Saturday Selects #20: Gun violence in America

Saturday Selects is a series of posts I write on the first Saturday of each month to discuss something outside of the general bookish theme of the blog.

This won’t be political.

I’m sure you’ve heard by now that there was yet another mass shooting in the US. This time at a community college. There’s plenty to be said about how often this happens, but everyone else has already said it. I won’t throw out stats at you. I won’t even offer a solution. All that matters is that this must stop.

There’s a real problem with the rhetoric after these events. I’m talking about the public. You’ll have some people say we need to arm more law abiding citizens. And others will say we don’t need all these guns. And the things that Americans do agree on aren’t enacted into law because politicians won’t make it happen.

America has too many guns. Plain and simple. If you think it’s difficult to get a gun here you have no idea what you’re talking about. It isn’t. I think guns should be nearly impossible to acquire legally. If that were the case, then tens of thousands of American lives would be saved each year. From suicides and homicides.

But talk won’t do much. Check to see how your state lawmakers are handling this. See how your House Representative and Senators are voting on bills pertaining to guns. And vote accordingly. If you’re okay being represented by people who refuse to bring about change, then fine. But if you’re not, then it’s time to vote like it.

Tell me your thoughts.

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38 thoughts on “Saturday Selects #20: Gun violence in America

  1. I don’t think removing guns will change the violence situation. Look at countries with strict gun control. They don’t all have low violence numbers. People use other weapons there. Look at countries with lots of guns, they don’t all have high violence numbers. This tells me it’s not about the tool, it’s about the society. The kind of society we live in. I can’t even begin to fix all that. But I will simply say by making it “nearly impossible to legally acquire guns” you are leaving me with nothing to defend my family. I do not live in a city where police response to a 911 call comes in mere minutes. I live in the middle of nowhere, even if my call for help were to get top priority by the county sheriff’s office, it will likely be more than an hour before the one sheriff’s officer who patrols 700 square miles arrives at my home to assist me.

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  2. I do not agree at all. I think that having the second amendment where we have the right to bear arms is good, and as for having less guns, no. Had those students been carrying guns, this would not have happened. If more honest citizens carried guns, you would have less mass shootings. No person is going to go into a situation where they have a higher chance of being shot. By allowing the citizens to carry a gun you make it less of an incentive for criminals to want to try to kill so many people. Lke Tahenry above, I live in a rural area where the police take forever to get to any situation. Not quite as long, but long enough. I want the right to defend myself. It IS my right to defend myself because of the constitution. Less guns do not make people safer. So no, I resoundingly do not agree with you that there should be less guns.

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    • Americans have almost half the civilian owned guns…in the world. There are plenty out there. The argument that “if the victims had guns blah blah blah” is absolutely absurd. Look at the rates of firearm related deaths in every developed country. Then tell me we need more armed citizens. Uh no.

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      • And I totally, completely disagree with you because your argument doesn’t fit with statistics. And my argument is not absurd. Would you go into a building to try and shoot people if you knew every person in there had a gun and would pull it out and shoot back at you? No. The reason criminals and shooters attack schools and military bases are because they are gun free zones. The rate of firearms death is vastly smaller than other things in this country. And I will tell you over and over that our citizens need to be armed more. Part of the reason crime rates have gone up is because the citizens do not have guns in their possession. The states that have less violence and criminal activity, are the states that have fewer gun restrictions. DC has some of the strictest gun laws and that place is one big mess because of it. You are not going to be able to change my mind on this. You asked for our opinions. Now you are getting them.

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      • I’ll refer you to David’s comment below. So simple.

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      • Like I said before, you can argue it all you want, I read his comment, but see, again, you are referring to a country that doesn’t have as many freedoms as we have here. I do not agree with your position. And I never said to arm all kids. Not to call names, but liberals just don’t get it. You can argue it all the ways you want, but you will not change my mind. I don’t agree and I cherish the freedoms you want the government to take from me.I’ll take my freedoms.

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      • See, now you’re just being ignorant. I don’t need or want to convince you. Your opinion is entirely irrelevant to me. Just like your little gun obsession. Pretty clear you’re the one trying to convince me. Second, the UK is obviously a terrible, terrible country. Third, you’re calling me a liberal when you know absolutely nothing about me. Did you know I think the death penalty should be expanded? No. You don’t. But you like making assumptions. Please take your nonsense elsewhere.

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  3. Looking at the example of Australia (1996) I would say you have a very valid point, however how that could be implemented here I do not know. The polls in Australia showed a very high percentage of people backed the governments Gun LAw response at that time and I think that was the deciding factor. Could we get that sort of support for gun control, I would like to think so but really…?? I also think we cannot erradicate violence but it has been shown we can enact some sort of management and reduction.

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    • Australia is the perfect example. They looked themselves in the mirror and said enough is enough. I don’t know if we can get massive support behind something like that, but right now NOTHING is being done.

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  4. “Outlaw guns, and only outlaws will carry them.”
    If someone is going to break the law (kill someone), they won’t be bothered by breaking the law (acquiring a gun illegally).
    We should be very, very careful of the decisions we make with our laws, especially in areas like this. As nice as it would be if making something the law guaranteed that all citizens would obey it, the truth of the matter is that only law-abiding citizens will obey it. If you’re trying to control the lawbreakers, making a new law isn’t the answer.
    Guns are forbidden on school property, and still we have school shootings – because laws don’t govern or control the unlawful. Since the law-abiding can’t control the lawbreaking, one of the few things we can do is prepare ourselves and be ready to defend ourselves and our loved ones should the need arise.
    If we outlaw guns, if we don’t want to be hypocritical, we must also outlaw knives. And cars. And anything large and heavy. The UK has gun control, and has that helped them? Has that changed whether a person will kill or not?
    No.
    Instead, their stab rates have risen, and people are dying by knives instead of guns. And now their cops are gun-less.
    Controlling weapons will never change intent. Outlawing guns is asking for trouble.
    In America, we are fortunate to call ourselves free. May we never lose that freedom, the freedom our nation was founded on, the freedom men died to establish and protect.

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    • I don’t pretend to have the answers to this. It’s complex, and much as I’d like to think the terrible violence could simply be ended by legislation, it probably can’t, not completely. The problem in the US is there are too many guns around already, so many criminals have them and it’s so ingrained in the culture. I don’t know how you change that.
      But as I’m from the UK, I feel I should respond to that part of your comment. Violent crime exists all over the world, and that includes the UK. But the fact is that the murder rate is much lower there, as is the incidence of gun crime. You are much, much less likely to get shot there. Most criminals don’t carry guns, probably because they know they don’t need to. Yes murder still happens – and yes, if someone is determined to commit a murder, or mug someone, then they’ll find another way to do it if they don’t have a gun. Guns don’t make people bad.
      But guns do make it much easier to kill, and especially to kill in numbers. It’s a lot easier to carry out a massacre with a gun than with a knife. And I really don’t think arming everyone is a practical solution. Is every kid going to carry a gun too? If more people carry guns, more people are surely going to get hurt or killed. Also I don’t think it would stop mass shootings anyway, because the perpetrators mostly know and accept they’re going to die, and that doesn’t stop them. They either kill themselves or the police shoot them. (Which incidentally would happen in the UK too – police don’t usually carry guns, but there are armed rapid response units that deal with the few incidents involving firearms.)
      You can’t ban everything that’s dangerous, true. But you have to admit that few things are more dangerous than guns. Having a gun doesn’t in itself drive someone to murder, but it makes it easier. In an ideal world mental illness would be cured, the danger signs always spotted in time; and of course we need to try to do those things. But this isn’t an ideal world and there will always be a few who will seek to harm others, and I’m afraid we’ll never stop all of them. Frankly, I’d rather those people had no access to any kind of weapons; but given a choice, I’d definitely rather they had a knife than a gun.
      So to conclude, yes having strict gun control laws has helped the UK quite a lot – and you will find very, very few people there who wish there were more guns around. And we don’t consider ourselves any less free because of it.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I don’t pretend to have all the answers either. And I’d like to start off by saying that I don’t think any ONE thing will change the current situation. The problem is too complex, intertwined, and deep rooted to just say “if everyone carries guns, there will be no more violence” or “if no one carries guns, there will be no more violence”. But on the subject of the government controlling my right to choose to bear arms…
        I never would suggest that children should carry guns. But adults (teachers, workers, the average person) should *at least have the ability* to be prepared, trained in the use of weapons and carrying them. Of course, I understand those who have objections to carrying weapons and they can choose (because we live in America and have this freedom) to refrain. But we must retain the freedom to choose to keep and bear arms.
        As for what you said about my country, “The problem in the US is there are too many guns around already, so many criminals have them and it’s so ingrained in the culture”, I strongly disagree. I’d like to point out that you are from another country and differing culture (no offence in this; I love many things about the UK… except the gun control). So I don’t think you can really say you know the problem (too many guns… ingrained in our culture) with my country and culture.
        To say that, in gun-controlled countries, you are much less likely to get shot is irrelevant. The question is will you get *killed*. I don’t care personally whether I’m killed with a gun, a knife, or a screw driver. I care that I’m killed. That’s the point.
        Also, I’d like to point out the fact that so many of the shootings happen at schools. Places where guns are no allowed. They are shooting galleries. Criminals know that, walking into a school, they will be the only one with a firearm. If we make our country into one great big gun free school zone, imagine the consequences.
        If you could magically ensure that no one, not even a criminal (who wouldn’t bat an eye acquiring a gun off the black market), could use a gun, nothing changes. They *will* turn to something else. Bombs, lead pipes, cars, fire, nail guns, wire, rope, forks… the list goes on (including many, many things more dangerous than guns!). Bombs, for example, are relatively easy to make from commonly available materials and will kill large numbers of people at once. Would you have us outlaw anything that might be used as a bomb ingredient? You cannot use legislation to control violence, because violence is inside us. We must learn to control ourselves, and then protect the ones we love from those who will not control themselves. This is where legislation *does* help – in aiding us to better defend ourselves and our loved ones.
        If someone intending to kill enters your home (or school or whatever the situation might be), it’s not a question of whether *they* have “a knife or a gun”. They will be armed, and law or not it will be something highly deadly, be it bomb, gun, or anything else. The question is, what weapon do YOU want to have to protect yourself and fight back? I choose the freedom to choose.
        This brings me to the 2nd Amendment. It was established to protect my right to keep and bear arms. That means that the government (Constitutionally) cannot remove my rights to own or carry a gun. In fact, part of why the 2nd Amendment was made was to protect me from a corrupt government – say, one that wanted to take away my rights to bear weapons. If the government became corrupt and turned its back on the Constitution (and we have but to look at history to know that such an idea is more than a possibility), my 2nd Amendment rights protect me and my ability to defend myself and the ones I love in such a time. If not for the 2nd Amendment, I would be at such a government’s mercy. Thank you, Founding Fathers, for protecting my right to protect myself.
        Now, for the UK, you never had a 2nd Amendment. I wouldn’t expect you to complain about gun control or feel a lack of freedom. As an American, with 2nd Amendment rights, I cannot stand by and watch the government take it away.
        Finally, I’d like to say that I agree with what you said that guns don’t make people bad. They are tools, and like all tools can be used for both good and bad purposes. They do not make someone good or bad – but someone can use them for either good or bad purposes. I wish to see more people with good intentions holding a gun, ready to face those already holding them with the bad intentions.
        We must all be ready to stand, and fight if necessary, for what we believe in. This is where I stand.

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    • Kat Frost, I wholeheartedly agree with you. Spot on.

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  5. As a general populace, we fight for our right to our own violence after every one of these instances. To be honest, as a country, we care more about money than people… from the top to the bottom. We care more about fake lines in the sand. We value life until it stops making someone money…. then that life is ignored (just ask my sister-in-law who is dying of cancer because she can’t come up with $11k PER WEEK! for treatment). Until we solve our human compassion problem, no amount of any legislation is going to help.

    The societies with the lowest murder rates have two things in common: Great regard for all citizens, regardless of class or status, including awesome social programs and compassionate laws around everything from healthcare to incarceration to employment to energy policy to manufacturing…. and…. wait for it…. sensible gun restrictions baked into their system. This isn’t either-or. It’s both.. They go hand-in-hand. In our country, we fight for our right to be violent in a society that only just barely values human life – and then only if that life is worth a profit to someone somewhere. It’s no wonder we have issues.

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  6. Hmm. The lack of guns would certainly stop the mass-shootings (it’s a simple correlation: no guns means no shootings, which can only happen by said guns–and that of course doesn’t take into account criminals…if a person truly wants something bad enough, it goes without saying that they will get it from somewhere, hurdle-dependent).

    But that doesn’t necessarily mean that those who say we have a severe societal problem are wrong, either. Mass shootings have, at least to my knowledge, increased in frequency within the last several years–and the Second Amendment has been in place (with more and less control laws throughout its history at certain times) for significantly longer than that. If I were to draw an analogy, I’d say that our current dilemma is the cancer that’s growing on the brain of our society, with mass shootings being the symptomatic headache. While, obviously, the goal is to cut out the cancer, no one in their right mind would tell such a patient to tough it out and not take an aspirin (gun control laws).

    Likewise, though, I’m not sure anyone would suggest taking every pill in the bottle (perhaps analogous to laws that ban guns).

    Interesting question, John, but one for you:

    Ignoring for a moment the fact that guns are there, why do you suppose people are so unhinged lately?

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    • Love this. People refuse to see that mass shootings are happening all the time. Has it always been like this? No. Are we doing enough to stop them from happening today or tomorrow? No. As for your question, I assume you mean why are these shootings happening so frequently now? I don’t think I know the answer. Hopefully someone much more powerful than I am does. And does something to stop these things from happening. Or maybe the general population comes to the realization that this is ridiculous. No other country would have so much of its population think the answer is more guns. It’s crazy. Is the answer to drug addiction more drugs? Is the answer to diabetes to eat even more unhealthy food? Is the answer to cancers caused by smoking more smoking? No. And the answer to gun violence in this country is most certainly NOT more guns.

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  7. Scotland had a mass shooting. Britain banned guns. Now there are no shootings. It is such a simple solution, everyone in Britain can not believe how the US can’t get on board with this way of thinking.

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    • David, I’m going to need you to explain how simple this is to some other commenters. I’m right there with you. More guns does not help anyone.

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    • Am I correct in my recollection that Britain ended slavery in a day, with a vote from Parliament that made every African slave a free English citizen? If so, this will only support my next statement:

      The paper-thin reason is simply differences in culture and priorities. The US fights everyone (even itself) about everything. It’s ingrained in our cultural DNA, and has been there since the beginning. *shrugs*

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    • Britain also is an island with no borders. When you get rid of guns in an island, you get rid of guns. America shares massive borders with two other nations, leaving us wide open for smugglers to get them into the county regardless of legality.

      Just something to think about.

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  8. This little reply is just my opinion. Please keep in mind that I haven’t lived in the States since 1975 when I was 8 years old!
    I agree with one meme I’ve seen going around lately; it isn’t the guns that are the problem, it’s the people holding the guns.
    I know I’m not articulating very well. Suffice to say I can agree with gun ownership and some of the gun laws (maybe more if someone would/could take the time to sit down with me face to face and explain them to me). What I don’t agree with is people taking advantage of those laws and making themselves judge, jury and executioner for some imagined infraction.
    Here’s a thought: nobody can own a gun, including police and other officials, without first having a mental acuity test done. The licensed and approved doctor who gives the test must give a signed affidavit stating that the person is of sound mind and be allowed to own a firearm.
    They must go through a firearms safety course and have a refresher every 5 years or their license is suspended and guns/ammo confiscated. Return of license and arms/ammo pending attending and passing the refresher course.
    Have a lifetime ban on ownership for felons. Not just while on parole or probation.
    I know the firearms course is mandatory for first-time buyers but is it actually enforced? Can they get around it like they can e-tests? Can they get a ‘hot’ license so to speak.
    Owning a gun and having a license is a privilege, not a right despite what some folks and the Declaration of Independence says.

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    • I’d have no issue with any of that, and any person who would lacks common sense and also shouldn’t own a gun. Your best point is that owning a gun is NOT a right. Because it isn’t.

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    • One thing: It’s not the Declaration of Independence, it’s the Constitution. My right to defend myself and to keep and bear arms is my right as a human being. The Constitution (the 2nd Amendment, specifically) PROTECTS my rights as a human being to defend myself in the way I choose – to carry a gun if I chose to, out for you to not carry a gun if you choose to. This is my right, protected by the United States Constitution.

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      • I was looking up inalienable rights while I wrote my response because to me there are only a few. 1. The right to food. 2. The right to shelter. 3 The right to clothing although the Declaration says it differently. The right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit Of Happiness.
        I didn’t actually go in and read what the Declaration said, as I just did so I could clarify it in my own head. Oops, my bad.
        I can remember reciting The Pledge Of Allegiance in school. (Thanx, I got distracted by Wikipedia and read the history of the Pledge :D.)
        And now I’ve lost my train of thought *sigh*

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  9. Have you watched Bowling For Columbine? It’s a documentary by Michael Moore that basically addresses this issue in depth! My eyes were opened to this topic through that documentary and now I’m very aware and very horrified by the damages guns have on the country! It’s absolutely appalling.

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  10. Pingback: Floptober October | Write me a book, John!

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