America's Gun Culture, Capitalism, Collapse of Industrial Civilization, Corporate State, Global Small-Arms Sales, Gun Control, Inverted Totalitarianism, Killing Them Softly, Military Industrial Complex, NRA, Police State, Right Wing Wingnuts, Security and Surveillance State, Semi-Automatic Weapons, War for Profit, War on Terror
“America isn’t a country. It’s a business. Now pay me my fucking money.” ~ Killing Them Softly
In the previous post, aubreyenoch commented on the toxic effects of our current socio-economic system, i.e. industrial capitalism. These “off balance liabilities” are a reality which persists despite the standard business-world practice of ignoring them. The last topic was guns; so lets look at how firearms have become an integral part of our economy. Reading the article ‘In America, guns are a boom, regulation a bust‘, we learn that America is driving the production and spread of guns here and abroad as well as propelling the creation of foreign gun industries:
…the Small Arms Survey, or SAS, an independent research group in Geneva, valued global small-arms sales for 2011 at $8.5 billion, more than double its 2006 estimate of $4 billion.
Although the increase partly reflects improved information gathering, the gun trade has undoubtedly expanded in recent years. The report identifies two primary sources: large government purchases for troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and increased spending by U.S. civilians.
Matt Schroeder, who heads the Arms Sales Monitoring Project at the Federation of American Scientists, says the U.S. “appetite for weapons” is one of the world’s largest and most diverse.
“There aren’t a lot of countries that are similar in terms of the quantities demanded and the types that are legally purchased here,” he said.
American small-arms purchases in 2009 accounted for 38 percent of the global total at $1.8 billion, more than 47 other leading importers combined, according to the SAS.
Private citizens provide the main source of demand for small arms around the globe. Of the 650 million firearms owned by civilians worldwide, more than 41 percent are in American hands.
It’s no surprise the United States has by far the highest proportion of guns per person, an estimated 89 civilian firearms per 100 residents…
And contrary to the popular fear by gun zealots that ‘Socialist’ Obama is going to take away their guns, he has not put forward any new gun laws and actually worked to relax regulations on the export of U.S. firearms abroad:
Despite decrying gun violence, however, Obama hasn’t pushed for gun control. His administration is also advocating new regulations that would make it easier to export weapons abroad.
Washington was chiefly responsible for the collapse of talks last summer on a UN arms trade treaty—a reflection of the vast political influence wielded by the U.S. gun lobby, which is spending tens of millions of dollars to ensure the highly lucrative industry keeps expanding…
Gun lobby groups have claimed credit for sinking United Nations negotiations over an international arms trade treaty last summer—when Amnesty International activists handed out bananas in New York’s Times Square, saying treaties regulate the global trade of fruit, but not guns and ammunition.
The talks concluded with no agreement on the draft text after the United States refused to sign, saying it needed more time to review the text.
Jeff Abramson, director of the Control Arms Secretariat, said the U.S. delegation’s actions were especially disappointing because the draft text satisfied all concerns Washington expressed during the negotiations.
“The best conclusion is that the Obama administration made a political decision to not deal with the treaty during an election cycle,” he said.
However, Abramson dismisses the NRA’s claim it “killed” the agreement, saying the strong American gun culture “makes it very difficult to have a rational conversation about regulations, even ones that do not impact U.S. law.”
Marsh agrees politics don’t fully explain the industry’s influence. Although gun owners who rushed out to buy more firearms after Obama’s first election may have contributed to the sales boom, the spending reflects a “much deeper, underlying trend” that dates back to 2001—and which he believes will continue for the foreseeable future.
Now let’s look at some of the “off balance liabilities“. The flintlock pistols and muskets of bygone frontier days are a far cry from the firepower of today’s semi-automatic weapons, something the founding fathers did not envision:
And if we look at deaths by firearms per country:
Firearm Death Rate per 100,000 People
(compared with 25 of the industrialized nations)
Is any of this sinking into your thick skull, Ivy Mike?