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TNA 17-18 2001 Disarmament by Consensus

TNA 17-18 2001 Disarmament by Consensus

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CIVILIAN
DISARMAMENT
Disarmament
by
"Consensus"
TherecentUNsmallarmsconferencewas
not
thedeathknell
of
theSecondAmendment.Itwas,however,anotherstepontheroadtoadisarmed,UN-dominatedworld.
Anti-gun
art:
The
"GunS
cu
lpture"
contai
nup
wards
of
7,000
"deactivatedcr
ime
and
warweapons."Itwasdi
spl
ayedatUN
hea
d
quarte
rs
as
a
metaphor
for
the
world
bod
y's
gun
contro
l
ambit
ions
during
therecent
UN
Conference
on
the
IllicitTradeinSmall
Arms
and
L
ight
Weapons
in
All
Its
Aspects
,
by
William
NormanGrigg
T
hosewhoattendedtheUN's"Con ferenceontheIllicitTradeinSmall ArmsandLightWeaponsinAllIts Aspects"neededgonofurtherthanthe lobbyofUNHeadquarterstoseeapotent symbolicexpressionofthatevent'sulti mateob
ject
ive,Ondisplayinthelobby duringtheconferencewasamammothar tifactentitled"TheGunSculpture"-a cube-shapedmassoffirearms,knives,and ammunition,Theworkofart,whichwas createdbysculptorsSandraBromleyand
THE
NEW
AMERI
CAN
AU
GUST
27,2001
WallisKendal,waslenttotheUNb
y.
theCanadianpacifistorganization
"i
human2000,"Asignpostednexttothedisplayex plainedthatthesculpturehadbeencreatedfrommorethan7,000"deactivatedcrime andwarweapons,donatedbypolice,gov ernmentalandnon-governmentalorgani zations,andsecurityforcesworldwide," Accordingtoihuman2000,thesculpture hasbeendisplayedaroundtheworld
to
serveas"acatalyst,awakeningpeopleto thepromiseandthepossibilityofpeace" -whichwouldsupposedlybetheresult ofworldwideciviliandisarmament. Ihuman2000describes'TheGunSculp ture"as"ametaphorforthemostviolent centuryinthehistoryofmankind,"What thegroup'spropagandafailstomentionis thatthesinglelargestcontributortothe pastcentury'sviolencewastheunre strained,lawlessstate,whichkilledinex cessof170,000,000humanbeingsduring thatperiod-ahideousaccomplishment thateasilydwarfsthecombinedachieve mentsofallprivatesectorcriminalsyndi cates,Thosecrimeswerecarriedoutby corruptpolice,military,andsecurityes-
21
 
CIVILIAN
DISARMAMENT
"consolidatetoday'sgainsand ...takeadditionalstepstoad dressthisthreat."Annanspecif icallyurgedgovernmentstoim posestrictcontrols"overboth theuncontrolledprivateowner shipofmilitary-standard weaponsand...thetransferof sucharmstonon-Stategroups." TheUN'sRodriguezcom plainedthat"deliberationson thoseissueshadbeenhampered byinflexibilityonthepartof onedelegation"-apoorlydis guisedreferencetotheU.S.del egationledbyUnderSecretary ofStateJohnBolton.Whilethe U.S.delegationwasunwillingto accommodatetheUN'sdesireto evisceratetheSecondAmend mentatasinglestroke,it nonethelessendorsedtheworld body'sself-appointedrolein combatingthesupposedglobal scourgeof"illicit"smallarms -which,iftheUNhasitsway, willresultintheincremental abolitionoftherighttokeepand beararms.Inhisaddresstotheopening session
of
the
Conf
erence,Boltonprovidedanimportant clueastothetrueintentofthe Bushadministration-notby whatheactuallysaidbutby whathefailedtosay.Immedi atelyafterpointingout,accu rately,thattheSecondAmend- mentprotectsan"individualright"tobeararms,Boltonelaborated: "TheUnitedStatesbelievesthatthere sponsibleuseoffirearmsisalegitimateas pectofnationallife.Likemanycountries, theUnitedStateshasaculturaltraditionof huntingandsportshooti
ng."
ConspicuouslyabsentfromBolton'sremarksisany referencetotherighttoself-defense,orthe roleoftheSecondAmendmentinsafe guardinglibertyanddenyinggovernment amonopolyofpower. Byprovidingthislimitedrationalefor therighttobeararms,Boltonwasactually pushingonanopendoor.AstheJuly12th issueoftheUN's
DisarmamentDaily
noted,theUNrepeatedly"issuedreassuring statementsthattheydonotwanttopart huntersandsportshootersfromtheir everhappens,thesubjectofsmallarms andlightweaponsisaninternationalsub jectwhichisonthetableandwillnotbe forgotten."Thechiefdisappointmentfortheglobal gun-snatcherswasthat"noagreement [was]reachedontwoofthemostimpor tantissues-maintainingandcontrolling privateownership
of
smallarmsandthe transferofsuchweaponstonon-Stateac tors-eventhoughtherewasoverwhelm ingsupportfortheirinclusionintheout comedocument
,"
accordingtoanofficial UNsummary.Whilehailingtheconfer enceformaking"manyimportantfirst steps"incrackingdownontheworldwide tradeinsmallarms,Secretary-GeneralKofi Annanurgednationalgovernmentsto
~
's
Q;
:;;
c
'"
Annan
's
arms
assault
:
Outside
the
UN
,
sta
rry-e
yed
peacen
i
ks
demonstrated
in
support
of
the
world
body
's
gungrabbing
agenda
.
Acc
ording
to
UN
head
Annan
,
thisdemonstrator's
choice
for
pre
s
ident
,
governmentsought
to
impose
strict
controls
"over
boththe
uncontrolle
do
wnership
of
military
-standard
weapons
and
...
the
transferof
such
arms
to
non-S
tate
gro
ups.
"
The
Perils
of
"Consensus"
AccordingtoCamiloReyesRo driguez,whoservedaspresident oftheUNsmallarmsconfer ence,theProgramofAction adoptedatthateventrepresentsa"significantstepforward
."
Forward,thatis,onthepathtowarda worldinwhichcivilianfirearmsownership wouldbebanned,andtheUNwouldhave aglobalmonopolyonthelegitimateuseof force.TheProgram
of
Actionwasadopted "byconsensus"byrepresentatives
of
189nationalgovernments.Asisthecasewith UNagreementsofthiskind,thedocu mentonsmallarmsisnotregardedasa "bindingdocument
,"
butratheraspartofadevelopingbody
of
"customaryinter nationallaw
."
"Evenifthefinalresolu tionislessambitiousthanwewouldhave hoped,thisbeginningisveryimportant
,"
declaredFrenchPrimeMinisterMichel Rocard,co-chair
of
theUN's"EminentPersonsGroup"onsmallarms."What- tablishments-ineffect,the sameentitiesthathaddonated the"deactivated"weaponstocre ate"TheGunSculpture."Those entities,ofcourse,willinevitably becometyrannicalwheneverthe restraintsongovernmentalpowerareremovedandtheruleoflaw abandoned.Thosewhounderstandthe lethalconsequencesofcivilian disarmamentwillsee"TheGun Sculpture"asatestamenttoevil ambition.Indeed,thoseac quaintedwiththefictionalfuture worldasdepictedin
StarTrek
mayseethecube-shapedsculp tureasanallusionto"The Borg
,"
araceofcybernetically enhancedhumanoidaggressors whotravelthegalaxyinacube shapedspacecraft,forciblyas similatinghelplessracesinto their"collectiv
e."
Whenapproachedinthisframeofmind, "TheGunSculpture"doespre sentausefulmetaphorforthe UN'sintentions:Disarmthe world'scivilianpopulationand assimilateallnationsintoaglob alsocialistcollective.
22
THENEWAMERICAN
AUGUST
27,2001
 
In
theUN's
dr
ive
forgloba
l
civilian
disarmament,
a
perfectly
innoce
nt
and
law-abiding
citize
n
in
the
UnitedStates
would
be
denied
the
r
ight
to
obtain
and
po
s
sess
a
gun
because
it
mightconceivably
fall
into
the
handsof
a
"non-stat
e
act
or"
in
anothercountry
and
thus"
become
"
illega
l.
firearms"-notyet,anyway.Ofcourse,Americanswhounderstandtheirnation's"culturaltradition"knowthattherightprotectedbytheSecondAmendmenthaslittleifanythingtodowithhuntingorsportshooting.Butperhapsthemostpowerfulclueastotheadministration'sintentisthesimplefactthatitisanactiveandenthusiasticparticipantintheUNsmallarmsprogram-aprogramthatwilleventuallyresultintheeliminationoftherighttobeararms,inasmuchastherighttoself-defenseisnotrecognized."TheUnitedStatesispleasedandgratifiedthatthisconferencehassuccessfullyreachedanagreedpoliticalprogramofactionbetweenthememberstates,"declaredU.S.AssistantSecretaryofStateforPolitical-MilitaryAffairsLincolnP.BloomfieldJr.followingtheconference."Itsetsthebasisforcooperativeactiontoaddresstheveryseriousproblemscausedbyflowsofillicitsmallarmsandlightweaponsinareasofinstability."ThefinalProgramofActionapprovedbytheconferencecalledforinternationaleffortstoidentifyandtrace"illicitsmallarmsandlightweapons"-andtheBushadministrationmovedquicklytocomplywiththisUNmandate.AccordingtotheJuly25thSanDiego
Union-Tribune,
AttorneyGeneralJohnAshcrofthasenactednewmeasuresintendedto"helpMexicotracegunsmadeorboughtintheUnitedStatesusedtocommitcrimesinMexico."Underthenewinitiative,"AMexicanprosecutorwillbeassignedtotheDepartmentofJusticeinWashington,"and"aU.S.prosecutorwillbesenttoMexicotoworkatthe[Mexican]AttorneyGeneral'soffice."Inaddition,"MexicanauthoritieswillpassalonginformationaboutU.S.gunsfoundinMexicototheBureauofAlcohol,TobaccoandFirearms.Theagencywillthentracetheguns,andU.S.andMexicanagentswillworktogetheroncriminalinvestigations.""TheguntrafficthatoriginatesintheUnitedStatesandmakesitswaydowntoMexicohasadevastatingimpactonthepeopleofMexico,"insistedAlanaWong,anassistantU.S.AttorneyinSanDiego.BearinmindthatthisjointU.S.-Mexicoinitiativedoesnotfocusspecificallyupongunsthatare
illegally
soldorshippedtoMexico.Instead,ittreatstheentiretradeinsmallarmsbetweenthetwocountriesasacrisisthatmustbedealtwithinternationally.ThiswasentirelyinkeepingwiththeUN'sapproachtosmallarms,inwhichthefirearmsthemselvesaretreatedasaglobal"scourge
,"
andAmerica'sguncultureisseenasaglobalmenace.
U.S
.
"At
War"
with
t
he
W
orld?
TheJuly16thsessionoftheUNsmallarmsconferencefeaturedstatementsfromnon-governmentalorganizations(NGOs).TheloudestovationofferedbyparticipantsandspectatorsatthatsessionwasawardedtoanAmericanwhocalledforinternationalactiontodisarmU.S.citizens.MaryLeighBlekoftheMillionMomMarchprovokedsustained,triumphantapplausewithherdeclarationthat"theUnitedStatesisatwar"becauseofwidespreadciviliangunownership,andthatgunsinthehandsofthecivilianU.S.populationshouldbe"theconcernoftheinternationalcommunity."Speakingonbehalfofwhatsheinsistedwas"themajority"ofAmericans,Blekurgedaseamlessintegrationofdomesticandglobalciviliandisarmamentmeasures."Weareconvinced
of
theneedforacomprehensiveapproachtopromote,attheglobal,regional,sub-regional,nationalandlocallevels,theprevention,reductionanderadication
ofthe
illicittradeinsmallarmsandlightweapons...asacontributiontointernationalpeaceand
security."
BlekalsorecitedtheUN-approvedmantrathatcontrolsonthedomesticsaleandpossessionoffirearmsinAmericaarenecessaryinordertocombatglobal"proliferation"offirearms."TheAmericanpublicislearningthatgunsthatarepurchasedinlegalmarketsherecananddoflowintotheillicitmarketandthatthistraffickingextendsthroughourbordersandintoothercountriesaroundtheworld,"sheaverred."Weknowthatgunsknownoborders."SimilarstatementshadbeenofferedbyofficialdelegatestotheUNconference.
"It
isnotsufficienttolimittheexaminationpurelytothequestionofillegaltransfers,"statedformerCanadianMinisterofJusticeLordAxworthy."Theremustbeaconnection,andaseriouswayoflookingatthelegaltransfers,becauseitisthoselegaltransferswhichendupbeingillegal,andendingupinthewrong
hands."
JoziasvanAartsen,ministerofforeignaffairsfortheNetherlands,offeredanearlyidenticalperspective:"It'smyfirmconvictionthattheillicittradecannotbetackledwithoutinvolvingthelegalarmstrade.Wemustfurtherregulatethelegaltradeinarms,smallweaponsincluded,inordertopreventspilloverintotheillegalarms
trade."
IntheUN'sdriveforglobalciviliandisarmament,alllegalsalesandtransfersoffirearmsareregardedasincipientlyillegal.Thusaperfectlyinnocentandlaw-abidingcitizenintheUnitedStateswouldbedeniedtherighttoobtainandpossessagunbecauseitmightconceivablyfallintothehandsofa"non-stateactor"inanothercountryandthus"become"illegal.
S
oft
O
pp
o
sition
ThestridencydisplayedbyBlekandotheranti-gunradicalsattheUNconferencestoodinstarkcontrasttothemeeknessdisplayedattheJuly16thsessionbyspokesmenforpro-gunNGOs,whoexpressedqualifiedsupportforthegeneralobjectivesoftheconferencewhileseekingspecificallowancesfortheprotectionofhunters,sportshooters,andfirearmscollectors.Thestonysilenceandpalpabledisapprovalthatwelcomedtheaddressesofpro-gunrepresentativesofferedvivid
proof
thattheywerepresenttoserveasadialecticalfoilastheUNpursuesaglobal"consensus"onbehalfofciviliandisarmament.Still,thestatementsreadbyNGOrepresentativesof"FirearmsCommunityGroups"wereremarkablyconciliatory.Butthisishardlysurprising,inlightofthefactthatallUN-accreditedNGOs,includ ingthosethatrepresentgunowners,arerequiredunderthetermsoftheiraccredi-
THENEW
AMERICAN·
AUGUST
27
,
2001
23

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