GUN CONTROL IN THE UNITED STATES
President Obama has been trying so hard to pass some kind of gun control measures in the Congress, and has failed so far. I don’t think this is only because of a powerful gun lobby. I think there is a much deeper reason. It is in the genes of the American culture: that is a deeply rooted distrust of institutions.
Switzerland, where I lived for six years, is a country that has as many guns per household as the United States, if not more. It has the citizen’s military. Every adult male is a soldier and has a government issued weapon at home, ready to be mobilized in fifteen minutes. Yet, homicides committed with those guns are extremely rare. There are incidents involving firearms less than a few times a year . When it happens, it is a huge headline news. People almost never think of using them for personal reasons, because of their bred-in-the-bones respect for the Federal institutions. Likewise, Canadians confer a great respect to the institutions. We still expect the police to protect us in stead of going out to buy a gun.
The United States of America is founded basically on the distrust of institutions and the belief in total freedom of individuals. People who founded the republic fought hard for freedom from the tyranny of the monarchy, the organized religions, and other oppressive institutions. Nothing stops them now. That is what makes the United States an exciting and great country. This is why Americans are so innovative, because nothing stops them trying new things. Americans hate to be controlled and restricted. That’s why the number of Nobel Prize won by Americans are more than any other nationalities. This is also why entrepreneurs from all over the world flock to America..
The flip side of this is: the United States is inherently violent. Each individual feels strongly that it is his/her responsibility to defend oneself. It is more difficult to make a fundamental change of this deep seated attitude than to pass a legislation. But that’s what should happen, if daily carnage should stop. In the meantime, Americans keep on killing each other at a rate any terrorist can only dream of. It is because they feel it’s their constitutional right and responsibility to defend themselves. And the guns symbolize this attitude.