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US gun restraint shows cultural gap

Source:Global Times Published: 2013-9-18 0:53:02

The horrible shooting at the US Navy Yard in Washington on Monday has caused 13 people dead including one of the shooters, and 14 people wounded. The 34-year-old attacker was a former Navy reservist, and a military subcontractor after retirement.

The US President Barack Obama condemned the shooting as a "cowardly act." But in the meantime, some people have commented on the Internet, saying this is part of US culture. The absence of a shooting may be more likely to make headlines in the US nowadays.

Shooting incidents have been torturing the US for a long time. This recurring issue has been arousing waves of debates in the US society, but no progress has seen about how to address it.

When mass shootings happen, US presidents deliver heart-stirring and appealing addresses to the public, but no concrete policies and promises are solidified afterward. Social expectations of legislative action have diminished as a result.

People in the US have divided attitudes toward gun control. But the confrontation between the two opposing groups leaves progress on reform stagnated. Gun control is a hot potato, and the US presidents may only strike a pose, but actually keep respectfully aloof from it.

If gun control could be carried out, bringing under effective control the 270 million guns which are owned by US civilians would be a significant social reform, touching many vested interests, especially the ones engaged in the profitable gun business

These shootings cannot force the US into a chaotic society. In fact, considering the massive amount of 270 million guns, about 100,000 people who get shot each year is hardly that frequent.

The US society, which upholds "small government" and self-governance, is so different from Chinese society. China needs its government to take  on as many responsibilities as possible.

Firearms are strictly prohibited among Chinese civilians, but self-made bombs and guns can also be found occasionally. In fact, Chinese society lacks the ability of self-governance, and it can only depend on the strengthening of government administration to fill the gap. It costs China much more to maintain the same level of social security than the US.

People can imagine what will happen if Chinese civilians are allowed to own guns. Chinese public opinion is always extremely irritable and demand the government to take strict actions when violent cases happened, but in the US, public opinion usually responds in a relatively peaceful manner to the recurrent shootings and campus violence. China and the US have very different governing cultures.

No matter where these violent cases happened, in the US or China, both countries need to show sympathy to each other and try to draw some experiences and lessons from the other side. Both of them should realize that stability and order are what really matter.

Posted in: Editorial