I don’t often rant…

Post 8 of 38

… well not apart from “at” my children.  They could tell you a thing or two about my ranting, that’s for sure.

But bloody hell!   Too many (one is too many) mass shootings of children this year. Too much violence period.

But I tell ya what!  Isn’t the gun lobby SO successful!  They’re so successful they’ve got ordinary people in the US (and even outside of the US) defending some “right” to bear arms.  Ordinary people!  Saying that the bad people slip through the system, and they get the worst guns illegally, and and and…

There is no difference between these arguments and the foolishness of the deterrence of two enemies both having nuclear arms – mutually assured destruction – MAD – both sides know the other has WMDs so neither will use them.

(We won’t mention the thousands of nuclear tests in the South Pacific or the deserts east of California in particular.)

And then there’s “Guns don’t kill people; people kill people.”  But guns kill them one hell of a lot more easily.  Lots of them.  From a distance.  No need to get up close and personal, or even see the decimation wreaked.

Get your shit together, people!

Here are some links today from The Atlantic Monthly, that add some numbers we know about for sure.  (Never let some good facts stand in the way of a good lobby though eh.)

The Geography of US Gun Violence

America’s Handgun Boom (w. charts)

And this is an amazing article about Japan’s virtual elimination of shooting deaths, in large part by forbidding gun ownership: How Japan Has Eliminated Shooting Deaths

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This article was written by tryinggodspatience

9 comments:

John RichardsonDecember 15, 2012 at 8:51 pmReply

I would hope that we will find ways to improve our gun laws to make life safer for everyone. I don’t see the need to carry assualt rifles or a reason to protect that as a right. I do believe in the 2nd amendment but if we can outlaw switchblade knives, which one could argue qualafies as “arms” under the second amendment I don’t see why we couldn’t pass some pretty sweeping laws pertaining to guns if we have the will to do so. I do think that the fact that most guns deaths in America are suicides give some support to the argument that “people kill people” and that the issue is a complex one. Gun laws could improve the situation but we also need more support for the mentally ill. I also think we should look a little deeper into our culture and society with respect to our attitudes towards and our exposure to excessive violence. I don’t think Japan’s approach will work here although they probably could teach us quite a bit. Japan outlaws guns now and for hundreds of years outlawed the wheel. I think there is about as much chance of American outlawing wheels now as a broad ban outlawing guns. But, we can and must do better.

NatashaDecember 16, 2012 at 5:33 amReply

I agree. As an American, this event has been a “hard pill to swollow”. Americans have a lot of pride which has been taken as arrogance to the rest of the world (which isn’t far from truth depending on the topic at hand). But, regardless of politics, foreign policy, and other crazyness we have witnessed over the past decade…. we love our babies. One childs life is to much and yet we are faced with 20. I do not know these children or their families, but I grieve with them, as do most Americans.

As arrogant and prideful as we can be there is one good thing that has always reined true of America; the ability to right our wrongs. Our policies, our politics havn’t always been honorable and often is a sort of ugly truth. But, the younger generation rises up and corrects those wrongs. American history has shown that again and again. This topic will be one written in our history books. And, my generation will attempt to correct this problem.

Last night, my husband and I were discussing the shooting. He is a proud Marine and he loves his guns. His eyes filled up with tears and told me that if those children could be given back their life then he would give up every gun he owns. You see…We are not a country that does nothing over 20 American babies being murdered. Things will change in this nation, regardless of those in power with deep pockets.

Anne MastersDecember 28, 2012 at 12:15 pmReply

Natasha, I was glad when I read your comment. I am struck by its “optimism in the face of realism.” Just this morning I was wondering, again (or still) what it is about US culture that explains the extreme rates of some kinds of violence here. I’ve been researching gun-related violence since the Sandy Hook horror. At any rate, I suddenly thought, “Oh, it’s the children. They are the change.” Our children certainly have a heavy responsibility. We should help them all we can.

AmyDecember 16, 2012 at 6:57 pmReply

The evil will always find a way to carry out their destructive deeds. I grew up around guns & am a firm believer of “guns don’t kill people, people kill people”. Instead of blaming guns, why not more focus on getting person with mental health issues the help they need? You can not tell me that no one knew this kid was “off”.

Trying God’s PatienceDecember 16, 2012 at 10:34 pmReply

America has a culture of guns and they kill. I grew up around guns too. Lots of people do. Lots of apparently sane people kill with them. There are indeed many, many issues; getting rid of so much weaponry is an easy start to the problem. Nobody else needs them like Americans do. Why, the rest of the world can’t fathom.

Anne MastersDecember 28, 2012 at 2:15 pmReply

Amy, I absolutely agree about strengthening the mental health system in the US. As a person who has worked in many areas of the mental health system in the US, though, I can say that research shows that the mentally ill are more likely to be the victims of violence than perpetrators. Yes, there are some who do horrendous things, but other research has shown that they represent the extreme edges of only one or two mental illness diagnoses. Yes, we need to do more to help those who need help but when I read about a Harvard study that “nearly two-thirds of U.S. adolescents have experienced an anger attack that involved threatening violence, destroying property or engaging in violence toward others at some point in their lives,” I wonder how we’d ever identify those prone to extreme violence. Maybe we can but I shudder at the civil liberties aspects of the issue.

And I agree, mostly, that evil will find its way in the sense that someone who is bound and determined to hurt others will find a way. But, since I also believe that it’s people who pick up guns, point them and pull the trigger, if a high-powered, multi-round gun is not easily accessible when a potential “shooter” makes plans, perhaps a massacre will have been prevented, perhaps not. I tend to think that the fewer the easily accessible guns, the better, and more research backs me here in that the US states with the highest rates of gun ownership have the highest rates of gun-related murders.

I’ve begun to see our particular pattern of gun-related violence as a symptom of something, not the cause of the problem, especially not the single cause of events like Sandy Hook, I’ve been finding a number of studies that show that high rates of violence appear in areas where there is more inequality, not just in the US but world-wide. We’re certainly undergoing a change towards greater inequality here. Other than the obvious financial inequality, I don’t know what other sorts of inequality might also promote higher rates of violence. My intuition suggests to me that the rapidly changing ethnic makeup of the US might be experienced as an “inequality” crisis in the eyes of those who view equality in terms of “race.”

*I can get you the sources of the research I reference, if you want, Amy.

Anne

Trying God’s PatienceDecember 28, 2012 at 5:17 pmReply

Thanks, Anne. Fabulous comment. And I agree, there is no single cause – not mental health issues for sure. The maths is really simple when you look at gun ownership and gun deaths compared to other countries. But there should be no more fear in most parts of the US than other Western nations, and yet there is – I believe that fear is perpetrated by those seeking profit, in the main. Thanks so much. xo

DebbyDecember 17, 2012 at 10:33 amReply

I see this differently. This is not a wake-up call about guns. This is a wake-up call about the spiritual fabric of our lives, our nation. As we grieve, can we hear the message of these little ones? They died to give it to us. Our nation is in need of a return to the fundamental acknowledgement of the spiritual reality of life and the individual and communal choice to honor that reality. When you try to substitute ANYTHING for that, you bankrupt the soul of that entity, and it cannot be well. It cannot prosper.

Trying God’s PatienceDecember 17, 2012 at 12:00 pmReply

True too. I think that is the long-term focus, yes. Short-term responses are things like getting rid of guns. It will take a lot longer to change the nation’s soul.