Tuesday, October 26, 2010

America´s Access to Guns and the Effect it has on American Gangs and Political Instability Abroad

By:  Isis Goldberg

Our founding fathers created the Bill of Rights as basic rights to which each individual living in the United States is entitled.  One of the most potentially dangerous and perilous of these rights, however, is the Second Amendment, which grants the right to keep and bear arms. 

As Michael Moore depicted in the documentary “Bowling for Columbine” guns are readily available for purchase to Americans of all ages across the United States.  Michael Moore´s film was made popular because it shows the detrimental effects to our schools when guns are made easily accessible to frustrated suburban children.   For individuals who were raised on the streets the figures and facts reflected in the documentary were not shocking.

The notion that guns can be bought at K-Mart should not be alarming; rather, the reality that guns can be bought in the back alleys of many neighborhoods is frightening. 

In the context of the underdeveloped, urban ghettos that are generally populated with impoverished people of color, access to guns has not provided for self protection in the way contemplated by our founding fathers.  Instead, guns have triggered and vigorously driven up incidence rates of violent crimes, the emergence of new gangs, and the distribution of drugs. 

The unfortunate reality is that in many urban areas such as Los Angeles, New York, Atlanta, Chicago, and Oakland, a significant percentage of people have been direct and indirect victims of firearms.  This is particularly true among people of color.  Although weapons are not the cause of gang violence, the legal accessibility of guns in our country by licensed retailers increases the use of illegal guns in our streets. This has resulted in an epidemic of violence and murder in many urban communities.  Furthermore, the easy access to of firearms increases insecurity in our schools, our parks, our homes and our lives.

Easy access to guns has also created a monumental effect in world stability and well-being. Sources in the United States illegally sell and distribute weapons in Latin America and Africa.  A prime example of this phenomenon is seen with the Mara Salvatrucha, one of the most dangerous gangs in the world, which originated in Los Angeles.  The gang currently, terrorizes El Salvador and other Central American countries, as well.  The Mara Salvatrucha has managed to gain so much power and strength in part due to the fact that when they were originally deported to El Salvador from the U.S. for illegally residing in the country, they maintained their ties to other gang members in Los Angeles.  These ties continued to provide gang members in Central America with access to powerful, state-of-the-art-guns that are often stronger and more numerous than weapons that are accessible to government officials in those countries.

When you drive across the San Diego, Tijuana border there is a clear sign that states, “WARNING: Weapons/Ammo Illegal in Mexico.”  Mexico is aware that the vast majority of weapons in the Mexican black market come from the United States.  While America imports drugs, it also exports dangerous weapons that lead to an unbelievable amount of deaths.

At the end of the day, although our founding fathers believed that the right to bear arms was a fundamental right for all citizens, today it has caused more harm than good, within our borders and beyond.  The presence of illegally acquired weapons from the U.S. ultimately and inevitably results in unnecessary violence.    

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