Can weapons protect us?
In the afternoon of February 24th, the sound of gunshots at a high school in one of the safest cities in Florida swept across the entire United States. 17 students lost their lives in that single instance. Testimonies poured out of the lips of their fellow classmates, saying “I still remember the moment I was escaping through the blood-filled corridor,” “I’m afraid of even looking at school buildings”, and “I lost two best friends”.
Recognizing that anyone can become the next victim, a high school student in New York State initiated the “#MeNext?” campaign. Through the campaign, the voice calling for gun control gained voluntary participation from thousands of students who shared the same feeling. It harshly criticized the reality that the limitations and restrictions in the sales of AR-15 rifles are lower than the ones in the sale of alcohol.
[Protesters attend a rally at the Federal Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to demand government action on firearms, on Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018., http://cnn.it/2poF9tG]
CNN reported that the #NeverAgain campaign is standing at the forefront of the arms control issue and that it is changing the social atmosphere as “they’re the most formidable foes the NRA (The National Rifle Association) will face … and it’s because they’re so young”.
Regarding this movement, Jasilyn Charger, a youth activist, said, “Nothing is too big and powerful … Everything man-made breaks, including our laws and the government.” “Everything has a soft part that can be taken down. Nothing is too strong to overcome as long as you have solidarity with everybody around you,” she continued.
According to CNN’s request for a survey to SSRS (Research. Refined), a major public opinion agency in the US, it was found that 70% out of the 1016 respondents say that strict gun control is needed, which is 28% higher than after the Las Vegas shooting in 2017 and even the highest percentage ever in the past 25 years.
[ KIMIMASA MAYAMA, EPA-EFE, https://usat.ly/2FmQAsS]
Can we guarantee safety without weapons?
Despite the tension on the Korean peninsula that persisted and the increased concern in the international society, the Pyeongchang 2018 Olympic Winter Games that attracted the highest number of participation of athletes from 92 countries came to an end peacefully.
Toronto Star, a Canadian news agency, reported that “the problem with PyeongChang is … there aren’t any problems.” Comparing it to the last Olympic games in Sochi, USA Today highly rates the event as an “amazingly safer Olympics” by saying, “South Korean gun laws make a mass shooting nearly unfathomable.”
None of the participants attributes “the peace Olympics” to weapons in the first place. Rather, they focused on the spirit and effort of each individual volunteer called the Passion Crew.
Possibility for “SECURITY WITHOUT WEAPONS”?
At the HWPL International Conference on the Convention on the Renunciation and Cessation of War and International Armed Conflicts held during the 1st Commemoration of the WARP Summit, global legal experts discussed the establishment of an international law to put an end to violent actions with the use of weapons of mass destruction. As for practical approaches to the achievement of global peace, Chairman Man Hee Lee of HWPL emphasized, “Weapons that kill lives must be wiped out in the dictionary and the factories closed. Legal foundation should be the first step, and states take actions. To do this, advocacy of such actions from the civil society represented by women and youth should also be accompanied.”
He further appealed to them by saying, “What I would like to ask you is to make a certain law that no one can make excuses for not keeping.” Six months later, on March 4 2016, this content was included as Article 2 of the Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War (DPCW), stipulating the “gradual reduction of production of weapons and repurposing them into daily beneficial tools.”
The public debate on weapons will pave the way to restore the value of life and find solutions to peace. In order to set standards in law and put them into practice in everyday life, as Chairman Lee suggests, HWPL “commits itself to ask people to work together as messengers of peace with the same heart.” Regarding the social debate on weapons around the world, the DPCW presents a fundamental approach to peacebuilding with two bases – the “international law for peace” and a “person with the spirit of peace”.