The internet is abuzz today with two more shootings happening within the U.S. borders. The reactions pour in every minute: outrage, keeping others in our thoughts and prayers, etc. Some call for abolishment of the 2nd Amendment. Some want stricter gun laws. Some want their government to “fix it.”
In the hundreds of years since we became a country, this cycle has been perpetuated over and over and over. Yet nothing seems to change. Those calling for stricter gun laws perhaps forget that regulating drugs did little to quell the flow of illicit narcotics into our country. In fact, the so-called “War on Drugs” actually increased the availability of drugs, if only on the black market. Governments paid lip service to “fixing” it, but really, nothing happened.
Guns and shootings make great news stories, otherwise, why don’t we hear more about knifing deaths, or people being bludgeoned to death? Because those are boring. They are written off as “non-issues.” There’s no tittilation, no excitement to be found. But guns… Guns!! Those are loud. They are exciting. And because they are a hot topic right now, it has become our cause du jour. It could happen to anyone! It could happen to me!
However, the chances of any individual becoming the victim of a random shooting are 30,000 to 1 in the U.S. If you aren’t engaged in some sort of criminal enterprise, and don’t live in a violent domestic situation, your odds drop considerably: 150,000 to 1.
Know what else makes good news stories? Bombings. Jets flying into towering buildings. From these events, the Patriot Act was born, which successfully eroded much of a citizen’s right to travel unchallenged within our own borders.
In 2015, 2.3 million people were severely injured or killed in automobile accidents. Yet why aren’t we crying out to have stricter auto ownership laws? Remove the right to drive from every U.S. citizen because we are apparently unable to handle heavy machinery.
Calling for the abolishment of Constitutional rights is a knee-jerk reaction, and a very slippery slope. Remember The Patriot Act?
Some have said to me that it’s improper to compare different types of deaths and killings with other types of deaths and killings. Is it really? How so, I ask? In our society, there is such a thing as vehicular homicide. So it is a noted cause of death in the courts. Just as gun killings are. Just as bombings are. Yet we are selective in what we dole out our outrage to.
China invented the firearm in the 13th century. Gun powder was invented by China in the 9th century. These inventions were later exported to the Middle East, Africa, and Europe. The world’s first firearm was the “fire lance,” the prototype of the modern firearm, a black-powder–filled tube attached to the end of a spear and used as a flamethrower (not to be confused with the Byzantine flamethrower). Shrapnel was sometimes placed in the barrel so that it would fly out together with the flame. Guns have been prevalent in our country since they were first imported.
The point being: no one is coming to save us. Not a deity, not Superman…no one. We are on our own here. We can issue endless rhetoric about how this issue impacts us negatively, but what are we doing about it? Is getting rid of guns really the answer? Is making harsher punishments going to deter those who have decided — for whatever reasons — to go out and shoot people? When we consider the entirety of human history, we’re probably going to find that the answer is a resounding NO. So we react with fear, which is portrayed through outrage, or prayer, or some other equally ineffective means of addressing the issue. Banning guns now is like trying to force toothpaste back into the tube. In other words, it’s too late.
There are an estimated 875 million civilian, law enforcement, and military firearms in the world. This works out to be about one gun for every seven people. That number will only increase over time. When citizens call out for stricter gun control, does it make gun owners think, Yes, I should get rid of my gun? No, it makes them deceptive. It makes them hide the fact that they own guns. So why are we still producing them? Who is authorizing the continued manufacture of deadly firearms? Governments. Why? Because gun manufacturing is big business…the benefit being that those corporations bring in tax revenue. Lots and lots of tax revenue. Sound familiar? The tobacco industry was allowed to continue to produce their death-inducing products because tobacco is big business. We allowed ourselves to be hoodwinked, allowed ourselves to become seduced by the ads and the marketing. Rather than thinking: Gosh, filling my lungs with toxins seems so silly when they were meant to breathe air, we grow lazy and complacent and allow others to do our thinking for us.
We might also avoid subscribing to the rhetoric the NRA (National Rifle Association) uses, stating in short that if every citizen was armed, these shootings might never happen…because when has fighting fire with fire ever worked?
At the end of the day, it’s always us humans who do the killing. The method varies, but the actions are unerringly perpetrated by us. That has not changed, and probably never will.
Let’s come up with real and effective solutions, instead of allowing fear to dictate our actions.