Below is the main editorial in today's La Jornada. My translation.
The mass murder occurred in the first minutes of yesterdy morning in a movie theater in Colorado where an armed man killed at least 12 people and wounded at least 50. It provoked cries of condemnation and solidarity in both US society and among its politicians including the president, Barack Obama, who declared five days of national mourning as a "symbol of respect for the victims of this act of violence without sense" and his Republican rival, Mitt Romney, and reawakened the perennial debate over the necessity of regulating the gun business in the nation.
This massacre is the bloodiest since the events in April 2007 at Virginia Tech when 33 people died as a consequence of two armed attacks by a student. Disgracefully, acts such as those on the university campus and in the movie auditorium are not isolated. Thirteen years after it occurred, the memory of that sadly famous massacre at Columbine High School, also in Colorado, where 15 students were killed, is still fresh.
We also have to remember the violent events at the end of 2007 when a 19-year-old youth armed with an assault weapon, killed eight people in a shopping center in Nebraska, and we have to add the chain of bloody events of 2009: the murder of 11 individuals in a series of shootouts in Alabama; the taking of hostages in an immigration center in Binghampton, NY which culminated in the murder of 14 people in April, and the massive killing perpetrated by the psychologist of Pakistani origin, Nidal Malik Hasan, at Fort Hood in Texas, where 13 died including 12 soldiers and a police officer and 31 were gravely wounded. In January, 2011 a shootout in Tucson, Arizona left six people dead and 13 wounded, among whom was the Democratic congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. We can add to the list with a series of lesser shootouts in various cities in the countr to our north, in which generally people were left dead or wounded.
These hair-raising episodes have as an inarguable component, aside from the mentally disordered individuals who brought them to fruition: the excessive proliferation of firearms among the population of the United States, a proliferation which is protected by the Second Amendment of the constitution which grants all citizens the unrestricted right to purchase them. It is estimated that in the United States there exist almost 300 million firearms in the possession of individuals, that is to say, almost one per inhabitant, and that more than eighty persons on average die daily from aggression committed with this type of weapon. The possession, legal or not, of firearms is fed by the determined support of reactionary and chauvinist sectors of this country like the National Rifle Association (NRA), the ultraconservative organization tightly tied to the Republican Party which has dedicated itseñf to block all government efforts to regulate the arms market. What happened in that Colorado movie theatre coincides with the argument going on now in the US over the approval of a treaty among the countries who are members of the United Nations to better regulate the international trade in conventional arms. This discussion has been marked by the NRA as an effort by Obama to limit the Second Amendment.
Events such as yesterday's demonstrate, in conclusion, the devastating effects of the anachronistic [lack of] regulation of arms and the destruction which prevails in the United States and which represents on a national scale the law of the jungle which the governments of Washington have sought to impose on the world. The lack of ability or will on the part of the Obama administration to regulate and contain the sale of arms not only casts a pall periodically over the society of the US, but also affects other nations such as ours. It reminds us of the massive quantity of contraband arms that traveled from the US to Mexico in Operation Fast and Furious: more evidence that the present US government has been defeated by the devastating inertia which prevails in politics, in the economy, and in the culture of this country which claims to be a champion of civilized behavior to the rest of the world, and which finds itself brought to a halt, instead, in a situation of backwardness marked by a systematic propensity to violence and barbarism.