MERVE BÜŞRA ÖZTÜRK

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MERVE BÜŞRA ÖZTÜRK
December 18, 2012, Tuesday

Not just because of guns

The latest shooting rampage in the US state of Connecticut, in which 26 people, including 20 schoolchildren, were cold-bloodedly gunned down, has reignited the nation’s debate on gun control.

Calls for increased gun legislation have grown louder in the immediate wake of the Connecticut killings. But columnists remain doubtful that this horrific incident can change the trajectory of the debate and lead to tangible results, citing various reasons.

Star’s Sedat Laçiner says there are two main elements in this kind of incident: guns and the assailants using the gun. It is a fact that the lack of strict restrictions on individual gun ownership makes such assaults easier. In the US, where about 310 million people live, there are roughly 300 million firearms owned by civilians. However, Laçiner says the other element is as important as the gun issue. Although communication tools keep increasing more and more and communication has become easier and faster, ironically, people get lonelier and grow away from normality. In fact, more than 35,000 people commit suicide per year in the US, which is the biggest proof of the psychological disorder in the society. Laçiner says of course the high number of guns is a factor in these kinds of assaults, but the psychological disorder of the people, shattered families and poor environments in which children are raised are more essential factors that require serious consideration.

Sami Kohen from Milliyet says whenever such assaults occur in the US, debates over gun control are rekindled. Pundits, politicians and scientists talk on TV about the need for further gun restrictions or measures to be taken, but these debates often yield no solid result. Americans are once again seriously moved by the Connecticut tragedy in which 26 people were killed. But Kohen is doubtful that these strong emotions will bring any change this time either. According to Kohen, the most important reason for this is the influential gun lobby in the US that makes it difficult for politicians to introduce further gun restrictions or to take measures for gun control. Secondly, the US Constitution says individuals have the right to own and carry a gun. Thus, there is a legal and political aspect of the issue. However, it is not all about guns, the columnist notes. Violent video games, TV shows and toy guns are all factors requiring serious consideration to prevent such incidents in the future.

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