I get where Andy Warhol was coming from — after all Valerie Solanas used a snub-nosed .22 to try to kill him in 1968 — it was also part of his “noticing” of Americans’ weird obsession with death and killing, to say nothing of his own.
Three decades later and things are not getting any better — indeed it’s been described as a war on the poor. And, in America, that often means by white people against black people, whether in suits or with guns.
There are some gruesome figures here.
I know many people here in the UK who believe whole-heartedly that everyone has the right to use lethal force against anyone who scares them or challenges them … I’m just really pleased that they don’t have access to the tools they want.
Tony Martin, who executed a 16 year old Traveller, Fred Barras, outside his house, with an unlicensed shotgun, for burglary, in 1999, in fact only served 3 years and is a hero and exemplar to many.
This is not at all a peace loving country. Go for a walk through Manchester, Liverpool, London, Glasgow, Plymouth, anywhere … on a Saturday night. And racism is not an American thing. And hopeless, half-educated people who can find no place in the world are everywhere and they rant and rave in the night. And privileged, privately educated people who have the world all sewn up are just as likely to espouse such nightmarish views and they have no need of guns.
But there are almost as many privately held weapons as there are people in the US: over 300 million — about half of all the guns in the world, even though they’re just 5% of the population.
About 20000 people a year in America kill themselves with guns and if you try it using a gun, you’re almost certain to succeed.
But nearly 34000 people died at other people’s hands and over 100000 people were shot but didn’t die in 2013.
And there’s no argument for self defence: for every person killed in self defence, 33 are killed criminally.
And so on and so on …
But the domestic arms industry generated $38 billion in 2013 — big business and it’s handguns they sell and it’s handguns that kill.
And you spend a bit of time, as an innocent Brit, surfing American websites where they review these things like toasters and $600 Sig Sauers are “decent” and reliable but not terribly sexy and where models are hyped with excerpts from action movies with macho thugs like Gibson, Willis and Renner wielding x, y or z. You too …
And it’s not as though there’s nothing to be done — Myths about gun control
And … I really don’t know.
I am just sad in the end. And sorry for those families in Charleston.