Will there be changes to the US cult of guns?

Speaking at a meeting with survivors and families of the victims after the mass shooting by a 19-year-old at a school in Florida that left 17 dead, President Trump has evoked the possibility of arming teachers. Is this the way to prevent future massacres in schools?

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Frankfurter Rundschau (DE) /

The president is the biggest gun lobbyist

The Frankfurter Rundschau is completely stunned:

“Could things be any more absurd? Why not arm schoolchildren and start firing practice as soon as they can hold a gun? The next logical step is the proposal published recently on the satire site Postillon: don't ban weapons, ban schools. That's humour at its very darkest. ... None of Trump's other proposals - banning bump stock devices for semi-automatic weapons or investigating weapons purchasers - goes even a step in the right direction. On the contrary: the US president isn't just the gun lobby's most powerful ally, he's also its best salesman.”

Der Standard (AT) /

Next catastrophe only a matter of time

The frequency of mass shootings is a testament to the failure of US politics, Der Standard is sure:

“US politicians are clearly on the side of the gun lobby. It is as shocking as it is unacceptable that for decades now there has been no sensible amendment to gun laws, no matter whether the Republicans have a majority in Congress, as they do now with Donald Trump, or whether it was the Democrats under Bill Clinton or Barack Obama. As long as it is easier for a teen to buy an automatic rifle than a six-pack of beer, the next catastrophe is only a matter of time. And armed teachers are not going to change the situation.”

Jyllands-Posten (DK) /

Almost like the MeToo movement

Jyllands-Posten hopes that a turning point has been reached:

“What is happening now could change everything. Survivors from the school, led by 17-year-old Emma Gonzalez, are organising demonstrations and have set up a Facebook page ('Never again') that has over 90,000 followers. They are demanding changes and calling the politicians to account - at the regional and state level. One feels reminded of the MeToo movement that just a few days after it started put sexual abuse at the top of the agenda. ... Let's hope that Gonzalez and her friends create hope for the future out of the tragedy.”

Libération (FR) /

Support the anti-Trump youth

The young generation must be supported in its fight against the guns lobby, Libération urges:

“What a great response to Donald Trump's tirades this jeans and sneakers movement is! Will these high-school youths be able to shift the battle lines of a debate in which Obama failed to make any headway? We'll see on March 24. A number of celebs have already made their support for the movement known. Faced with the firepower of the NRA, such gestures won't suffice. Progressive Americans must seize this opportunity and give these youths a hand. They must help them to get organised, without trying to take control. And who knows? Perhaps the new faces of the anti-Trump movement are among the Parkland pupils.”

Financial Times (GB) /

Change is possible

In the Financial Times' view the change has already begun:

“America does have a gun culture, but cultures are not immutable. In other areas - race relations, for example - cultural changes over the past half century have been immense. And there are signs of cultural change on firearms: the proportion of US households that own guns has decreased significantly in recent decades. While national legislative change has been minimal, the funding and organisation of gun control groups, such as the Brady Campaign and Moms Demand Action, is improving. ... The political calculus may be shifting.”

The Irish Times (IE) /

Republicans sticking their heads in the sand

It's still too easy to obtain firearms in the US, The Irish Times complains:

“At moments like this, the United States needs leadership. Sadly, its president, Donald Trump, is a man who possesses neither the emotional wherewithal to comfort the bereaved nor the courage to take steps that would save others from dying in the same senseless way. Like him, Congressional Republican leaders offer prayers and condolences while impotently focusing their attention on everything except the blindingly obvious root of the problem: guns. ... Countries that ban or restrict access to guns, such as Australia, see a marked decline in fatalities.”

Zeit Online (DE) /

Weapons are not a cultural asset

Those who justify such crimes citing identity and the country's culture make themselves complicit, writes Zeit Online:

“Yes, the US constitution guarantees citizens the right to carry a weapon. But that constitution was written in 1787 and passed in an America that was very different to today's America. ... The US won't lose its identity by finally recognising that weapons for all citizens are not part of a cultural legacy that must be protected at any cost. The country, its history and identity are based on more than an amendment to the constitution. 'Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness' is still a key component of the US's DNA. But no one has ever achieved that with a weapon in their hand. The US must finally realise this, otherwise it will never awaken from this nightmare.”

HuffPost Italia (IT) /

There's a pattern to fear-mongering

The politics of fear are to blame for the cult of arms, religious historian Massimo Faggioli posits in the Huffington Post Italia:

“In Christian America the arms cult has contributed to dechristianisation and spread a sense of insecurity in which it's everyone against everyone. Amidst this insecurity firearms have become an idol before which all those in positions of power must bow down. ... The moral authorities, the political and religious institutions and also the Catholic Church 'made in the USA' are compromised. They remain silent and accept the death toll that weapons are claiming on a daily basis.”

Denik (CZ) /

Our politicians still haven't got the message

And Denik complains about a Czech law aimed at facilitating ownership of weapons:

“The day after such events there's always a discussion about amending America's weapons law but nothing ever changes. On the third day the clock starts ticking down to the next tragedy. ... Meanwhile leading politicians here in the Czech Republic post photos of themselves with machine guns and tell the people it's good for them to have a weapon to protect their home. Let's bear in mind that there is just one clear connection here: more weapons result in more deaths. Fewer weapons result in fewer deaths. Anyone who claims the contrary is lying. Either out of ignorance or intentionally.”