Frykt og frihet er fundamentet for USAs dødelige våpenkultur

frykt og frihet er fundamentet for usas dødelige våpenkultur
© Leveres av ABC Nyheter En samling våpen vises fram i New York under et amnestiprogram der myndighetene kjøper våpen som er i privat eie, for å få dem vekk fra gata. Foto: Bebeto Matthews / AP / NTB

I 1776 hadde de amerikanske koloniene nettopp erklært seg uavhengige, og mens krigen raste, var USAs grunnlovsfedre opptatt av en opprivende debatt: Burde amerikanerne ha rett til å bære våpen som individer, eller bare som medlemmer av en milits?

Svaret ble todelt. Våpenretten ble nedfelt i det andre grunnlovstillegget. Den sier:

«En velregulert milits er nødvendig for sikkerheten til en fri stat, folkets rett til Ã¥ oppbevare og bære vÃ¥pen skal ikke krenkes».

Den setningen får store konsekvenser for hverdagslivet den dag i dag, og spørsmålet er minst like betent nå som da grunnlovsfedrene først diskuterte det.

Flere masseskytinger

Torsdag i forrige uke var det denne formuleringen USAs høyesterett viste til da New Yorks våpenlovgivning ble slått ned. Det er grunnlovsstridig å kreve at amerikanere må ha bæretillatelse, mener høyesterett. Del to av grunnlovstillegget brukes som argument.

Det skjer etter en opprivende vår og sommer der flere masseskytinger igjen har satt sinnene i kok. Desperasjonen er til å ta og føle på når myndighetspersoner, overlevende og pårørende uttaler seg om blant annet skoleskytingen i Uvalde, der 19 barn ble skutt og drept.

Mange spør seg hvorfor så mange amerikanere tviholder på retten til å bære våpen når de ser lidelsene skytevåpnene skaper.

Eksperter sier at svaret ligger både i arven etter seieren over mektige briter og mer nylig i forståelsen av at skytevåpen er viktig for egen sikkerhet.

I løpet av de siste to tiårene – en periode der mer enn 200 millioner skytevåpen er blitt solgt på det amerikanske markedet – har USA gått fra én våpenkultur til en annen. Våpnene er ikke lenger i amerikanske hjem for hobby eller jakt, men for sikkerhet.

Skapt av markedsføring

Ryen Busse, en tidligere toppleder i våpenindustrien, sier det er våpenprodusentene som har bidratt til dette med reklamekampanjer som sår frykt i befolkningen.

Den siste tidens massedrapsmenn er «et biprodukt av våpenindustriens forretningsmodell som er laget for å tjene på økt hat, frykt og konspirasjoner», skriver Busse i magasinet The Bulwark.

Våpenspørsmålet har ikke noe svar det er mulig å sette to streker under. Samtidig som høyesterettsavgjørelsen kom, tok Senatet et skritt mot å vedta en viktig våpenlov. Det er tverrpolitisk enighet om loven, som blant annet åpner for økt bruk av bakgrunnssjekker.

Samtidig skal det bli lettere å ta våpnene fra enkeltpersoner som blir ansett å være farlige.

Mange har stilt spørsmål om hvorvidt grunnlovsfedrene virkelig kunne forutse at USA skulle bli det landet med soleklart flest våpendrap da de la rammene for framtiden i på 1770 og -80-tallet.

Våpen som folkets fordel

En ting de var helt klare på, var at amerikanerne skulle ha våpen. De europeiske monarkienes våpenmonopol var selve kilden til undertrykkelsen amerikanerne kjempet imot.

James Madison, kalt grunnlovens far, la vekt på at nettopp tilgangen på våpen ga folket i USA en fordel folk i andre land ikke hadde.

Grunnlovsfedrene anerkjente også at folk måtte ha tilgang på våpen for å jakte, samt beskytte seg mot lovløse mennesker og ville dyr. Men det var frykt for at flere våpen i private hender ville skape nettopp lovløse tilstander.

I 1791 kom de til et kompromiss som ble til nettopp den setningen i det andre grunnlovstillegget som hele dagens våpendebatt kretser rundt.

I de neste to tiårene ble våpen til en viktig del av den amerikanske kulturen. Den første våpenkulturen, slik professor David Yamane ved Wake Forest-universitetet beskriver den, handlet om våpnene som et viktig verktøy for jegere og utforskere. Våpnene ble også brukt i folkemordet på urbefolkningen og for å holde slavene i sjakk.

Likvideringer og krav om forbud

Men tidlig i det 20. århundret ble et stadig mer urbant USA åsted for våpenvold i et omfang ingen andre land hadde sett. Fra 1900 til 1964 var det mer enn 265.000 drap begått med skytevåpen, 330.000 selvmord og 139.000 skyteuhell.

I 1934 vedtok de føderale myndighetene et forbud mot maskinpistoler og et krav om at alle skytevåpen måtte registreres og beskattes. Flere delstater innførte egne våpenlover, blant annet forbud mot å bære våpen offentlig.

Folket har hele tiden støttet slike innstramminger. I 1959 sa 60 prosent at de støttet et forbud mot personlige skytevåpen. Likvideringene av president John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy og Martin Luther King førte også til nye krav om forbud.

Men våpenmakerne og den voksende organisasjonen National Rifle Association (NRA) var imot. De brukte millioner på millioner i lobbyvirksomhet for å hindre nye våpenbegrensninger.

På 1970- og 80-tallet fikk NRA i stadig større grad med seg republikanerne i å mene at det andre grunnlovstillegget var absolutt, og at enhver form for regulering var et angrep på friheten.

Religiøst og ideologisk

Matthew lacombe, professor ved Barnard College, sier at NRA klarte å etablere en våpensentrisk ideologi og sosial identitet for våpeneierne.

NRA slo seg også sammen med den religiøse høyresiden, påpeker Jessica Dawson, professor ved militærakademiet West Point.

– De begynte å bruke et mer religiøst ladd språk for å heve det andre grunnlovstillegget over restriksjonene til de sekulære myndighetene, sier Dawson.

Siden 2009 har våpensalget skutt i været. Det er solgt mer enn ti millioner våpen i året siden 2013.

– Majoriteten av våpeneiere i dag, særlig de nye våpeneierne, peker på selvforsvar som den viktigste grunnen til å eie våpen, sier Yamane.

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