Category Archives: culture

Dumb ways to die – be safe around guns!

Recent situation on the West and aggressive politics of Russia is certainly worrying most of the world. Those who are touched by the problem the most are Ukrainians, but their neighbours don’t feel completely safe either. Some Poles are also afraid of the possible danger. Thus, a draft of the bill concerning legalisation of gunfire in order to protect your home prepared by an organization called Citizen Movement of Gun Lovers (Ruch Obywatelski Miłośników Broni) has been brought to the debate. The vice chairman of this organisation wrote a letter to the Prime Minister, Donald Tusk, to state that he and his organisation along with their supporters think that everybody should have legal access to guns, in order to protect ‘domestic peace’. But I really doubt that this is good idea.

Firstly, we should keep in mind that actually you can have legal gun in Poland.  The thing is that you have to go through numerous trainings and you are examined. This way, it is very unlikely a weapon will be obtained by somebody who may potentially be dangerous to others. And you are able to handle gun properly. Not ensuring that the person to be given permission is responsible enough not to go around and kill people and animals on his or her way is a huge mistake, especially in a politically and economically unstable country which Poland certainly is. Even if this country has one of the most strict policies towards gunfire, arming people who are angry at the  government and dissatisfied with their lives may not be the best idea.

The gun culture is something we associate the United States with. Its history starts with Samuel Colt and lasts till today, as it is important part of American culture. The famous Second  Amendment is probably what some Poles would like to see in their law. But the statistics are clear – the more strict policy towards gunfire, the less hold ups there are in the country. In the USA each year more than 11 000 people die by the firearm, while in Poland in 2012 there were only about 500 crimes involving gunfire, with only 30 murders. Of course, there is also Switzerland where guns are easily accessible and the gun crime rate is one of the lowest in the world. But the society is completely different and the social gap almost doesn’t exist unlike in United States and Poland. pistol-106630_640   The main argument for facilitating the access to guns is to protect our lives and property. But people don’t seem to want guns around. Recently, I saw a debate about the safety of Poland during which one of the representatives of nationalistic party, that is very fond of the idea, asked if what others think about legalizing gunfire. Everybody laughed. It probably shows the general attitude towards weapons among Poles – let’s invest on professional army who is able to protect our property as the idea of teaching teenagers how to shoot seem  potentially dangerous. But on the other hand, reading comments along the web, there is also plenty of people wanting everybody to have possibility to have legal weapon. So as always, there are those who are in favour and those who are not.

When I was browsing the website of the ROMB is that there is a lot of quotes from such great personalities as Bonaparte or Thomas Jefferson. But uploading only half of a quote I deem inappropriate. I was struck when I saw only the first part of famous words by John Fitzgerald Kennedy – ‘ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country’. These words are all about  patriotism and willingness to stand for your country. Using it in the gun context seem out of line to me. Let alone the fact that some of these sentences seem absolutely out of touch with the subject.

All in all, nobody said that current world order and peace assured by organisations such as UN or do EU will last forever. In today’s world, we have to think how strong in the military way we have to be in order to maintain peace. Even if it’s a paradox, the logic says that if we have power to fight back, we will be left alone. But let’s not risk galloping rate of gun crime. It’s not worth it.