The AR-15

Reginald Dumas -
Reginald Dumas -


THE Express of March 29 reported that the police had seized two loaded AR-15 assault rifles in Diego Martin. By pure coincidence, I had, the day before, read a Washington Post article titled “The destructive power of the AR-15.”

The article was inspired by the March 27 shooting deaths in a Nashville, Tennessee school of six people, three of them nine-year-old children. The shooter, armed with a handgun and two AR-15s, was Audrey Elizabeth Hale, whom the Nashville police killed. They categorised Hale as transgender – “a biological woman who used male pronouns” – and that issue is part of their investigation.

Another Post article spoke of the carnage the AR-15 can cause: “(It) fires bullets at such a high velocity – often in a barrage of 30 or even 100 in rapid succession – that it can eviscerate multiple people in seconds. A single bullet lands with a shock wave intense enough to blow apart a skull and demolish vital organs….‘It literally can pulverise bones, it can shatter your liver and it can provide this blast effect,’ said a gunshot survivor (and) trauma surgeon at Johns Hopkins Hospital.”

With his parents’ prior permission, the article described the horrific damage done to a 15-year-old in a previous AR-15 shooting: “Two bullets tore into (his) chest. One entered his torso and flew upward, fragmenting and perforating his chest muscle, which bruised his lungs and created a cluster of three large exit wounds. The other struck the back of his upper right arm, pierced the shoulder joint and opened a gaping hole on the way out. The combined energy of those bullets created exit wounds so gaping that the autopsy described his head as ‘deformed’…”

I know nothing about weapons, but that account is graphic enough for even an ignoramus like me. We are extremely worried about rising and violent crime, and the PM recently announced that his government would be joining Mexico and others in considering legal action against US gun manufacturers for firearm-related offences in their countries.

We should all wish them well, but major obstacles lie in their way. For instance, the second amendment to the US Constitution gives US citizens the right to “keep and bear arms.” It’s true that it also speaks of a “well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state,” and you might have thought the US army and the multiplicity of police forces everywhere in that country a much more than sufficient militia (even if the police don’t always show themselves to be “well-regulated”).

But no: these days the militia are unregulated Trumpeteers desperate to claw back the ebbing dominance of Christian whites over non-whites and Jews, in their quest to make America great again. Awareness of the continuing decline in the number of whites as a percentage of the US population doesn’t help.

And if you have an unlimited constitutional right to bear arms, how can you exercise it satisfactorily if all types of arms are not manufactured and available? In a country, Trump notwithstanding, which is obsessed with the machismo of the gun, which exalts the private sector, and where many are still hard-wired with the frontier mentality, could you get the US Supreme Court, especially as at present constituted, to order limits on the production of assault weapons?

Could the court tell gun manufacturers to ensure that the weapons they make remain essentially within the US? How would that be possible? And will you not hear, amplified, the mantra of the National Rifle Association, music to the ears of the contemporary militia, that guns don’t kill people, it’s people who kill people?

In TT we make appeals to “put down the guns;” we implore God to “put a hand.” I don’t mean to be impolite, but these earnest entreaties by themselves are having no beneficial impact whatsoever on the rate of crime; at least one prominent pastor seems to agree that much more is needed. (And note that last month’s Nashville executions took place at a private Christian school which the shooter attended as a child.)

Shouldn’t there first be a policy, a plan of action, strategies, tactics for whose successful implementation you can by all means pray? And shouldn’t such policy, etc be founded on a detailed understanding of our society, which we clearly don’t have, and which would reveal causes to help us deal satisfactorily with, or even head off, a number of negative effects?

On April 10, there was another AR-15 mass shooting in the US, in Kentucky. On April 5, the Express reported that our police had seized another loaded AR-15, this time in Chase Village. I say no more, for now.


"The AR-15"

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