US Firearms Deaths, So Much Left to Do

Sandy_Hook

So Much Has Been Said; So Little Has Been Done

Perhaps Americans should be reminded that the regular-as-clockwork firearms deaths in their country are unnecessary. How do we know that? We know it because they don’t happen with such monotonous regularity in other advanced countries. Then why do they occur so often in the US? They happen for a lot of reasons but the principal one is that there is a criminal conspiracy under way in the US to perpetuate the so-called gun culture, regardless of the tens of thousands of firearms victims every year.

American citizens want stricter gun control. (See extensive Gallup poll results on “Guns” over the past 20 years and more.) But what Americans want, even in cases as egregious as this one, is irrelevant. Their hands are tied by a cabal of gun manufacturers, right-wing extremists, second-ammendment nuts. outdoorsmen, and terrified white male citizens who fear their homes will be invaded by long-haired guitarists.

The most meaningful anti-gun movements are not being organized by the usual suspects. They’re being created and worked by kids such as the young survivors from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School killings on Valentine’s Day, 2018, in Parkland, Florida. The Parkland shootings have been the catalyst for a lot of anti-gun-violence activism by young people. Here’s a link to a site that lists seven such groups.

On the other side of the fence is the pro-gun Second Amendment Check website that published the NRA-ILA’s lists on their site. If you follow the link and scroll down through the lists, especially the last one, which lists the names of “individuals and celebrities,” you might get the creepy feeling that they all look like hit lists. And BBC News contributes this chilling list of American gun-violence statistics compiled in 2018.

Gun Deaths Are Rooted in Bogus American “Philosophy”

Guns and gun killings in the US are the symptoms of an underlying systemic evil. That evil is philosophical, not ballistic. In the land of the quick buck, self-made men, rugged individualists, and thuggish authorities, guns are necessary fashion accessories. Nobody  has stopped to realize that the most rugged individualist of all is the shooter, who is prepared to die to affirm his sick agenda. And the rest of the gun lobby, though not pulling the trigger, are his partners.

They provide him with dubious psuedo-philosophical underpinnings. Their principal argument is based on the sacrosanct American Constitution, specifically the Second Amendment, which guarantees American citizens the right to “keep and bear arms.” In the view of the gun crowd the Second Amendment trumps an “unalienable right” enunciated in the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence: the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happinesss.

This inverted pro-gun argument would be thrown out by an honest, unbiased judge, but in the wake of right-wing judicial appointments on all levels in recent years, that judge would be hard to find. The justices of the United States Supreme Court, are appointed to lifetime terms by the President. How’s that for separation of powers? As a consequence, in judicial matters, and barring a miracle, this generation of American citizens are essentially bereft of  justice in gun violence cases.

It is shocking that the anti-firearms activists in the US are so meek as to be campaigning only in favor of limited gun control, such as banning 30-round magazines. A shooter with six-round magazines can kill just as many people. It just takes him a few seconds longer. If they banned all firearms the United States would inevitably become a better country. But the American anti-gun lobby is so intimidated by the pro-death lobbies that they dare not demand more. They are well meaning and hard working but they simply don’t have the kind of clout the National Rifle Association has. The NRA can skip carefree through the carnage, dispensing condolences and glibly proposing more guns to solve gun violence. Would this criminal cynicism be permitted in any other country in the civilized world? Come to think of it, is this case of cynicism enough to exclude the United States from the civilized world?

There is ample justification for banning all guns. Killing animals for “sport” is not much nobler than killing people. We are all  warm-blooded mammals. A total ban would certainly have a dramatic effect on the killing of human beings. That is important if  you place a high value on the lives of human beings. But there are large sectors of the US electorate that place those lives far down their list of priorities. For them there are many desirable results that come before human life. There’s profit and property, racial superiority, patriotism, empire, and countless other specious justifications. Until the anti-gun people can counter all of these powerful–though-false factors, they have no hope of producing gun-violence change in the United States.

Mass Shootings and Suicides

A study carried out by Frederic Lemieux and reported in Scientific American on June 13, 2016, concludes:

Mass shootings also took place in 25 other wealthy nations between 1983 and 2013, but their number in the United States far surpasses that of any other country included in the study during the same period of time. The US had 78 mass shootings during that 30-year period.

The highest number of mass shootings experienced outside the United States was in Germany – where seven shootings occurred. In the other 24 industrialized countries taken together, 41 mass shootings took place. In other words, the US had nearly double the number of mass shootings than all other 24 countries combined in the same 30-year period.

As American mass shootings are frequent and sensational and naturally offer gory  stories and arresting images, they are regularly featured in the media.

A Congressional Research Service (CRS) report from 2013 identified 78 “public mass shootings” between 1983 and 2012, which claimed 547 lives. For context, 11,622 people (more than 20 times the mass shooting toll over three decades) died in gun homicides in 2012 alone…

Massive media coverage is particularly intense when the killings take place in schools and the victims are children. But as heart wrenching as these incidents are, they are not the principal problem. In fact, an article on Vox.com from November 14, 2018 reports that mass shootings (incidents in which four or more people are killed) represent only about one percent of American gun deaths. So what’s the other 99%?

According to the Vox article, most of US gun deaths are suicides, which are more frequent in places with more guns. As the United States has approximately as many guns as it has citizens, the suicide rate is high. Research, compiled by the Harvard Injury Control Research Center, has found  that suicides in recent years were around 60 percent of US gun deaths.

Is There Hope for Change?

Considering the systemic origins of US gun deaths and their roots sunk into the deep substrate of American dystopia, it would be unreasonable to expect significant change in gun death numbers without similar significant change in all the rest of the American realities. That would entail some minimum prerequisites:

    • A government run by sensate, compassionate politicians along the lines of Jacinda Ardern in New Zealand.
    • A Supreme Court made up of similar-minded justices.
    • A majoritarian mass movement of convinced, progressive Americans.
    • Some serious financing.

Do you foresee the remotest possibility of all those conditions coming together? Your answer to that question is a reliable predictor of America’s hope for gun deaths change.

Thanks for following, commenting  and sharing.