Monday, April 03, 2006

An Armed Society...

...shoots major donors.

Actually, and I forget if I've posted about this...while I don't personally own firearms, I like to consider myself a strong believer in the 2nd Amendment, for all sorts of reasons (in a shotgun shell nutshell, Pandora's box is already open, i.e., the guns are out there, I also don't think responsible people who own guns should be punished, etc. etc.)...

Anyway...if the NRA ever wants to expand its horizons, it looks like Iraq could make for excellent hunting grounds, no pun intended (although the result, i.e., International Rifle Association, or Iraqi Rifle Association could creat acronym confusion):

Iraq has long been awash in guns. But after the bombing of a sacred Shiite shrine in Samarra in late February, sectarian tensions exploded, and more Iraqis than ever have been buying, carrying and stockpiling weapons, adding an unnerving level of firepower to Baghdad's streets.

The average price for a Russian-made Kalashnikov AK-47 assault rifle, which is perfectly legal here, has jumped to $290 from $112 in the past month, according to several gun dealers. Bullets have climbed to 33 cents each from 24 cents.

Hand grenades, which are not legal but are easy to get, run $95. Pre-Samarra, they were about half that. The swiftly rising prices are one clear sign that weapon sales are hot.

Of course, the fact that Iraqis have a legacy of firearm ownership kind of puts a damper on the rather time-worn NRA argument about guns being a protection against well as the often insisted "an-armed-society-is-a-polite-society" contention. The article, by the way, concludes with the ironic "business is booming," um, in more ways than one (to be fair, the subject of the piece isn't merely about Iraqis and their guns, but about the increase in price pretty much across the board).

Meanwhile, in Baghdad, a grim irony of its own plays out--and I think this might be a bit more important than a newly painted school.

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