I debated with myself about whether to discuss guns and shootings in this country. I wrote something unrelated but have decided to push that piece off to Wednesday and address what appears to be an epidemic of mass murdering in this country; something unique to the United States.
Are we free? Yes. And, we should remain that way. But, why does someone, an individual, need a military grade assault weapon? You don’t! There is absolutely no need for such a weapon. None.
Many people see this debate as urban versus rural. Urban liberals want to take away the guns from the rural conservatives. That’s not the case. Reasonable people with common sense want to remove assault weapons from the hands of civilians. I fail to understand anyone who opposes that stance.
There are around 300 million guns in this country. That’s more than 88 guns for every 100 people. 60% of all homicides in the US are from guns. The US is about 5% of the world population and owns about 50% of the world’s firearms. For some reason, we just refuse to give up our guns. If you take the populations of Germany, France, UK, Switzerland, Sweden, Japan, Australia and Denmark, you have roughly the same population as the US. They have less than 1% of the amount of gun related deaths the US has each year. Some people argue it’s because we’re more homicidal. I think it’s because those countries have strict gun control laws.
But, wait, guns don’t kill people, people kill people. That is true, someone has to pull the trigger. But, without the gun, it would be much more difficult. On Friday, a man walked into an elementary school and attacked many people and children. This incident happened in China and he didn’t have a gun; just a knife. 22 people were injured, some children, and that’s terrible. But, they’ll all recover and they’re still alive today.
Japan has outlawed most guns. In fact, you could go to jail for up to a decade for simply holding a gun in Japan. A couple of years ago, there were 22 gun deaths and the country was outraged. In the US, there are roughly 34 people killed by guns every single day. Are we desensitized? I sure hope not.
But, we’re also a nation that forgets and moves on very quickly. Obviously, similar previous events had no impact on our nation’s desire to reduce gun violence. In fact, this is the fourth time President Obama has visited a community after a gun massacre, though there have been dozens of similar events that have occurred since he took office. Why do we will still insist on owning high powered firearms? Why is this a necessity?
What still concerns me is the attitude of people in this country in resolving issues. Overreaction, rush to judgment and resorting to violence are all learned behaviors. Somewhere along the line, people in this country have learned to shoot first and ask questions later. What happened to resolving disagreements by talking or simply walking away? Why, at the first sign of argument, do we immediately reach for a gun and shoot? And, since guns are so readily available and you can carry them almost anywhere you please, gun violence is all too common.
So, will it change this time? Is this tragedy finally enough? I doubt it. We’ll forget and move on all too quickly. This tragic event last week involved young children. For some reason, that seems to be worse than when adults are gunned down. Maybe that’s because children are so innocent. No matter what, it’s sad. But, even with the increased emotion of having young children killed in such a horrific manner, I highly doubt any long term changes will result. Is this type of tragedy something we’re willing to put up with just to keep our guns?