Posts Tagged ‘gun control’

A day at the gun market

May 2, 2013
The Arabist

The Arabist

Lately, I have been taking a lot of taxis. Naturally, that means hearing unsolicited political opinions, life lessons, and impromptu stories about women who match my exact physical description and share my sense of style (and, sometimes, my name) getting mugged, raped or murdered, in the hope of scaring me into begging them to my full-time driver and shield of protection.

Last week, one managed to convince me. Instead of suggesting I promptly take his phone number and call him whenever I need to venture out into the jungle that is Cairo, Reda, my new driver, casually offered me a shotgun for a reasonable LE600.

Being the picky shopper that I am, I refused to simply buy the first gun I hear of and asked for options. Obligingly, Reda decided to call a guy, who knows a guy, to get me a beginner’s collection. “Something small for a small lady,” he told him.

I had two options, Reda told me: *Fard Kartoush* (a birdshot gun) for LE700, plus an additional LE70 for 10 bullets, or a 9mm for LE2000 (the gun is actually worth LE15,000, but since it stolen from a police department during the revolution, Awad, Reda’s friend and dealer, is not too keen on keeping it) or settle for the lowly sound-gun-turned-real-gun for LE1000.

The latter is known for breaking itself after the third shot, because its transformation into a killing machine was conducted by a underemployed carpenter, looking to make a quick LE200 by changing the gun’s barrel.

My second option was to go to Suk al-Salaah (the weapons market), which is part of Suk al-Imam al-Shafa’i in Sayeda Ayesha.

I was given simple directions: “Go to the stolen bedrooms market and ask them to point you to the weapons market.”
Realizing that I don’t know where the stolen bedrooms market (which, as the name suggests, is a market where stolen bedrooms are sold for prices so low, they are technically being stolen all over again — although some of the beds and dressers were just the natural result of divorce), so I asked Reda to tag along with me, partly out of self-preservation.

Since it was a Tuesday, and the market is officially held on Fridays, not many people were there, quite unlike Fridays, when the market is so full of people no car, no matter how small, can get in.

There was a group of idle shoppers chatting rather than discussing prices with dealers selling all kinds of things from old Nokia phones to curtains. There was an argument about an overpriced *matwa mafaragha*, a Swiss knife whose blade is serated and pointy, literally giving it an edge over all other *matwas*. The young man, who didn’t want to pay LE20 for it, was quickly pulled back by another buyer.

Reda said that the oddly peaceful end of the heated argument was very normal in the market, where quarrels are uncommon.

“Both the buyer and the seller come here knowing it’s against the law, no point in hassling over prices and making a fuss,” Reda explained. “Not that we are scared of the police, they know where we are and what we do, and they do nothing… the point is everyone here is armed (or in the process of getting armed), if someone is provoked enough to shoot; everyone will start shooting,” he continued.

However, the buyers are not just shady young men; they are shop owners, worried fathers, car owners, etc. Just people who have lost all faith in law enforcement and don’t want to be the defenseless victims of thugs, particularly now that weapons are readily available courtesy of Libyan and Sinai smugglers, and more importantly, the famous January 28 2011 police station raids.

Ironically enough, many of those much-feared thugs also shop in Suk al-Salaah too. So the future victim and criminal rub shoulders while calmly arming themselves against each other.

“Is your girl buying or not?” an exasperated Awad asked Reda, purposefully ignoring my presence and interrupting our conversation. “I am not his girl,” I corrected him. Awad already knew that, but was presumably trying to get to buy something, anything.

Having had no real intentions of buying weapons, I simply pretended to be unimpressed by all of them. At one point, I half-jokingly complained about the lack of color variety.

I felt somewhat safe in doing so, because both my gender and looking the way I do (i.e. not looking poor), gave the few people I spoke to, the impression that I am easily fooled bag of money that would cough up double the desired amount. So long as I paid Reda his promised LE200 for his time and implied that I was going to be back later to buy; I was safe.

Meanwhile, the gun market for the upper class is booming too. The only difference is that the gun you would get for LE3000 in Suk al-Salaah is sold for continously-increasing prices, which can easily reach up to LE20,000, in an air-conditioned store in Heliopolis or in the vaulted corner of a fancy gas station, like the one in the beginning of the Ismailia road. Also, they have color variety.

Other than getting a chic shade of gold, the only advantage to buying these guns is that one would be forced to first get a license. However, Reda argues, that the ubiquity of weapons and indifference/incompetence of the police force makes getting a license, which is a hassle in and of itself that drives many to Suk al-Salaah, is hardly a necessity, yet alone an advantage.

While knowledge of the growing illegal, and legal, markets of weapons is as common as the weapons themselves, the market continues to fly under the radar of both the police and the media.

That being said, here is one of the few reports about illegal weapons. It’s an interview with a smuggler and a weapons dealer, who is preparing for his Masters in International Law, and sometimes buys weapons by entering the name of the gun he wants into Google to look for someone who has it. Once found, he would add that person on Facebook to discuss the details of their transactions (those who send late replies or ask for too money are mercilessly poked to deactivation, I imagine). He likes to have a three-year-old kid fire the guns.

— Nour Youssef

Published in The Arabist.

More meaningless empty words

December 17, 2012
 Bushmaster assault rifle

Bushmaster assault rifle

Bushmaster progress multiple shots to six and seven year olds

Bushmaster progress multiple shots to six and seven year olds

Sig Sauer violence second nature

Sig Sauer violence second nature

If only the first victim, Adam Lanza’s mother, had been a gun owner, she could have stopped this before it started. — Michael Moore

Barack Obama attended the vigil for the massacre of the innocents. All we heard was something must be done, more empty words. Maybe someone should remind him that he is the president and it is about time he showed some leadership.

The gun lobby is powerful, it has corrupt politicians in its pocket.

Concerted action on criminalising sharing of music, made even the most corrupt of politicians appreciate which side was the bread buttered and who was really their master.

If Sopa could be stopped, then so can the gun lobby.

Or do we wait until more innocents are massacred, more wringing of hands, but no action.

Very poor reporting by the BBC, which referred to a rifle. Not it was an assault rifle.

What was as disturbing as the massacre was one of the kids who survived saying they knew what to do when the school went into lock down, as they had drill.

What sort of society is it that has to have drill in case some crazy turns up with a gun?

What sort of society where you can pop into Wal-Mart for the groceries and drop weapons and ammo into the shopping trolley?

The number of Americans owning guns is going down. The number of psychos with their own private arsenals is going up.

English do not claim a God-given right to still carry longbows, any more than the French to carry crossbows.

Bowling For Columbine

December 17, 2012

HERE’S THE WHOLE MOVIE: I said what I had to say in 2002. Nothing’s changed. You can watch this pirated version for free. — Michael Moore

Don’t want studio or me to make any $ on this. Please watch for free. — Michael Moore

PS. U didn’t hear it from me but I could swear there’s a pirated version of #BowlingForColumbine on Youtube! Pls RT — Michael Moore

Time for action. The debate and discussion are over. Just as no one should debate whether “rape is legitimate,” this gun debate is effing over. — Michael Moore

Eloquent words are not enough

December 15, 2012
massacre of the innocents

massacre of the innocents: one little five year old executed

Stop handguns before they stop you

Stop handguns before they stop you

We were appalled by the massacre of the innocents that took place in a primary school yesterday. Equally sickening was what came out of the gun lobby yesterday

How many more innocent people are to be killed before action is taken? Are people to remain hostage to the psychos that constitute the gun lobby?

Apart from a a few tears, a few eloquent words, nothing from Barack Obama. Has he not got the guts to take on the gun lobby?

If you are a US citizen, then please sign the petitions calling for gun control.

Columbine. Virginia Tech. Aurora. And now, 28 people dead in a school in Connecticut — 20 of them children. We sit, all across the country, the world, in shock and horror. How could this happen? There are no satisfying answers. But one thing we know is that it’s outrageous that the US hasn’t passed sensible gun control laws yet.

That’s because, for decades, the National Rifle Association (NRA) has opposed any and every sensible proposal to regulate guns. NRA head Wayne LaPierre has made it his personal mission to make it easier for Americans to be able to buy guns and to threaten every politician who stands in his way. ENOUGH. It’s time we told the NRA we’re done with their extremism — let’s tell LaPierre what we think and show our politicians the public is ready to stand with them against the NRA.

Sign the petition now and send to everyone — when we hit 1 million we’ll surround NRA headquarters and let them know your country is done with their obstructionism. Let’s make this tragedy the last of the NRA’s reign.

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