America's Gun Problem
Semi-Automatic Rifle With A "Banana" Clip Bullet Magazine
Here Again Once More We Trod
The recent mass shooting that occurred at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida has once again brought America to the topic of gun control. In that shooting 17 students and faculty were gunned down sending America back into the debate over gun control.
Since January of this year there have been 18 school shootings in the United States which averages out to about 2 per week. This should be alarming to everyone and the fact that these shootings are happening in a place where children should feel safe should be the most troubling aspect of the situation. Children are mandated to get an education so there is no getting around sending them to school. Although some have opted to home-school their children, the great majority continue to send theirs to public or private schools.
Schools are and have always been "soft targets" because they are gun-free zones. And that's how they should be. But this quality makes them easy targets for those who desire to perpetrate gun violence. Students should be safe in school but with the escalation of these types of shootings they have quickly become killing zones.
Assorted Semi and Automatic Weapons
Guns By The Numbers
It was last estimated that Americans own some 380 million guns. That is an astounding number considering there is approximately 330 million people living in the United States. That means there are enough guns owned in America to arm every man, woman, boy and girl living here with 50 million left to spare.
That is astonishing.
Why do Americans need so many guns? All gun owners are not sportsmen, policemen or members of the military so why so many weapons? It is understandable that home protection may be a reason to own a gun but how many does one home need? And why would someone need an semi-automatic weapon for home protection?
Many of the guns owned are military-style weapons capable of firing large volumes of bullets within a short time span. What citizen needs that type of weapon to defend themselves?
Understandably there are gun collectors among those who own guns but again how many does one person need?
America's fascination and obsession with guns has led it down an ugly path that has ended at our children's schools with devastating consequences.
The Hard Cold Facts
In a report published by BBC News is was determined that 64% of the gun crimes committed in the world including homicides, suicides and mass shootings were perpetrated in America. The next closest country (Canada, our northern neighbor) was responsible for 30% of those occurrences. Great Britain, the homeland of BBC News, came in near the bottom with 4.5% of the world's gun crimes. What is the difference? The availability of guns.
That same report stated that nearly 90 out of every 100 people in the United States owns a gun which leads the world. The third and fourth leading countries in this category, Switzerland and Finland have compulsory military service for every man over 18 years-old. So America owns more guns per every 100 citizens than countries with required military service for all men over 18 years of age.
Why so many guns?
In 2014 33,594 people were killed by guns in the U.S. That is over 2/3 of the number of soldiers killed in Vietnam (58,000) during the entire war. Of those 33,000 plus deaths 11,008 were homicides. These numbers clearly show the saturation of guns in America directly correlates with the number of gun deaths. Where will it end?
School Children Being Escorted From A Shooting Scene At Their School
The Psychology Of Gun Violence
Anyone who goes through an event where gunfire is involved experiences a measure of psychological trauma no matter if they are grown or a child. Have training in firearms or not. Its only natural. And it is especially true for those who have not been around firearms. Just the massive explosion that comes from firing a gun can be paralyzing to some. Now just imagine a child's response to such an occurrence.
Trained soldiers who's preparation involves repeatedly firing weapons can become traumatized by a gun battle. How much more so an untrained person and how much more so a child who has never been around guns?
It is a shock to the psychological system to be involved in an incident where a gun or guns were used. Robbery victims can attest to this. So children who are still in the developmental stages can suffer dramatic psychological damage from a gun incident.
PTSD is not just a condition that results from war combat. It can also be derived from situations that are just as stressful where gunfire or violence of any kind is present. Those who experience domestic violence or child abuse develop a form of PTSD and often display similar symptoms as someone who has been exposed to the ravages of war.
There can be no doubt that surviving students from the latest shooting in Florida will show some signs of PTSD in the future. How can they not? We can only hope that the psychological effect is minimal and not permanent.
The Politics Of Guns
It is a foregone conclusion that the gun industry has a vested interest in keeping gun sales high and to help ensure that outcome they go to great lengths to influence lawmakers to fashion laws that will promote just that.
Let's face facts. Gun sales is big business which is why gun lobbyists and pundits go out of their way to stay in the ear of legislators who craft laws governing guns. Having strict gun laws would greatly inhibit the sale of guns and diminish the revenue of one of the most profitable industries in the country. That in turn would affect the campaign contributions from gun manufacturers to those congressmen who receive support from them. It is a vicious game.
Since many in congress receive campaign contributions from gun manufacturers it becomes difficult for lawmakers to pass restrictive laws concerning gun sales. This leaves America in a situation where the fox is literally guarding the hen house. So what are we to do?
Virginia Tech Shooting Video (2007)
It is obvious that America has a serious gun problem. We lead the world in crimes involving guns. Our need and greed for guns has fueled our propensity to use them to settle issues that would be better solved nonviolently.
America's and Americans' love affair with guns has fostered an environment where it is not safe to even go to church without fear. Where does it all end?
Somehow, some way we need to find a balance between gun ownership and responsible, reasonable gun ownership because at our current rate we face what could ultimately end up being anarchy at the hands of our own citizens.
Something needs to be done and done soon. When our children are being slaughtered it is time to act.
God help us.