Social problem – Filzmaier analyses: Peng! You are dead!


The headline is the title of a 1987 German crime comedy. Unlike in the movie, guns aren’t funny. But also a social problem.

1. The controversy over guns and violence ranges from rocket launchers for Ukraine to a shooting in an American school to the murder of women here. Ten days ago on, Katia Wagner discussed the Texas massacre, in which 19 children were shot and killed with a modern AK-15. This locally available over-the-counter weapon of war of the Russian military is known as the Kalashnikov. At the meta level, Wagner was concerned with weapons as part of the culture in the US and Austria.

2. The debate on the highly emotional topic was calm and level-headed, although participants in the discussion, such as a domestic gun lobby lawyer or a blue politician, are of course not free of interest. But they did not play with fear, nor did they insult third parties who were not present. Everyone can classify their arguments themselves, as long as the associated interests are transparent.

Video: Texas Massacre Discussion

3. Which, of course, was typical: With the exception of presenter Katia Wagner, only men spoke in the television studio. Although 52 percent of the population is female, regardless of gender, life-threatening weapons are seen as masculine. It is absurd for almost exclusively men to discuss what can best be done in the future against the 29 murders and manslaughter committed against women in Austria in 2021 – as well as around 20 attempted murders and serious acts of violence.

4. The arms dealers’ interest group rightly emphasizes that not every shooting device as such is the problem. But the man with the gun. However, one should not focus on a so-called “low” number of the aforementioned murders per year – five of them were with legal or illegal firearms. After all, that’s almost 20 percent that wasn’t said. It’s way too much violence anyway.

5. Numerical examples should generally not be used to downplay things. It is true that in Austria – according to UN studies, correctly calculated in relation to the size of the population – there are almost ten times fewer homicides than in the US and twenty times fewer than in Russia. Yet it is also true that there is still much to improve, as long as Japan, for example, has three times fewer murders than we do.

6. Speaking of arms dealers, many years ago I received an email that began with the words “We arms dealers don’t like you!” I had analyzed on television that arms dealers have image data comparable to politicians’ bad-confidence data. The mail writer’s introductory sentence, which sounded somewhat menacing, was followed by understandable objections. As a salesman of police and sports weapons, he does not want to be lumped together with Yuri Orlov.

7. Played by Hollywood star Nicolas Cage, this movie character was modeled after the infamous “Dealer of Death” Victor But, who supplied weapons of war and murder weapons to everyone from al-Qaeda to the Taliban. Yes, we need to get rid of a clan liability full of clichés. Whoever manufactures or sells weapons does not automatically accept blood on his hands. Conversely, critics of too many arms purchases do not necessarily believe that the police and armed forces should be equipped with only cotton balls.

8. Something needs to be said about fairness in the debate: not pretending it’s all about fighters and athletes. There are approximately 130,000 valid hunting licenses in the country. If we have about 320,000 gun owners in Austria, not all of them go hunting with their more than 1.1 million firearms. Not all of them spend their free time on shooting ranges or run through the snow like biathletes, for example. Many simply want to own one or more firearms. For the sake of subjective safety or perhaps for questionable reasons.

9. Given the image of legal firearms in Austria, the question can be asked: Isn’t there way too much semi-automatic stuff allowed for shooting, revolvers and pistols, rifles and shotguns – classified in the Weapons Act as category B or C? Shouldn’t we do more with psychological testing and registration of gun owners? The standard objection of bureaucracy is difficult. You can also be against driver’s licenses.

10. Another story is weapons of war. They are privately prohibited. In the best of all worlds, even states wouldn’t need them. The Russian war of aggression proves otherwise. Politically, however, a half-hearted yes applies to the equipment of the Austrian armed forces as well as to European arms supplies to Ukraine, which becomes no as the cost and weight of the weapons increase. However, a little shooting sounds like a little pregnant.

Source: Krone


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