to protect the country and people, such as the army, navy and air force, police force, state troopers, coast guard, FBI/CIA, etc, and more importantly, free speech, a free press, the courts and democratic elections.
Whatever about pistols, rifles and shotguns, it is very difficult to see why any member of the public would, or should, need more powerful and lethal weapons.
There was a time when the tobacco industry exerted a much more powerful influence on governments, science, medicine in pursuit of its own interests.
However, the weight of evidence as to the damaging effects of smoking persuaded policy-makers, politicians, the press and public opinion to restrain that pernicious influence for the greater good.
The US was at the forefront in this good cause, of particular relevance in countering Big Tobacco’s influence was, and is, the use of the courts and class action suits.
Hopefully the US will not delay, defer, or postpone facing the weight of evidence (ie the drafters of the amendment could not have foreseen or intended that such powerful weaponry would be so readily available) for the sake of past, present and possible future victims of gun crime.
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