10-year-old boy shoots mother: What happened to gun control?

Published: October 11, 2013
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In a comparison of 178 countries, regarding personal ownership of guns, Pakistan ranks at number 6.

Earlier this week in Lahore, a 10-year-old boy shot his mother with a 12 bore gun. This boy wasn’t waging a jihad against drone strikes or attempting to rise against the status quo. He shot his mother because the reason was simple: our gun control laws are weak.

Access to guns is easy.

In Pakistan, out of every 100 people, 11 people have guns. In a country where rule of law is supposed to be a part of the constitution, bearing guns is what has resulted in tribal states as well as areas where the rule of law comes much after the rule of what the respective jirga or panchayat decides.

Cases like Shahzeb and Hamza also keep coming up (in our anecdotes and mainstream media) so we cannot clearly demarcate that gun violence is only existent in rural or tribal areas (even though instances of gun violence in rural areas is found to be higher). Petty crimes in big cities such as Karachi are thriving because there is a feeble effort to confiscate unlicensed weapons and there is absolutely no question asked if you’re someone (or related to someone) powerful.

However, regardless of the consequences, in Pakistan, guns are celebrated.

Instead of considering them as tools of violence, guns are considered symbols of machismo, bravery and impermeability. The more armed guards a minister or an influential democrat has, the more respect he garners from the masses. Similarly, the more violent a particular sect or group is, the more fear they gather, the more powerful they get.

In a comparison of 178 countries, regarding personal ownership of guns, Pakistan ranks at number 6 – a sad and telling fact indeed.

Access to guns is an issue the world is currently debating over. The United States has had many instances of gun violence, which have shaken sleepy communities out of their reverie and lobbyists are actively participating in gun reform or a man’s constitutional right to bear arms is being called into question.

But of course the West is evil and all its methods and ways are wrong and degenerative, so we like to quickly rationalise the evils that prevail in their society as a result of their sins. What we sometimes forget is that human beings are human beings all over the world and if gun control is an issue that is being treated seriously by the Western world, maybe it is about time the Kalashnikov culture that was bestowed upon Pakistan is also brought under serious crackdown.

What we don’t realise, however, is that when guns are this easily available and violence becomes the pride of a patriarchal culture, and mental health awareness is simply in its infancy stage, the smallest of disputes will end in bloodshed. Guns will be used to settle marital disputes, guns will be used to express frustration and guns will be used to make others agree to our points of view.

Hasn’t terrorism taught us anything?

Prevent the use of guns before it become viral; curing a trigger-happy person can take decades, the Taliban are living proof of that.

Mahwash.Badar.

Mahwash Badar

The author is a clinical psychologist, a mum to two boys and permanently in a state of flux. She tweets @mahwashajaz_ (twitter.com/mahwashajaz_)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.