I suspect that for the majority of people not born and raised in the USA, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that the Second Amendment—giving US citizens a RIGHT to possess a firearm, unconnected to service in the militia, and to use that firearm for traditionally “lawful” purposes, such as self-defence within the home—is crazier than any psychotic mass murderer.
The horror of the Connecticut school shooting and grief for the innocent lives lost and their families was shared in every New Zealand home. Yet we know this won’t be the last mass shooting, and although such tragedies can and do happen in every country, everyone knows the next one or the next one after that, is most likely to be in the USA. Obviously there are numerous complex reasons for this, summarised so eloquently by Nigel Barber in his Psychology Today blog post on the 23rd July. As he concludes “All we can really be sure about is that the less access there is to rapid-firing weapons, the less likely that such events are to occur and the lower the body count. But that is only common sense.”