I'm sure the gun absolutists will either ignore or try to pick apart Elisabeth Rosenthal's New York Times story on guns in Latin America, but if she's right, she's making an interesting point about the gunners' preferred solution for the violence problem in the U.S.:
I recently visited some Latin American countries that mesh with the N.R.A.'s vision of the promised land, where guards with guns grace every office lobby, storefront, A.T.M., restaurant and gas station. It has not made those countries safer or saner.A quote from the story:
Despite the ubiquitous presence of "good guys" with guns, countries like Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Colombia and Venezuela have some of the highest homicide rates in the world....
In 2011, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Honduras led the world in homicides, with 91.6 per 100,000 people. But rates were also alarmingly high in El Salvador (69.1), Jamaica (40.9), Colombia (31.4) and Guatemala (38.5). Venezuela's was 45.1 in 2010 but is expected to be close to to 80 this year. The United States' rate is about 5.
THOUGH many of these countries have restrictions on gun ownership, enforcement is lax. According to research by Flasco, the Guatemalan Social Science Academy, illegal guns far outnumber legal weapons in Central America.
All that has spawned a thriving security industry -- the good guys with guns that grace every street corner -- though experts say it is often unclear if their presence is making crime better or worse. In many countries, the armed guards have only six weeks of training.
"A society that is relying on guys with guns to stop violence is a sign of a society where institutions have broken down," said Rebecca Peters, former director of the International Action Network on Small Arms. "It's shocking to hear anyone in the United States considering a solution that would make it seem more like Colombia."Or maybe it isn't so shocking. The gun lobby is part of the vast right-wing conspiracy. The NRA has long been in bed with the pro-plutocrat lobbyists of ALEC. I'm not sure there's a conscious strategy at work here, but is it really surprising that plutocracy advocates want to hollow out America's middle class and create a class structure more like those in Latin America (where U.S. corporations have traditionally found cheap, willing workers), while their pro-gun allies want us seeing one another as (literally) mortal enemies, while we lose focus on what the plutocrats are doing to us economically?
Is it unreasonable to see these as two aspects of the Third World-ization of America?