Cultural differences

26 Jul

Last week marked the first anniversary of the massacre in Norway of 77 people, most of them young people at a youth camp. The perpetrator was Anders Behring Breivik, a right-wing gun nut. During his trial, Brevik was allowed free reign to express his opinions and explain how he hoped to move Norway away from the path of democracy. Support for such politics has almost completely died away in that country. The Norwegian Prime minister, Jens Stoltenberg, said that Breivik had failed to alter Norway’s attitude to open society.

“The bomb and the shots were intended to change Norway. People responded by embracing our values. He failed, the people won,” the prime minister told the crowds at the memorial in central Oslo.

The Batman shooting at the cinema in Aurora, Colorado on Friday left 12 dead and 58 injured. It has been suggested that the attack could prompt a debate on firearm ownership in the USA. Instead, there has been a significant upsurge in the number of people attempting to buy guns in the state. The Norwegians voluntarily gave up their guns while American citizens were busy arming themselves. Such cultural differences are worth commenting on.

Both President Obama and Mitt Romney used the word “evil” to describe the killings. President Obama has modestly suggested that there should be gun controls for those with criminal records and those with mental health issues. No doubt the NRA will defend the status quo. The question I would like to ask is why it is possible for anyone to legally own an assault rifle? This weapon is not designed to help defend your home or to go hunting with. The sole purpose of an assault rifle is to kill many people in as short a time as is possible. What is to stop an innocent collector of guns from going mad and turning them on his neighbours?

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