America is convulsing with violence and protests, following the killings of black men Alton Sterling and Philando Castile by white police officers in excessive shows of force. The city where President John F Kennedy was shot dead acquired notoriety again as a black sniper killed five Dallas policemen. Race is America’s Achilles heel and the election of a black president may have deepened rather than bridged its racial divide. But superimposed on that are America’s absurd gun laws which permit virtually unrestricted gun ownership.
The Dallas shooting, like the Orlando mass shooting which killed 49 and injured 53 last month, was carried out with a military grade rifle that can be bought off the shelf. In a context where guns are freely available to citizens, police too become militarised and trigger-happy. America’s racial divide is uniquely flammable and healing it is a long-term project. But gun control is something that can be initiated relatively easily through legislation, leaving America less vulnerable to murders and massacres whether motivated by race, terrorism or simply someone gone round the bend. By not doing so the world’s sole superpower appears to be shooting itself in the foot, sometimes literally so.
Fewer shooting incidents would take the edge off the racial confrontation that’s shaping up on America’s streets as well: neither black citizens nor policemen need be so fearful. And that would go some way towards healing the racial divide. Instead another can of worms appears to have been opened by the Dallas police: they killed the sniper with a robot bomb. What happens when such remotely triggered robot bombs get into the hands of those intent on causing destruction and mayhem? Could they replace assault rifles as the next weapon of choice?
More at : Guns and race: In America, this flammable mix is a superpower’s Achilles heel
Source: Times of India : All Blogs