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Monday, 19 June 2017

The American solution: more guns, less healthcare

Within 10 days, Trump got what he wanted. On 4 June 2017, shortly after the London terrorist attack, Trump tweeted: "Do you notice we are not having a gun debate right now? That's because they used knives and a truck!" On 14 June, a US Congressman was shot and critically injured. The gun debate in USA is back. That debate is mainly whether a semi-automatic Colt AR-15 assault rifle is in line with US Constitution. Real gun control, like in Europe, is not an option.

The consequence is that few people are blaming guns and/or bullets for what happened. Democrats blame Republicans and Trump. Republicans blame Democrats' anti-Trump rhetoric, Obama and liberal media (e.g., Comedy Central). Few blame the American lack of gun control apart from people like former Congress woman Gabrielle Giffords, who "survived an assassination attempt that left her with a severe brain injury".

In most countries, having an AK-47 or AR-15 would make you a terrorist. In the US, it makes you a "concerned citizen". After each mass shooting, gun sales increase. Any attempt to control guns causes a surge in gun sales. Even people who object guns (or assault rifles) may be tempted to buy one given the phrase: "If you cannot beat them, join them".

The Second Amendment (Amendment II) to the United States Constitution protects the right of the people to keep and bear arms and was adopted on December 15, 1791, as part of the first ten amendments contained in the Bill of Rights (Wiki).

The word healthcare is not (explicitly) mentioned (source). This shouldn't come as a surprise as the word didn't even exist in 1791. The 1978 World Health Organization conference resulted in the Alma-Ata Declaration which stated that "health [ ] is a fundamental human right [ ]". 

In the 21st century, there is still an American debate whether health or healthcare is a fundamental human right or an entitlementMerriam Webster defines an entitlement as a "belief that one is deserving of or entitled to certain privileges". It's a shockingly different view: a fundamental human right versus a privilege (that you need to earn). 

Trump can't make up his mind about US healthcare. Before his election he was against Obamacare but in favour of an Affordable Care Act. Like many others, Trump may not have realised both are the same (NYT). See this overview of Trump's promises on healthcare.

Later, Trump praised the Australian universal health care system after the Republican victory of the Obamacare repeal in the House (CNN). Recently, Trump even called the proposed Republican House healthcare bill as "mean" (CNN, NW, NYT) which his fellow Republicans "can't believe" (AxiosBI) and/or deny (the Hill).

The American political chaos surrounding the Obamacare repeal is unnerving healthcare insurers, which are pulling back from the market (eg, Atlantic, CNN). Obviously, these "insurer exits bolster the Republican case for an Obamacare repeal" (the Hill). Hence, Trump is creating a self-fulfilling prophecy and more disruption, chaos and destruction.

The American solution of more guns and less healthcare is one of bitter, bitter irony.

Ironic (1996) by Alanis Morissette - artist, FB, lyrics, videoWiki-1Wiki-2

And isn't it ironic...don't you think
A little too ironic...and, yeah, I really do think...