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Jill Stein: US faces ‘political problem’ in tackling violent gun crime

Published time: December 15, 2013 04:22
Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein speaks at a news conference at the Green Party presidential nominating convention in Baltimore,  (Reuters / Jonathan Ernst)

On the anniversary of the Sandy Hook massacre and following a gun assault at a Colorado school, the US must confront the political problems that prevent gun crime from properly tackled, 2012 Green Party Presidential Candidate Dr. Jill Stein told RT.

Saturday marks the one-year anniversary of the Sandy Hook school shootings, in which 20 children and six school workers died. US President Barack Obama called for tighter gun control measures as he commemorated the day.

On Friday, a student opened fire at a high school in Centennial, Colorado, critically injuring a classmate before apparently taking his own life. The school is located down the road from the Aurora movie theater where a gunman went on a shooting spree in 2012, killing 12 people. It is also just 15 miles from Littleton - where two enrolled teenagers opened fire at Columbine High School in 1999, murdering 12 students and a teacher.

Stein told RT that gun violence, and its interaction with broader social and political problems in the country, clearly still needs tackling, and that the wide availability of arms isn’t necessarily protecting people. Rather, it is often doing just the opposite.

It’s a very complicated problem, but that said, there’s a lot we can do about it. And while rates of violent crime and gun homicides have gone down over the last two decades, really they are still sky high compared to what they could be - and what they should be. We have about 100 times the rate of gun homicides and violent gun crimes relative to many countries of Western Europe and we should not be in the business of normalizing violence,” said Stein.

It’s clear there is a relationship between gun violence and economic violence and poverty, and racial disparities and economic disparities. And the more we become an unjust society, the more we are at risk for continuing gun violence and potentially growing gun violence,” she added.

While 90 percent of Americans want the issue to be solved, there is a political problem that prevents the US from fixing it in the way that the people would like, Stein said.

People don’t trust government because government has been bought and paid for by powerful special interests like the NRA. And the NRA is actually doing a disservice and fails to represent the interests of ordinary gun owners because it has become dominated by big industry. And its policies essentially reflect a marketing strategy to keep selling guns.”

Stein argues that the US should look to other countries such as Australia, which is just as much of a gun culture as America, when searching for great examples of dealing with the issue of gun control.

“In 1995 when they passed limits on automatic weapons [implemented] background checks, and actually did a buyback of dangerous automatic and semiautomatic weapons – they have not had a single mass shooting ever since. And the rates of ordinary gun violence dropped by half. They have saved $500 billion per year. It has not been a slippery slope in Australia.”

Comments (49)


Vernon Huffman 28.12.2013 22:57

Let's disarm from the top down, first by cutting funds for the military. I refuse to pay taxes to the US government until the Pentagon is closed. Please join me.

We've got to prevent militarization of our local police forces and create a culture that honors those officers who best use nonviolent methods to deescalate tense situations. These are our heroes.


Bob 19.12.2013 22:33

gun violence is a social problem. The controlling interests in the US have indoctranated the population with determination of individualism as a opposed to socialism. They have been lead to believe through TV movies, the glorification of murders and outlaws to be their own judge and jury with thier own individual sense of justice. They are not as a country socially minded. Helping themselves is more important than helping their neighbour. Yet individually Americans are gregarious. Not the most gregarious people in the the but still gregarious.


Ally Hauptmann-Gurski 19.12.2013 04:08

I see it differently. The US defines herself through their megabusinesses who dominate the world markets and their worldwide military presence. If you had a culture like I had in West Berlin, where even toy guns were not allowed (you do not point at a person with the goal to kill) you'd get a lot less enthusiasm for the military, both in partcipating and in funding them. The NRA culture conditions people for the military and that's it. Sandy Hook was collateral damage for having a strong military because a strong military requires a gun culture like the NRA cultivates.

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