The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Using the Newtown Massacre to Sell More Guns

Jan 7, 2013

On December 14, 2012, Adam Lanza took his mother’s assault rifle, shot her to death, and then massacred twenty-six children, teachers, and school workers in Newtown, Connecticut.

The ghastly crime in a very well-off city–“how could something like that happen here?”

It couldn’t be ignored: once again a mass killer had used an assault rifle, a military firearm with high-capacity magazines. There was an immediate public reaction against the easy access to such weapons. The NRA (National Rifle Association), the chief public relations and marketing shill for gun manufacturers, heard the reaction–and went silent.

One week later, the NRA’s leader announced his answer to the problem. In a fit of lunacy, he proposed that every school have an armed guard, and that teachers be trained to carry concealed weapons.

Surely it is insane to want every child educated in an atmosphere implying that a gun battle may break out at any moment! It’s lunacy to pretend that there are no more rational social solutions to the endless procession of mass murders, spousal murders, suicides and violence.

But behind the NRA’s lunacy is cold calculation. Manufacturers of guns, and ammunition, and accessories need sales. They need markets. Through the NRA, they promote any idea, no matter how insane, they play on any available fear or prejudice, in order to point toward the buying of their products as the only answer.

After decades of promoting more and more gun sales as the answer for all social problems, the Newtown massacre only shows again how completely ineffective that answer has been.

Those who want to seriously deal with the real problem aim at the reality that underlies all of our major problems: competitive, cutthroat capitalism and its social impact.