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The Orlando Massacre Clearly Highlights America's Distorted Values Towards Guns

Orlando Police keep residents away from the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida on Sunday, June 12, 2016. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

t this point, it has clearly become an annoyance to watch the news and see Americans contort themselves into a pretzel in anguish over the latest mass killing in the United States. The anguish is genuine—there is no doubt about that, but the gun-related rampages happen so frequently that the question foremost in the minds of people's from across the globe is: "why don't you do something about it?"

The National Rifle Association (NRA) today holds a lot of clout only because a large number of Americans believe in its pro-gun agenda. In most countries across the globe gun-related killings are just a small fraction compared to that of the U.S. (click on this LINK for a NY Times article on this).

Ironically, in the latest shooting rampage where 49 innocent lives were taken by a single gunman with an assault rifle might not have happened if tougher gun laws had been in place. Instead U.S. gun laws have been relaxed, thanks to the NRA's dogged efforts to remove any and all restrictions on gun ownership.

In 1994 the Federal Assault Weapons Ban (AWB) authored by California Senator Dianne Feinstein was signed into law by then President Bill Clinton. What passed was a watered-down version of Feinstein's original bill thanks to relentless lobbying by the NRA. And many say the bill managed to become law simply because it contained a sunset provision that allowed the ban to expire after 10 years.

Had the AWB still been in place today, the Sig Sauer MCX weapon used by the Orlando shooter would have been banned. Instead it is currently available for the next deranged individual to purchase—in addition to the Colt AR-15, TEC-9, MAC-10 and other once-banned, but now legal, assault-style weapons.

For many non-Americans across the globe who are not steeped in the "Wild West" "cowboy" culture of America, the need for ever-more-powerful firearms, is baffling—as is the iron grip the NRA has on American legislators. And the argument that an armed populace will prevent a tyrannical government from abusing its power seems rather silly nowadays. Given the tremendous firepower and technological superiority of a government's military, no militia—even one armed with heavy weapons—will be able to stop a determined government from imposing its will. This isn't the seventeen hundreds any more; welcome to the reality of 21st century warfare.

That being the case, the current distorted interpretation of the 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is nothing but an exercise in futility. The NRA and its members need to move beyond their "cowboy" mentality and turn their vast collection of weapons into plowshares—so to speak. When that happens, mass killings will likely stop, and Americans will be welcomed with open arms by the rest of the civilized world. Published 6/16/2016

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