Again, a gunman with a semi-automatic weapon and lots of bullets killed three people and wounded two; regrettably four were first responders. The killer was a convicted felon and could not legally own a firearm, but nothing would stop him from going to a gun “show” and buying the weapon he used.
I think it should concern every American that among the high income countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development America has the highest rate of homicide by a factor of four; our rate is 3.2 (per 100,000) while the next highest among the other 30 countries (Germany, France, United Kingdom, etc.) is Switzerland at .8. [Source: United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime]
In terms of raw numbers, America has more homicides by firearm (9,960) than all 30 countries combined (1,434); We have almost seven times the number of homicides than 30 of our economic counterparts with half of their combined population.
You have to wade into 2nd tier (Upper Middle Income) countries to find one with a rate higher than the U.S.; Mexico has a rate of 10.0 homicides per 100,000 and a raw number slightly more than ours; 11,309.
I think it is shameful that the gun violence in our country is on par with Mexico in the eyes of the rest of the planet. I must confess to little direct knowledge of Mexico. I would never travel there due to my perception that Americans who stray too far from the hotel are easy targets and that the NarcoTraffico easily out guns the Mexican law enforcement. I'm sure foreign visitors to our country don't feel that way...now.
While mass shootings are horrific, I think the real issue is the epidemic of gun violence in our country. Every 45 minutes someone is killed by a gun.
How much longer does America intend to equate all aspects of gun ownership with an amendment to our constitution that is more than 200 years old — a time when our military was dwarfed by the rest of the world.
A time when we did need a “well regulated militia” to ensure our very existence.
A time when the firepower brought to the Sandy Hook Elementary school could easily have turned the tables in any military battle of the day.
People correctly cite the “Assault Weapons Ban” from 1994 to 2004 as having little effect on the homicide rate. I don't feel it was much of a ban at all; it took five years for Congress to pass and by then had been watered down with so many loopholes, exceptions and no provision to outlaw existing weapons that it fell far short of the original intent as a response to a mass shooting of five children aged 6-9 in 1989. Ask yourself, how serious is a “ban” that was set to expire from the start?
Page 2 of 2 - And so here we are again, wringing our hands over the deaths of our children and trying to restore some sanity to gun ownership in our country under the withering influence of the gun industry. I think we need to acknowledge the darker side of capitalism and admit that the gun industry has been very effective in marketing their product.
They have increased demand and market share through their influence with the NRA and our Congress. They have successfully equated ownership of their product to a Constitutional right on par with our Freedom and with little concern for “the general welfare.”
My hope is that Vice President Biden’s task force can propose some meaningful reform to the flood of firearms in the country and our Congress can find the courage to enact the same. I pray that we can do something to stem the epidemic of gun violence before it reaches further into our society than it does today.