Gun Control laws in America - Debate

Discussion in 'Americas' started by Daredevil, Jul 1, 2009.

  1. Daredevil

    Daredevil On Vacation! Administrator

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    Gun culture on the rise among Indian Americans

    Gun culture on the rise among Indian Americans

    June 09, 2009

    From being the victim to becoming the aggressor, Indians are fast changing from a peace-loving community to a gun-toting one. Many Indian Americans are now taking advantage of the lax gun-control laws in the United States and buying firearms for protection.

    However, these guns have also been used for chilling purposes like settling personal scores or ending one's life. In the first part of a series, rediff India Abroad focuses on the rising trend of gun culture among Indian Americans and its immediate ramifications.
    In May, US witnessed as many as eight massacres across the country, which claimed 57 lives. Guns were the weapons of murder in each case.

    Santa Clara, California was where Devan Kalathat, 36, an engineer with Yahoo, killed his two children and three members of his family. The police ruled out financial issues and are awaiting answers from his wife Aabha, who was seriously injured in the shootout and is still recovering. Kalathat bought two semi-automatic guns a month before and was ready with ammunition that fateful day.

    Last November, Sanish Joseph Pallippurath, 27, traveled from Sacramento, California, with two guns in his vehicle, to confront his estranged wife Reshma, 25, who had moved in with an aunt on the East coast. He found her in the St Thomas Knanaya Church in Clifton, New Jersey. He opened fire on her inside the church, during mass, killing her and Dennis John, a young man who came forward to help. Reshma's aunt Suja Alummoottil miraculously survived the shooting but now lives with the bullet(s) in her head.

    A month before that, the body of 45-year-old Karthik Rajaram, a gun clutched in one hand, was found by police officers investigating a trail of carnage through a Porter Ranch home in the San Fernando Valley, California. The police, summoned by worried family friends, found five members of the family shot dead by an unemployed Rajaram, who was facing financial crisis. The victims, who were slain in their beds, were his wife, his three sons and his mother-in-law.

    Like Kalathat, Rajaram held a master's degree and once worked for PricewaterhouseCoopers, a major accounting firm, and for Sony Pictures. But he had been unemployed for several months and his finances had reached a crisis point.

    Rajaram wrote in his suicide letter that he felt he had two options -- to kill himself or to kill himself and his family. He decided the second option was more honourable. The gun was purchased a month before the incident. Rajaram had no record of mental disabilities nor had he made contact with mental health professionals. Like Kalathat, Rajaram had recently sold his home and moved to a rented house.

    As the economy started its meltdown, depression grew and despair has set in for many. Some ended up killing themselves and their families. Mental health hotlines are being flooded with calls.

    "I've never seen such a large number [of killings] over such a short period of time involving so many victims," criminologist Jack Levin told The Washington Post.

    "There's a combination of feeling despair and hopelessness at the same time as a certain degree of anger and blame," another criminologist, James Alan Fox, told the Post.

    Some predict there will be more mass murders as the recession continues.

    Too easily available guns have always played a critical role in escalating crime in the US. Indian Americans too are becoming part of this trend and are buying weapons.

    As the gun culture finds a toehold in even the Indian-American community, its members are not ready to confront the reality or even challenge the myths that surround our label as peace-loving people. Further, bizarre gun massacres may perhaps be a sign that the community is loathe to seek help or counseling even in dire circumstances.

    Many Indian Americans buy and carry guns out of necessity. Others buy it with the view to having another fancy possession. But when you have a gun in your hands, the temptation to use it also goes up, police and other experts warn.

    "Neither buy nor carry a gun. It will not protect you," is the advice of many Indian-American police officers in various cities to the community.

    "I will not carry a gun, 90 per cent of the time, even though I am permitted to carry a gun at all times anywhere in the US," says Sergeant Tomi Methipara, the first Indian to join the Chicago Police Department.

    Muzzafar Siddiqui of the Houston Police Department narrates another incident indicating why Indian Americans are not cut out to carry or use guns. He recalls how after several robberies at his store, an Indian-American shop owner decided to purchase a gun.

    Subsequently a young man came into his store as a customer, pointed a gun at the owner and his employees, ordered them to lie down and took the cash. As he moved back, still pointing his gun, the shop owner succeeded in grabbing his gun at the last minute and shot the fleeing thief dead.

    When the police arrived on the scene, the store owner was crying inconsolably. Siddiqui recalls he kept lamenting, "He was of the same age as my son. Yet I killed him."

    The local police backed the shop owner's action since it is legal to use a firearm to protect one's property in Texas. But the shop owner found it hard to overcome and live with his remorse.

    But while it is okay to wield a gun in protection of yourself or your property in Texas, it may not be the same in other states.

    Last year, a Harris County Texas jury found Hardeep Grewal -- who was accused of killing Nitin 'Nathan' Sarangapani, a 24-year-old Marine reservist in 2005 -- not guilty of murder. Grewal, an engineer, claimed he acted in self defence when he shot Sarangapani, who was dating his daughter.

    Sarangapani died on his birthday, a little after midnight. He was hosting a birthday party and witnesses told the court that Sarangapani had been drinking for hours. He and his girlfriend had an argument at the party. The girlfriend testified that Sarangapani was angry when she asked him to take her home. Another witness said Sarangapani called the Grewals after he dropped her off. After the call Sarangapani appeared in front of the Grewals' home, police said.

    Grewal told the jury that he was protecting himself when he opened fire in the dark outside his home, striking Sarangapani once in the chest.

    Grewal apologised for the shooting. During the trial, he said he grieved much for the loss of life. Grewal told the court that there had been no electricity that day because of Hurricane Rita and he was worried about looters, when he saw a man yelling in front of his home. He appeared to point something at him.

    Grewal said he fired a warning shot from the second-story balcony of his home, climbed down and fired two more warning shots with his AK-47 rifle. Before that he called 911.

    "The gun is not always the culprit. Criminals who want to commit murders will do it even if they had no access to guns," says Andrew Arulanandam, director of public affairs at the National Rifles Association, the most powerful advocacy group in the country.

    Manohar Thomas, who owns two liquor shops in Staten Island, New York, does not agree with police officers Siddiqui and Methipara. He says he took a gun license after several robbery attempts. "Four or five young men will come to a store pretending to buy liquor. One will come forward and speak to the owner/salesman and others will pick up expensive liquor and run away without paying," he says.

    So Thomas decided to apply for a gun license and got it the next day. The police understand the problems faced by liquor shops quite well, he says. He keeps the semi-automatic rifle -- that he bought for $3,800 -- under his coat, partially visible to those who look carefully, so that youngsters who come to rob can assess the situation. When they realise the owner has a gun they signal to their team to flee.

    He says thieves are invariably well-equipped with weapons, usually guns. "And unlike us, they have no hesitation in using them. So if a business owner feels threatened, it is better that he uses it before the other guy uses it. We have much hesitation to use guns, but these youngsters live with guns always and for them it is like another toy."

    Thomas says if a store owner shows he is weak, news spreads among these gangs of armed robbers and they will certainly rob that store. "We are afraid of carrying a gun, fearing the laws, in case if we are forced to use it. But we need to fear the laws only if we are alive."


    Like many Texan women, Aleyamma Mathews is the proud owner of a Lady Smith handgun for more than two decades. She says she felt safe with it when she was alone at home. She paid about $200 to buy it, then, and went to classes to learn to shoot. She has not had to use it.

    Her husband, who lived in New Jersey for many years, says he tried to buy a gun there several times. But the police would not allow him, saying he did not require it. In New York too, especially in the city, the laws are more stringent. But it is easy to buy guns illegally or from the occasional gun exhibitions, where background checking is minimum.

    Nationally about 350,000 firearm-related murders, robberies, and aggravated assaults occur yearly, according to Federal Bureau of Investigation statistics. In the vast majority of defensive uses, the victim simply brandishes the gun and the offender leaves -- which is why one rarely hears about such incidents, explains Florida [ Images ] State University criminologist Gary Kleck.
     
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  3. Pintu

    Pintu New Member

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    Regards DD posting for the article , this is timely needed. This is a very sad thing Indian Community leaving in foreign land is really peace loving community, but I personally think as they are living long in the USA, therefore they are coming under influence of bad effect of the Gun culture, as it is on the rise, and however , I think younger generation of the Indian Americans are falling victim of this , as the first generation Indian Americans tries to preserve their true Identity as Indian while being American , they are resistant to the such violence as it is against Indian ideologies, but especially younger at least youngest generation are being brought up within the environment where the news of Gun culture becoming more accessible to them, via Internet , TV and other media, and with the effects from the violence of majority Hollywood movies where gun and blood speaks are affecting their soft adolescence mind, and also easy availability of sophisticated Gun (Not country made one) as in the USA price of a sophisticated gun is much lower than that of India's, also a cause of this. I may be proves wrong in this assumption. Thankfully we have many respected Indian American members in this forum, I think and I request them to please enlighten us more about this problem.

    Regards
     
  4. johnee

    johnee Elite Member Elite Member

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    Hmm....truely timely post DD. But is Gun culture restricted to US? I see that Gun culture(to be more precise, culture of violence) is spreading in younger generation within India as well. We recently saw an incident where a school incident shot dead his friends(IIRC). This is bad effects of hollywood and unmonitored net-surfing. Also bad parenting(not to say that parents are completely responsible) at some level. We need our education to stress on human values and our old stories(found in ramayana, mahabharata, jataka stories.....etc) would be good.
     
  5. Pintu

    Pintu New Member

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    ^^^ You are absolutely right Johnee, the same thing is happening to here also, as you pointed out major cause is effect of Hollywood action movies on the immature minds and non monitored net surfing and also I like to add too many violent shooting games are releasing nowadays are easily available now, are also adding to the problem in both the countries.

    Regards
     
  6. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    the problem is many young kids are getting sophisticated weapons illegally, there are responsible adults who have guns, but illegal guns,drugs,violent upbringing makes a deadly mix.
     
  7. Daredevil

    Daredevil On Vacation! Administrator

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    I wouldn't put blame entirely on Hollywood movies, they were here form ages and we didn't such incidents happening. It has more to do with lack of monitoring of kids by parents, increased violence in society, ease of access to arms are some of the few things that influence kids to do such stupid things.

    Regarding gun culture among Indian Americans, one of the main reason is increased violence/attacks on people in US on a daily basis, especially when you are residing in a bad locality. I used to live in Baltimore, which had one of the highest crime rates in US owing to the presence of African americans in high concentrations in the down-town areas. That is the one of the reason for these guys to keep guns with them.

    Once you have a gun, you can be trigger happy depending on your emotional, mental or drunken state and will lead to such disasters of taking innocent lives.

    You guys need to watch 'Bowling of Columbine' by Michael Moore to understand the gun culture of US.
     
  8. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    right now in America the young kids are influenced heavily by rap music and violent gangster lifestyle, even at many India functions have metal detectors at the door and heavy security, i remember in college i went to an Indian party and there was a shootout and this was 20+ years ago, things have gotten a lot worst.
     
  9. Antimony

    Antimony Regular Member

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    I am a gun lover and I take issue with the tone of this article. There isn't necessarily a conflict between peace loving and gun toing (or more accurately, someone carrying a weapon legally).

    Any responsible person who is familiar with firearms will know enough to treat them with care
     
  10. NikSha

    NikSha Regular Member

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    Yeah but most responsible people never need a firearm to solve their differences in the first place.

    This has nothing to do with Hollywood, net surfind or mickey mouse cartoon where you see mafia spoofs. This is all about bad parenting and the kind of neighbourhood those kids grow up in.


    Oh and most of these cases in India? I read them, wasn't shocked or surprised.. especially when I read how the fathers of those kids left the weapons just lieing around after cleaning them up...
     
  11. Antimony

    Antimony Regular Member

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    Feel free to reason with a bunch of thugs who break into your house with the intent of causing bodily harm in more ways than I care to describe here. Do not forget to remind them of their responsibilities. I hope you will be able to resolve your differences peacably.:bye:

    And that is what I mean by responsibity. It is criminal to leave any dangerous object of any kind around kids. Why just a gun, would you give a child a sharp knife or a screwdriver to play with?
     
  12. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    true Antimony they are lumping everyone in the same camp.
     
  13. K Factor

    K Factor A Concerned Indian Senior Member

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    Ah Yes, there goes the blame west agenda again.

    As if there is no violence and guns in hindi-bollywood movies. Do you want Chinese style net-filtering as well?

    True LF, I too hate this generalization.
    Also, most people forget that its not the licensed guns that are mostly used in crimes but the illegal ones.
     
  14. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    Nik your opinion would be different if you lived in USA, the more heavily you are armed the better for your family.
     
  15. Abhy

    Abhy New Member

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    Analysis: Colorado shooting unlikely to spur changes in gun laws | Reuters

    I am so appalled to read the statements from the article which say as follows.

    Speaking on WOR Radio on Friday, Bloomberg called on Obama and Romney to tell the public what they would do to reduce gun violence.

    "Soothing words are nice, but maybe it's time that the two people who want to be president of the United States stand up and tell us what they are going to do about it, because this is obviously a problem across the country," he said.

    "I don't think there's any other developed country in the world that has remotely the problem we have," Bloomberg said. "We have more guns than people in this country."
     
  16. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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  17. spikey360

    spikey360 Crusader Senior Member

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    The United States should focus on dispensing proper psychological treatment to its citizens rather than villifying law abiding citizens trying to protect their life by keeping guns. Without a doubt, the right to bear arms is fundamental and is God given. It must not be curtailed citing a madman.
    Norway has stricter gun control. Did that stop Breivik? Did the fact that gun possession is almost zero among Indians stop the 26-11 carnage? An assailant dead set on killing would get hold of weapons in any case.
     
  18. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    What do you think would have happened during the 26/11 attacks if Indians had the right to bear arms?
     
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  19. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    US citizens are probably better armed than many militaries across the globe. There will never
    be complete gun bans maybe certain kind of guns but even that is doubtful. Gun bans don't
    solve much when criminals have guns and citizens are helpless? This is exactly the situation
    in India where criminals and terrorists are well armed and ordinary citizens are sheep. I never
    understood why India shouts from the rooftops about hostile neighbors and does not arm it's
    citzens in border states?
     
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  20. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    Exactly.

    Those who will break the law, will break the law, whether gun rights or no gun rights.
     
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  21. Predator

    Predator Regular Member

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    which is a good thing, people can protect themselves without waiting for the police to come to their rescue.
     

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