In 2010 a Russian arms dealer named Viktor Bout was sentenced to 25 years in prison for his crime of attempting to sell arms to FARC, a terrorist group in Colombia. He had been arrested in a “sting” operation carried out by US DEA agents in Thailand. They pretended to be members of FARC and got assurances from Bout that he could supply anti-aircraft weapons and 5,000 AK-47s. He never delivered.
He was arrested and sent to the US for a trial. The rationale was that IF he had actually sold the weapons (he didn’t) Americans would have been killed by them. In Colombia. So, the US claimed jurisdiction . Russia, of course, protested and called it a political prosecution.
Bout was convicted by a jury based on the agents’ testimony. His sentence could have been life in prison. Anyone who sells weapons that are used to kill Americans face some of the harshest penalties. In fact, he was convicted on 4 counts. The judge, however, sentenced him to the bare minimum, 25 years in prison. The reason? She was critical of the “sting” operation And stated that if not for the sting he may not have committed any crime. (Note that Bout was a well-known arms dealer who had been delivering arms to rebel groups for years. No altar boy). He was nicknamed by US authorities as “The Merchant ofDeath”.
Which brings me around to American arms dealers.
Bout was convicted of planning to sell weapons used to kill Americans. In his case those weapons were never delivered or used to kill Americans (these would be Americans fighting in Colombia). Still, a jury convicted him and he was sentenced.
Since the tragedy of 9/11 we have had 22 years of deaths by guns in the USA. Approximately 30-35,000 or more per year. Roughly 800,000 Americans were killed by guns. None were sold to them by Bout.
The guns used to kill Americans were sold by thousands of small gun store owners. They were sold on line. They were sold by Marty Daniel. Daniel is the CEO of Daniel Defense. They were sold by Christopher Killoy. Killoy is the CEO of Sturm, Ruger and Company. Merchants of Death.
Selling AR-15s and other weapons used to kill Americans. Every day . Gun sellers made over $1 billion in profits in the last 10 years just on assault weapons alone. Merchants of death.
Now Putin and the Russians want Viktor Bout back. Maybe it is time for him to return to Russia. Or, perhaps we should send them Daniel and Killoy instead. After all, they have been much more effective in killing Americans than Bout could ever hope to be. Merchants of death.
How Bout it?