Over two thousand years ago, the Asian sage Confucius said that effective governments provide weapons, food, and trust to its people. If trust is broken and food is expensive, the government should abandon weapons until food and trust is once again established. As we look back on recent mass shootings across the U.S., I ask myself- where do all of these weapons come from?
Did you know that the United States is the number one producer and exporter of guns and weapons? Every year, we as taxpayers spend billions of dollars funding and subsidizing arms deals with unstable countries and have created a global society where one in four people can have access to guns. In 2011, the Mexican government filed to sue the U.S. for importing weapons and funding a continuation of violence and global instability. According to the New York Times, in one example of the U.S. arms trade, known as “Operation Fast and Furious”, federal agents allowed the illegal purchase of approximately two thousand guns, but did not intervene to arrest or seize the weapons because they were trying to identify higher-ups in the crime network. The bureau lost track of the guns, and two of these American-made guns were used to murder an American Border patrol agent near Mexico.
When I reflect upon how our Military-Industrial complex has flooded our world with weapons, it is not surprising to me that gun violence is so prevalent. When I was a little girl, my aunt and several other people were shot and killed by her husband, a Vietnam Veteran who had been discharged from a VA hospital. Perhaps we as a society need to examine why men in our country are feeling the need to go on killing rampages.
As a member of the Portland School Board and a volunteer at a local high school, I doubt that further arming of our schools will prevent gun violence. Thirty percent of public schools in the U.S. have armed guards, and armed police were at Virginia Tech and Columbine High School when both shootings occurred. Also, let us not forget the students who were murdered by armed police at Kent State.
Confucius supported eating with chopsticks because he believed that knives and forks were weapons inappropriate to have at the dinner table. I say that guns are inappropriate weapons to have at educational institutions. Rather than simply attempt to limit guns for individuals though specific laws, we need to stop spreading our enormous arms trade and spending billions of tax dollars every year to subsidize weapons.