Guns, P-Noy, and May elections-A A +A
Sunday, January 13, 2013
THE issue of guns topped the list of public-safety concerns at year-start in the US and in the Philippines: there, for the rash of massacres using firearms; here, for shootouts and stray-bullet deaths.
The violence in a Connecticut elementary school was as appalling as it could get: 20 of 26 victims were aged seven to eight. Before the Dec. 14 shooting, there were other massacres also involving high-powered weapons.
In this country, the stray-bullet death of a child, seven, in Caloocan; the shooting rampage in Cavite that killed eight people; and the police-soldiers clash in Quezon Province that felled 13, including a “jueteng” game suspect, one after the other since last Jan. 1, reportedly made President Aquino worry.
He must be concerned about public safety, yet an overriding motive is reportedly the May election, which he deems a referendum on first half of his term.
But elections or not, toll from violence inflicted by guns is worrisome when a child is killed stupidly by a stray bullet, crime suspects are liquidated in a sham clash, or police and soldiers shoot one another and kill bystanders.
At least our massacres are not committed by wackos. We don’t envy the US for its unending supply of crazed killers and a powerful gun lobby’s insistence that constitutional right to bear arms includes guns that spit out 50-60 rounds a minute.
But our problem is just as troubling: how the state can prohibit civilians from keeping guns when it cannot protect hapless citizens against armed criminals.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 14, 2013.