Thursday, September 19, 2013

Another Massacre

A couple of weeks ago, I received an email asking me if I was interested in seeing a short video called The Business of Guns.  Apparently, my occasional gun related posts had resulted in my contact believing I might find the video interesting.  I watched the video a few days later, then watched it again, today, in light of this past weekend's massacre in Washington DC.

First, here is a link to the video if you are interested.  It appears to be a (mostly) unbiased presentation of facts as related to the gun industry.

I also did some research about mass shootings and found this detailed list of mass shootings with "mass" being defined as 4 or more fatalities.

Finally, I looked for articles with data about gun ownership in America and found these two, interestingly enough with different conclusions.

As I have said many times before, I prefer stronger laws to control guns based on the assumption that many gun deaths, and a significant percentage of gun related violence is the result of impulse rather than a planned crime or event.  People get mad, i.e road rage, domestic quarreling, bad day at the office, etc, and act without thinking, act our of passion, or just plain lash out at what is nearest.  Having the availability of a gun in these situations increases the chance of a fatality.  For me then, the less guns there are, the less chance they will be used irresponsibly and/or with unplanned consequences.     

It has been argued that this logic does not apply to most mass killings, in that most seem planned.  If we glance at the list compiled in the link above, there are not that many spur of the moment killings.  Rather, the perpetrators have reacted to a specific event or have killed as a result of a mental illness.  Still, I would maintain that the ease of attaining weapons with high killing capabilities, makes it all the more easy for them to fall into the hands of those with bad intentions.  That being said, I agree wholeheartedly with those responsible gun owners who make the case for tighter enforcement of current laws that limit the sale of guns to those with a history of mental illness.  The problem is that the mentally ill are still able to procure guns since they are so readily accessible via holes in the legal process and illegally.

For me, the most insidious aspect of the gun debate, is the gun's industries soaring profits as detailed in the video.  Of course, much of the blame for why people buy guns which produces the sales and results in the profits, is our own, the people of the United States.  We continue to buy in to the notion that violence offers a solution to the problems we face, whether personal or national.  And then, we complete the charade with the rationale that if only we could keep the guns out of the "bad" guys hands, and get more into the hands of the good guys.  I would love to see the app that a gun dealer could use to determine who is good and who is bad!!

The good news is that despite the increase in guns in America - we are #1 in the world according to the video - the rate of homicide, overall and by guns, has not increased in the past 30 years despite the seemingly endless barrage of news stories detailing gun violence and the increase in mass killing.   As the gun-ownership-is-down link suggests, I am a firm believer that man, as a whole, continues to evolve spiritually and that in so doing we more and more embrace the concept that killing each other, whether for reasons of religion, land, money or love, is slowly, ever so slowly, becoming a trait not compatible with the survival of our species.  

And so I hope that one day there will be a world without guns.  Not through legislation, although it is a nice way to move us forward, but through the shared realization that violence, whatever its manifestation, solves little, destroys much, and is a poor choice of solutions for our problems.      


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