334,576 have died from this specific cause since January 1, 2016. The year is barely half over and so many have died from something that could have been prevented, heart disease.
The news is full of violence and blaming guns as the problem. Interestingly enough, gun violence is not even on the top ten list for causes of deaths in America. Those are, Abortion, heart disease, cancer, tobacco, obesity, medical errors, strokes, lower respiratory disease, unintentional accidents and hospital associated infections. Murder by guns doesn’t occur on the list until number 24! This begs to question, are guns really the cause of so much atrocity in America?
The short answer is no. Politicians like current president Barack Obama want to tighten gun laws. Politicians that are likeminded with Obama like to use Chicago as an example for the ‘dire need of tougher gun laws’. The problem is that there are already strict laws in Chicago and the city is still plagued by shootings. Richard Pearson, the executive director of the Illinois State Rifle Association told the New York Times in 2013 that ‘the gun laws in Chicago only restrict the law-abiding citizens and they’ve essentially made the citizens prey.’
Educating the Masses on Gun Safety?
It is true that thousands this year have died due to gun violence in the United States. But why does the blame immediately go towards guns? Wouldn’t a more effective answer be to educate the masses on gun safety and respect for one another?
It can definitely be said that the United States is tied to its gun culture. The Second Amendment protects American citizens’ right to bear arms, ‘A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a Free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.’ That being said, the United States has the highest gun related homicide rate among the world’s most developed nations. Yet, there is another country that allows its citizens to bear arms, Israel. With compulsory military service, and current security issues, citizens who work in specific areas and fields, or live in particular regions are allowed to apply for a gun license. However, even with Israel’s unique gun culture the homicide rate by firearms is much lower. In study was 2013 a conducted that showed homicide per 100,000 people with Israel rating only 1.04. These statistics show that countries like Israel that only allow certain citizens to have firearms have less gun related homicides right? Wrong.
England banned small firearms in 1997 (not pistols). However in 2000 homicides by handguns were at an all-time high in both England and Wales. There were over 3,000 crimes in 1999-2000 that involved handguns. 42 of those were homicides, 310 reported cases of attempted murder! Australia has issues as well. Between 2001-2002 homicides rose 20%. Firearm related murders rose 19% after firearm confiscation.
Guns and Terrorism : The wrong connexion
Guns are not the only way to kill someone. We have seen recently how a truck brutally murdered innocents in Nice, France. The sorry fact of the matter is that when someone wants to kill someone, they do not need a gun. Terrorists will always find a way to commit terror that do not only involve guns. They will use improvised explosive devices, knives, cars, arson, Molotov cocktails, stones, missiles, rockets, or anything else they can think of.
There have been numerous cases of defending homes, families and selves because of the right to keep and bear arms. A recent survey showed that 76% of police chiefs state that armed citizens ‘reduce’ violent crime. A short time ago on July 12, 2016 there was an article published about a gun free zone in Washington, D.C. This was not a case where a sign posted denying guns stopped a crime. Police officers were shot by those trying to avoid capture near an elementary school. California has some of the strictest gun laws in the United States yet the San Bernadino mass shooting still happened.
What do all these crimes have in common? People that hate. Stricter laws, more gun free zones, gun confiscation or any other means to prevent private citizens from having their Second Amendment right will not cause less crime. Law abiding citizens are not the problem, criminals are. Creating a culture of blindness to race, promoting education and creating jobs instead of handing out welfare checks can and does in many countries prevent crime. Placing the blame on a tool or police officers instead of the ones operating the said tool is the real issue.
There was a brilliant comparison recently on Social Media that shows the insanity of those that claim there is no need for guns since we have police; ‘if we don’t need firearms because we have police, than we don’t need fire extinguishers because we have fireman.’ If guns are not the real cause of atrocity in America, what is? A lack of fundamental education, cultural cooperation and placing the blame where it does not belong.