Excerpts from recent editorials in newspapers in the United States and abroad:
Newark, N.J., March 19, The Star-Ledger on momentum for assault weapons ban fades:
This time was supposed to be different.
A crazed man entered a school building and killed 20 children and six adults with an assault rifle. The sight last December of terror-stricken children fleeing Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., was supposed to be the last straw. One nightmare was imagining the carnage inside, children under the age of 7 slaughtered in the one place we expect children to be safe. Another nightmare was the unimaginable grief of parents.
The outcry for gun control — and especially a ban on assault weapons — appeared to be gaining momentum. Enough was enough, everyone said. Surely, a strong gun control law would finally be enacted, with perhaps the assault weapons ban being reinstated.
The ban, which expired in 2004, would certainly have made a difference in the number of children who survived the Newtown shooting. The shooter could not have shot as many, as quickly, as he did.
But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., announced the assault weapon ban would not be part of any gun control bill, which he expects to introduce in April after the Easter break. ...
Gun control is personal with Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., who was president of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1978 when she discovered the murdered bodies of Mayor George Moscone and supervisor Harvey Milk in City Hall.
“The enemies on this are very powerful, I’ve known that all my life,” Feinstein told the Washington Post.
Somewhere, Wayne LaPierre of the NRA is smiling.
Tokyo, March 18, The Japan Times on no place for nuclear weapons:
The Norwegian government on March 4 and 5 sponsored an international conference on the various effects that nuclear weapons detonations would have on human health, the natural environment and economic development. Although the conference did not touch on nuclear nonproliferation, nuclear arms reduction or elimination of nuclear weapons, it was significant in that it squarely dealt with the inhumane nature of nuclear weapons.
Government and political leaders and citizens should deepen discussions on this issue and increase the awareness of the cruel nature of nuclear weapons to give momentum to efforts for reduction and eventual eradication of nuclear weapons.
Delegates from 127 countries, the United Nations, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the Red Cross and the Red Crescent movement, and civil society organizations took part in the Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons. ...
Two atomic bomb survivors, among the Japanese government delegates, told the conference that survivors have suffered not only ill health but also post-traumatic stress disorder from their radiation exposure 68 years ago.
Masao Tomonaga, director the Japanese Red Cross Nagasaki Genbaku (atomic bomb) Hospital, presented his research, which showed a high cancer incidence among atomic bombing survivors. He characterized nuclear weapons as “gene-targeting weapons.” ...
Having suffered the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki as well as the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe, Japan has a duty and responsibility to appeal against the inhumane nature of nuclear weapons and work toward their elimination in earnest.