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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    An exercise in futility

    The United Nations wants to secure your “”Peace and Security through Disarmament,”” and has set a May 15 deadline for accumulating every member country’s viewpoint to attempt to craft a treaty “”establishing common international standards for the import, export and transfer of conventional arms.””

    The U.N. public relations machine has conveniently attempted to assure the world’s public – which owns an estimated two-thirds of all guns, according to the Graduate Institute of International Studies’ Small Arms Survey – that this treaty would only limit the illegal sale and distribution of small arms.

    But the assurances of any organization that hosts Iran as a vice-chair on a disarmament committee can never be taken at face value.

    The 2001 U.N. resolution that started this treaty process would, understandably, require member states to control the illicit manufacture and transfer of small arms.

    But it also calls for them to maintain databases on legally purchased weapons and repeatedly states that, when appropriate, national disarmament should be considered.

    “”When appropriate”” is often associated with post-conflict areas, but is never explicitly defined as such, and can therefore be whatever the reigning bureaucrat deems “”appropriate.””

    The U.S. was the only country to vote against the nonbinding resolution in 2001, but the U.N. is hoping that the Virginia Tech shooting will weaken U.S. obstinacy.

    Former U.N. human rights chief Mary Robinson urged the U.N. to “”use the tragedy and the great response from the Virginia Tech community to engage in the need to control arms.””

    Robinson was only echoing the outpouring of “”See, I told you so”” arrogance that came spewing out of Europe. But the shooting is a case study in why disarmament will never work, considering the 600 million or so (and counting) guns in the world.

    The policies on a vast majority of college campuses across this country forbid firearm possession on campus.

    This policy worked so well that the only gun-toting cowboy with the ability to stop gunman Seung-Hui Cho and prevent further loss of life was Cho himself.

    The harsh reality of violent situations is that only the threat of similar force used in retaliation by victims, police or criminals turning the weapon on themselves has stopped this kind of violence.

    This is the main reason that the treaty the U.N. could eventually pass would do nothing to end the killings of innocent people in conflict areas.

    It could instead very well increase the violence. As weapons become more expensive to manufacture and distribute due to onerous regulations, the militia groups in control in many countries would have a position of greater power as the possibility of any armed resistance to tyranny and genocide wanes.

    No one is advocating unscrupulously dumping weapons into conflict zones, but instead recognizing the reality that guns already exist and are already in the hands of bad guys.

    Anti-gun hysterics aside, calling on member states to stand against this arms treaty will not result in weapons falling from the sky into war zones. It will simply keep them from being impossible to legally manufacture and cost-prohibitive to own for law-abiding world citizens.

    The U.N. has never managed to be the primary factor in stopping armed conflict. It flatly refused to call the Rwandan massacre genocide until after it was halted internally; the same pattern is being repeated around the world.

    In three months in 1994, at least 500,000 Rwandans were killed. The violence was only stopped because armed groups used often illegally traded – and always illegally owned – firearms to stop the killing.

    If the Rwandans, like the Congolese, et al., had waited for the U.N. to stabilize the country, it would have taken 40 years (and counting) for the carnage to end.

    Unfortunately, the U.N. has an abysmal record on just about everything other than wasting tax dollars, racking up parking tickets in New York City and running sexual exploitation rings at peacekeeping missions. It couldn’t even keep nuclear materials (much rarer than common firearms) out of the hands of Iran.

    This treaty should concern Americans for a variety of reasons. It cannot be effective unless it directly impinges on the constitutional right of every American to own a firearm if he or she so chooses. It would destroy jobs in this country and waste more taxpayer dollars on a bloated, corrupt bureaucracy that does little to hide its anti-American sentiment.

    But this treaty should concern everyone in the world because the U.N. will only be present in the conflict zones as “”objective observers”” while their ill-conceived policies do nothing more than prevent those in war zones, like Rwanda, from stopping the deaths of millions.

    Kara Karlson is a journalism senior. She can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu

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