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article imageReview: ‘America’s Gun Addiction’ Special

By Alexander Baron     Mar 12, 2013 in Politics
Last night, the BBC screened a documentary about the Sandy Hook massacre and America's gun culture. No one who watched it will be surprised how easy it is for people who shouldn't get their hands on guns to do just that.
This was an interesting and somewhat disturbing documentary; interesting because it showed what is purported to be the only video footage of spree killer Adam Lanza, as a young boy. Disturbing because among other things the Panorama team visited a Texas gun fair and walked out with a weapon just like the one he used without any background checks at all.
Is America living in fear, and is it addicted to guns? Yes and no. While the President takes the imminently sensible view that assault weapons have no place in any American home, car, gun club, shooting range...anywhere but the army, there are those who want more guns, including the Tea Party and the NRA.
It would be easy to ramble on and on about this half hour documentary, but it is currently on iplayer (link above), and will be there for a year. It will also undoubtedly be uploaded to YouTube soon, so if you can catch it, do so, especially if you are an American.
The big issue here besides guns is how America and the world should deal with people who are so mentally disturbed that for whatever reason they feel the need or desire to murder people indiscrimately - his own mother and some kids he probably knew by sight in Lanza's case, total strangers in other cases.
This undated file photo circulated by law enforcement shows Adam Lanza.
This undated file photo circulated by law enforcement shows Adam Lanza.
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It would not be wise to say too much, but last week a schoolgirl was stabbed to death in Birmingham, England. The man arrested on suspicion of her murder has been Sectioned under the Mental Health Act, and it is possible he may never stand trial. If guns were as accessible here we would certainly see more mass killings.
Last year a woman was given a life sentence here for stabbing a girl to death in the park, a girl she didn't know and had never met. Last month, the Metropolitan Police released video footage of Nicola Edgington after she had just murdered one woman and tried to kill another in South London. Edgington had already been convicted of the manslaughter of her own mother, but someone thought she was safe to turn lose on the public, and the public paid the price.
The mass shootings in America mean the mentally disturbed as well as the just plain criminal have access not simply to knives but what are nothing less than weapons of mass destruction. Are the deaths of nearly thirty people including 20 young boys and girls an acceptable price to pay for the right to bear such arms? Should we wait for the next such massacre to answer that question, or should Americans do something about it now?
More about sandy hook massacre, adam lanza, Panorama
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