By Jacob von Bisterfeld | 2012-12-19 | NEWSPAPER EDITION
TWENTY young lives have been snuffed out at the Sandy Hook primary school in the US state of Connecticut, in the land of unlimited opportunities, where virtually 100 percent of the adult population are licensed to have a firearm.
Seven teachers and helpers also lost their lives at the barrel of the gun of a madman in the sleepy and generally peaceful city of Newtown.
Another sad statistic to be added to a long list of similar massacres that Americans seem unable to halt.
Familiar heart-renching scenes were again flashed around the world on TV screens and via the internet: A President addressing the nation in tears, hardly able to speak; fear-struck disbelieving parents, unable to contain their sadness; churches overflowing with parishioners praying, hugging and holding hands in an effort to console each other.
Guns do not kill, so proclaims the US Rifle Association, Ass for short, an organization that should be banned.
Faced with yet another 28 grim killings, there is little need to engage in a blazing debate about the merits and demerits or need for gun ownership.
The adage is quite simple: A gun on someone's shoulder or in someone's pocket is quite likely to be used fatally by a deranged person or during a heated argument or by someone with a chip on his or her shoulder or by an individual with a grudge against society.
Countries like Singapore, where gun ownership will land one in prison and where the use of a firearm, whether fatal or not, can result in the death penalty, have the lowest number of gun-deaths per head of population in the world. Quod erat demonstrandum est! (QED),
The misconception that Americans need to protect themselves actually heightens the chance to die in a gun-related death. A high price to pay, indeed, for a constitutional right that may have been appropriate 200 years ago but that is, today, an abomination.
Statistics indicate that one in three Americans has a relative or a friend who has been subjected to a gun-related incident. If Americans are serious about stemming the avalanche of gun-related deaths and injury, a comprehensive plan needs to be implemented without delay, including:
1. Total secrecy should surround the identity of assassins; there should be a prohibition against publishing the names of serial and mass killers to prevent weak-minded individuals who crave fame after their self-inflicted deaths and who want to secure a place in history.
2. Removal from the American Constitution the right of private citizens to bear arms. (the Second Amendment).
3. Hunting rifle licences should only be issued to hunters and farmers who have demonstrated a need and who are of good character and over 30 years old.
The logistics of collecting and disposing of 100 million firearms is something that need not be an insurmountable problem in the land of the Ipad and a vehicle traversing the planet Mars.
Providing the necessary financial compensation to the populace for surrendered weapons would be easy for the United States, famous as it is for monetary easing.
The author is a freelancer based in Shanghai.