Thursday, April 06, 2006

Guns save life!

Whenever I take to the highway near my small town I am treated to slogans about how guns save lives, all sponsored by a branch of the National Riffle Association (NRA). Now don't get me wrong I understand that some people like to hunt and some like the security, in particular when you live in the country. But gun control, in my opinion, is a must when dealing with areas of large population. Well no where is gun control and security in more need than in Venezuela, since during the past couple of weeks crime has taken center stage.

The most recent and disgusting incident was the discovery that the Foddoul brothers, of Venezuelan-Canadian background, ages 17, 13, and 12 and their driver were found killed. I need not elaborate on this heartless and disgusting act.

Last week a prominent italian born businessman Filippo Sindoni, 74 was found killed. From what I have read Sindoni was a decent and hard working man that invested most of his money in his home town of Maracay in the state of Aragua, Venezuela. Personally can you think of a better way to support your local city and people than by investing it all in your local area.

There is also a less note worthy incident but none the less it shows the level of insecurity in venezuela. The spanish actress Antonia San Juan was robbed by two armed men when they intercepted her vehicle, while on here way from the airport to her Caracas hotel.

It was the killing of the Foddoul brothers that has caused demonstrations around Caracas, but how does the Chavez government respond? By calling the National Guard to repress the demonstrators. Sadly the victums keep on mounting with the killing of a member of the press, Jorge Aguirre, who was going to take pictures of the demonstrations. Not only this but the government media agency (like the FCC in the US) is threatening to close the news channel Globovision for 72 hours for covering the demonstrations.

To paraphrase the words of the mayor of Baruta, Henrique Capriles (PJ-Primero Justica), the Armed Forces received three rusian helicopter for a hypothetical asimetric war with the United States, but in Venezuela in the past 6 years 100,000 people have been killed due to insecurity. So where is the true war?

So how does the Venezuelan government plan to respond to this problem? Well train a 2 million strong civilian reserve army equipped with military weapons and give the old metropolitan police guns to "community watch groups". Sounds great right! Lets give more people guns when the Venezuelan institutions are so corrupt and rotton to the core that the people who are supposed to be protecting us, the police, are the ones who are killing us.

Unfortunately these are the cases that make headlines since they are either children or well off individuals. Regardless, it goes to shows that in Venezuela rich and poor are suffering from the lack of security and a functional judicial system. But what are the roots of the problem? poverty, unemployment, and lack of hope for a better future, all things the Chavez government has failed to improve.

So do guns save lives? Well maybe if you live in the country and are being robbed, it might save yours, but the Sindoni, Foddoul, Aguirre, and thousands of other families will likely never agree with this statement and for good reason.