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Weapons: as American as apple pie

Published:Monday | November 29, 2010 | 12:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

Your editorial 'Murderous guns from America' should be compulsory reading for all. The topic about guns in America, and their overflow or outflow to other countries, is a very complex issue. Why?

The American claim about the right to bear arms, as supposedly enshrined in its constitution, was, perhaps, understandably justified at a time when the European colonists to North America faced stiff challenges of living under inhospitable conditions, and when they faced resistance to their occupation by the original indigenous populations. Under these circumstances, guns were needed for their defence, protection and survival.

Notwithstanding these factors, the need and demand now for guns in the United States have gone far beyond those original primal needs - to tame the forest and defend themselves against dangers, both physical and non-material.

Guns have now become inextricably and invariably linked to the American way of life as much as apple pie, Thanksgiving Day, July 4 celebrations, drugs (both legal and illegal), Wall Street, etc, all have become Americana.

Now, as your editorial points out, the use of guns in Jamaica accounts for the loss of well over 1,000 lives per year - that is to say, for every 100,000 persons in Jamaica, almost 70 of them are killed each year by the gun.

The rate of homicide in a small nation like ours is unsustainable, for it leads to many other problems, mainly the unnecessary suffering of bereaved families, and importantly too, an economic disfigurement and dysfunctionality of our nation's economic, political and social capacities.

I am, etc.,

GEORGE S. GARWOOD

merleneg@yahoo.com