Friday, December 21, 2012

A Weird and Crazy Empire

"With the N.R.A. (US National Rifle Association) unusually quiet since the (Newtown CT school) shootings, gun control supporters and opponents had looked to Friday’s event as a sign of how the nation’s largest and best-known gun lobby would respond and whether it would pledge cooperation with the White House and lawmakers seeking new actions.
Mr. LaPierre’s (NRA V-P) defiant tone suggested otherwise. He and David Keene, the group’s president, took no questions from reporters at the event who called out asking whether they planned to work with President Obama.
The N.R.A.'s main answer to school violence was a model program it unveiled called National School Shield, which would train and arm security guards at schools in those local districts that want to use it.
 From 'N.R.A. Calls for Armed Guards in Schools to Deter Violence' in  N.Y.Times: 21.12.2012

"Hey kids, our gift to you is upping our taxes to give you real protection at school next term!"

I generally enjoyed living in America the few years in mid-life I did so but the place has always had a different take on social order. Perhaps some of this derives from its relatively short but violent expansionist history in trying to grab the British North American colonies (unsuccessful), hiving off one-third of Mexico then much of the remaining C19th global Spanish Empire (successful), and dispossessing, killing or relocating large numbers of  indigenous people who got in the way. Everyone else calls this empire building. The fact that America resolutely refuses to accept that it created an empire, and did so by the usual time-honoured methods, ranks as really odd. But at least one can see why they once needed guns.

Post-imperial societies like Western Europe, Japan and even Russia don't see why the population needs to be armed. America is to all intents and purposes post-imperial. When will they understand that?

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