Gun and Culture

The intention is to catch the pattern of a culture and its narrative, then see the similarities in the Indian Context.

These days, Piers Morgan of CNN is rocking. He, a Britisher, has taken upon himself the responsibility to confront the American establishment and its population who support the possession of guns by private individuals. And the debate is on.

The telecast presents people from both side of the divide. People who support guns appear well-groomed, are powerful, belligerent and judgemental. The non-supporters are morose, emotional and appear weak. They are mainly people who survived attack or lost someone to the gun or activists who sound like they’re fighting a losing battle.

The gun-supporters are aided by the Second Amemdment to US Constitution done in 1791. The law allows US nationals to buy guns faster than Domino’s Pizza. They are doing this for over 200 Years. Now it’s a culture. Taking guns away from a US citizen is like dishonor. Questioning and introspection are not strong points of culture.

Consider this. The Number of US troops killed in Afganistan in 10 years from 2001 to 2013 is 1996. <refer this> During the same period, the number of people killed in US by Gun Violence is 270,000. <refer this>  These figures make Afganistan look like paradise.

3000 people died in 9/11. And 30,000 died in gun related crimes in US in 2012. <refer this> Whereas one mass murder is condemned as terrorism, the other, much greater, is ignored in the name of tradition.

The arguments in support of guns are absurd. It has to be heard to be believed. It’s astounding to see powerful people, educated and cultured (they are Americans), vehemently for gun possession. They’re in denial of Mass killings over the years. For every statistics, they have an equal and opposite statistics. Finally they converge to one ridiculous conclusion – Arm Everyone. Their presence on TV is just a sales-pitch.

The solution proposed is exact opposite to what is required. That’s Culture – It doesn’t look inwards but backwards.

Let’s retrace back to India. We too have our “gun-cultures” – meaning, entrenched believes and associated arguments which are much older than 1791. This is what makes us attribute rape to Mobile and Chowmein and whatnot. Our institutional memory has clever arguments for all cultural-ills we can think of. Even our arguments have to be heard to be believed.

I’m drawing comparisions and attempting to visualize a model – a framework that will put a finger on to the actual problem and its containment.

So, what next? We have to go back and watch our Big-Daddy – US. How will it grapple with this Old ingrained Cultural malaise? How will the policy and legislation evolve? How effective its gonna be? Close attention might give us a template to address our own problems.

But Policies and Politics play games. There are selective periodic amendments to show the public that our laws are being made relevent. While our eyes are fixated on the broad-framework of the Law, the fine-prints loop-back to as-is-where-is. And the con-game continues.



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