I am this week in Seattle. Many great and good things I could and maybe I will write about. But here something that I felt I need to write about.
The Seattle Times – nine-time winner of Pulitzer prize for journalism published this week in its first page an article about the many problems and serious dangers due to poor gun control law in Washington state.
The main advertising found in the same newspaper that day was for a company that sells guns. Nine pages of it.
Asked about it an US official (State Department) told me proudly – “this is a great proof of no interference in the editorial policy of the newspaper on behalf of the advertiser. “
I was expecting that – dealt with the European Commission bureaucrats for many years. It is disturbing for a European, I said to her. To exemplify I asked her is she would think it is normal to have in a main newspaper an article against pornography and sexual violence and at the same time to have as the main advertising a porn-site known for the horrific ways it portrays women – splashed on nine pages.
She ignored my parallel and undisturbed told me that in fact the advertising is for hunting. I thought for a moment she could have been a Commissioner or at least a Director General if born in the European Union. For sure she could have lead the Roma initiatives in Brussels.
I showed her the pictures of small guns and told her that I doubt that can be used for hunting anything that is more than 10 meters away.
I kept for myself that I think those could be used against rats and some of the cockroaches I saw in the US and in Ferentari. Considering the cost of ammunition – advertised generously on another two pages in the same newspaper it would be indeed cheaper than most of the rats extermination campaigns ran by some of the Romanian local administrations.
I asked her if she thinks advertising things that kill people is worst than advertising anything else. She switched to –“ I am not a pro-gun” person “but I respect the second amendment of the US constitution”.
Guns kill thousands of Americans each year – over 12.000 in 2013 to be more precise.
The US official I write about is a very nice, polite and bright woman. The US is an amazing country and the goodness and generosity of most of the Americans is something I wish I could see us, Europeans, replicate.
But neither politeness, intelligence, goodness and generosity will prevent the death of thousands of innocents. The courage to speak up against a decrepit first amendment , against the most powerful arms lobby in the world and populist , irresponsible politicians will do it.
Guns have no place in being advertised by newspapers. It is obscene and irresponsible. And considering how many Americans die every year because of shootings it is also very much anti-American. Over 12.000 times so. Every year…