We have a bewildering set of circumstances that need a dispassionate look,
|If the senseless massacres like Newtown, Connecticut, Aurora, Colorado, and Virginia Tech don’t lead you to want to re-examine the role of firearms in this country, you live in a different country than I do. It is all over the news. Solutions are extremely varied from armed guards in school hallways, teachers carrying heat, to varying forms of gun control that few can agree on. Let’s look at numbers and see what is real. Do guns change societies? The answer definitely is: yes and no.
First let’s take a historical view. It is our right to bear arms. It was passed as an amendment to the constitution of the United States to protect us against potential tyranny. We fought against tyranny in the War of Independence. Tyranny is defined as oppressive power. We can use power and authority to create tyranny. A white south kept Black Americans under control for over a century after the Civil War. Non-violence would turn the tide in race relations. We will not be ignored and we have rights.
Are we safer? America is by far the most armed country in the world with gun ownership at 88/100 households. When compared to the more developed countries of Europe and Canada, we have a homicide rate that is five times as high.
Britain has long banned handguns. Not even policemen carry. Your rate of being a homicide victim is 1.45/100,000 people. Only firearms do a small percent of homicides. In America, the rate is 4.55/100,000 with the chance of being murdered by a handgun about 65%.
Before I say that getting rid of firearms is the answer, let’s look at more numbers. Honduras has a gun ownership rate of 6.2/100 households. Their murder rate is 68.43/100000 population, the highest in the world. They are obviously very effective with what guns they have.
If you look at murders in school settings, one thing is common. These kids are weird, but weird pretty much describes every teenager in America. The common thing between them is that they have no common thing between them. Some are extroverts. Some are not. Some are depressed. Some are bullied. Some use drugs. One of the latest ones at Newtown was probably autistic.
I think the one thing they have in common is that they are alienated from forces that would give them information about right and wrong. Many are obsessed with violence. The shooter at the Virginia Tech site had such disturbing things in his writing, out patient counseling was mandated.
Between 1991 and 2002 in the African country of Sierra Leone, some 300,000 teenagers roamed the country with automatic weapons. The army or the insurgents destroyed their villages and recruiting was either by force or an appeal to hate. Each was given a steady diet of atrocities that the other side had pursued. They had them watch Rambo movies and he became a folk hero. The armies filled their recruits full of cocaine and marijuana.
When the child soldiers were purchased out of the army by a UNICEF initiative, they still continued to fight. One boy soldier, Ishmael Beah, in his autobiography, A Long Way Gone, realized that when Civil War again broke out that his only chance at survival and leaving a violent way of life was to leave his country. He had lived violence. He knew it would find him again
I am thinking that the ultimate form of being unassimilated is feeling that you have to blast someone who doesn’t agree with you. Rambo is not a people person. Do guns create an increasing alienating effect on society? I think they do. Are we finding the alienated people in our society and giving them a new future? My best review of the subject is probably not.
Take guns off the street? Maybe. Label people who deem this necessary as un-American? The last ordinance for gun control was passed by an archconservative, George Bush is 2008. Don’t label. Just talk. Certainly don’t shoot each other physically or metaphorically. We can come up with a better solution. We have to do something. Lives are depending on it. Having twenty children go to school and get shot down is tyranny or the use of oppressive force. I think we have to re-evaluate everything with as many facts as possible.