Weapons Are Big Business

By Radio Havana Cuba:

The news is really impressive by itself: a 12 year-old boy in a rural community in the United States shot and killed his parents and assaulted his two brothers, but even while the media reporting on the event didn’t give any details, it is evident there is a lot more behind it.

The country has about 310 million people and it is estimated that 300 million guns of all calibers are on the streets –from handguns to high-powered assault rifles. That makes the ratio almost one gun per person.

The arms industry in the U.S. is the most powerful of all, and is certainly the only one that did not feel the effects of the global capitalist crisis. It continues to do good business all the time, both inside and outside of the United States.

This comes at the same time that other infamous giants tumbled such as General Motors, which was forced to receive a government bailout.

Some say that having a gun in the U.S. is almost like professing a religion, fueled by a good structure and a powerful propaganda lobby in Congress to prevent any controls on gun ownership. Today, buying a gun is almost as easy as purchasing a TV.

Last month, the U.S. House of Representatives rejected a bill that would require sellers of firearms, particularly those that deal in the states near the border with Mexico, to inform authorities about the purchase of two or more assault rifles by the same person.

Do you still remember that the Congress of the state of Texas was presented with a project to allow armed teachers and students attending its universities?

The pretext is like Donald Duck comics. It is the nonsensical theory of arming everyone to avoid shootings, such as those that take place in schools and at university campuses across the country.

But the backdrop is another, since there are nearly 40 universities and a half million students in Texas alone.

That means a profitable market that could be expanded whenever Utah might pass a similar law, and the example will be undoubtedly spread throughout the country.

According to the International Institute for Peace Research in Stockholm, half of the largest arms manufacturers in the world are based in the U.S. and some of them, such as Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman and General Dynamics are among the five major weapons industries of the planet.

The same source notes that in the midst of a severe economic crisis, sales of the companies producing these weapons grew by 8% in 2009 and collected 401 billion dollars.

The demand in this sector increased by 59% between 2002 and 2009, meaning that it is a huge business.

However, it is different when you look at the social cost of such a wonderful profitability because, for instance, 81 people die everyday on average in the United States as a result of gunshot wounds –that is, one every 17 minutes. Moreover, a child dies every three hours by gunshot wounds.

In other words, the profits of the arms industry are translated into 29 thousand 500 lives each year, only in the United States.

There is no way of knowing the human cost on the planet when a gun, rifle or machinegun, made in the USA, is fired.

It looks like a monstrosity that a 12 year-old boy takes a gun and kills his parents, but if only the curtain is half-opened, it will be clearly seen what is behind this news story.

We will discover a sick society, full of fear and hatred, armed to the teeth, where no one feels safe.

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