恐怕很多人都很想知道,为什么枪支管制不在美国议程上。今天美国的枪击惨案再度发生:美国康涅狄格州一所小学14日发生枪击案,造成至少28名人员丧生的重大伤亡,其中大多数是5到10岁的儿童。这是美国历史上死伤最惨重的校园枪击案之一。  美国总统奥巴马就康州学校枪击案发表全国讲话,向枪击案中的逝者、幸存者及家属致以慰问。提到那些无辜遇害的幼小生命时,奥巴马几度流泪哽咽。


There are anestimated 270 million guns in the hands of civilians in the United States, making Americans themost heavily armed people in the world per capita. Yemen, a tribal nation with nohistory of strong central government or the rule of law, comes in a distantsecond.


From Washington, D.C., to thewell-stocked shelves of Walmart stores nationwide, guns are regarded in the United Statesas a commonplace if controversial consumer item for millions of law-abidinghunters, collectors and citizens concerned about their safety. They are also inthe hands of thousands of killers too; a Washington-based anti-gun lobby saysthose guns shoot more than 100,000 people a year. In 2010, there were more than30,000 deaths caused by firearms when the number of homicides, suicides andaccidental deaths are tallied.


Read: Why has Obama largely steered clear of gun debate?


America’s collectivememory — of the Wild West in the 1800s, the assassinations of John F. Kennedyand Martin Luther King half a century ago and the front-page news from lastweek and is marked time and time again by guns.


“It’sundeniable,” writes Clayton Cramer, author of “Armed America: theRemarkable Story of How and Why Guns Became as American as Apple Pie.”"Guns are at the center of much of America’s history, its legends, andits horrors.”


There were guns in America long before the America we know today was evenborn. Early settlers in several states were required by law to own and maintainweapons as a matter of collective defense.


By the time the United Stateswas established, its citizens had taken up arms not only against their NativeAmerican neighbors but the army of their own king. Their new constitutionreflected that in its Bill of Rights, declaring that “A well regulatedmilitia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”


For more than twocenturies that remained an important but largely overlooked guarantee, subjectedto a modest series of controls. But in 2008 and 2010 landmark Supreme Courtrulings gave that constitutional right sweeping new power, dramaticallydiminishing the authority of state and local governments to limit gunownership.


Gun-friendlylawmakers have been active, too. Roughly half of the 50 U.S. stateshave adopted laws allowing gun owners to carry their guns openly in most publicplaces. About as many states have ‘stand your ground’ laws that allow people tokill if they come under threat, even, in some cases, if they can escape thethreat without violence.


The laws are beingdriven by politics and the politics are being driven by groups such as the National Rifle Association.Once a relatively modest organization of gun enthusiasts and hunters, it hasbecome one of the most powerful political groups in the country. The WashingtonPost estimates that the NRA succeeded in helping elect four out of every fivecandidates it endorsed in the most recent congressional election.


In addition to thatextraordinary impact in Congress, it has also been working to overturngun-control laws in the courts as well.


The NRA and othergun-rights groups have allied themselves with the Republican Party and, especially,a sector of the American public suspicious of government intrusions intoprivate life and often flatly hostile to Washington.


Read Dana Bash: For Democrats, gun politics are bad politics


“When theytell you that a government ban on certain firearms will somehow make you safer,don’t you believe it, not for a second, because it’s a lie just like the liesthey’ve told you before,” NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre told a recent gatheringof his members. “Their laws don’t work.”

“当他们告诉你政府就某种具体的枪支实行了禁令来莫名其妙的保护你的安全,不要相信它,绝不。因为这只是个谎言,跟他们从前对你说的谎一样。”NRA CEO韦恩拉皮埃尔在成员最近一次集会上如此说道“他们的法律不会有用。”

Poll resultssuggest most Americans wouldn’t agree. CNN and Gallup surveys going back yearssuggest that Americans are split between those who approve of currentgun-control laws and respondents who would like to see them made morerestrictive. Americans who’d like no controls at all are a small minority.


But even after therampage in Colorado,American attitudes and laws aren’t likely to change much. Last year’s nearlyfatal shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords didn’t move her state orfederal colleagues to adopt any new gun control measures.


Both President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney issued statements in thehours after the Coloradoshootings, and Sunday, Obama flew to the state to visit with shooting victimsand their families. But neither proposed any changes to American attitudestoward guns.


But Americaseems to be the place the whole world thinks of when apparently ordinary peopleuse guns for grotesque acts of violence. America stands alone in itshistoric and cultural attachment to guns. America stands armed.



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该日志由 1zanxin 于2012年12月15日发表在 英语学习资源推荐 分类下,
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