Today we learned of another mass shooting, this time on the campus of Seattle Pacific University, a small private Christian university outside Seattle. Two weeks ago the same sort of event happened at University of California Santa Barbara. Last night and every night in cities across the nation, the same thing happened, as young people, mostly young men, were gunned down. Meaningless deaths of mostly young people due to another young person wielding a gun.
In a recent “Daily Show with John Stewart”, Stewart turned his satirical wit on the news media which has now begun to portray such meaningless slaughter of our young as “inevitable.”(The segment on guns starts at about the 3:15 point; its powerful and worth a look). Things have gotten so absurd that even the NRA is not sure how far its gun-slinging, gun-toting enthusiasts should be encouraged to go. (See this link to the article.)
The truth is only a fraction of the gun-related violence in our country ever makes the news, and usually only when such incidents involve white folks in places like elementary schools and college campuses. As horrific as the SPU and UC-Santa Barbara shootings are (a death is a death no matter where it occurs), the media generally ignores the carnage occurring in poor and urban communities all the time. Yet as Stewart points out, even white kids shooting white kids now has become “old news.”
When the media pundits try to get to the causes they point to mental illness, family stress, depression, low self esteem and the like – all of which are contributing factors – but rarely do the mention the one common factor: the ready availability of guns in this country whether thru legal or illegal means. Take the guns away and there will still be troubled youth and a certain level of violence will exist, but the dead body count will go way down.
Let me share a personal illustration. When I was 22 years old living in Boston, I was mugged by an assailant who demanded I give him my watch. When I resisted, he hit me several times with a baseball bat. I had to go to the emergency room but I survived the ordeal. Had that same event occurred today, most likely I would have been shot, the difference being in the late 1970’s guns were very rare in even seemingly “dangerous” neighborhoods such as where I lived. Don’t get me wrong, there were certain places one did not go to maintain safety, but in six years of working with street kids I never saw a gun and only hear one a few times. There was violence to be sure, but few firearms.
Anyone who reads this blog knows that I am passionate about addressing issues of inequity and injustice in many areas, and violence of any kind is something that needs to be addressed. However, let’s not be stupid or blind or in absolute denial. If we want to reduce the carnage of our young people which has become all too common, we need to start with reducing the availability of guns. We need to pass laws strengthening and expanding background checks, limit sales to one handgun a month, require fingerprint identification and licensing, hold gun dealers responsible for prohibiting straw purchases and require all guns lost or stolen to be reported the police. Hunters can still hunt. Target shooters can still shoot. People who feel they must have a gun due to some distorted view of the Second Amendment can still get their gun. All I am suggesting is that we don’t make it as easy to get a gun.
If we want to reduce the carnage, the solution is not difficult – its starts with the guns. And to those who say that gun violence is inevitable, let’s call such logic what it is: BULLS**T!
Gun control means that whomever has the guns is in control. Who do you want that to be?
Assuming the reduction of legally owned firearms is accomplished, the induction of illegal guns into the criminal environment will increase through smuggling, more violent home burglaries, greater frequency of thefts from military and police, and other easily predictable consequences. Creating an artificial reduction in firearms owned by law abiding citizens will absolutely create a far worse gun violence atmosphere than what we are seeing now. Haven't you learned anything from the "war on drugs"? Now we have an new social experiment…..a war on guns. The consequences of this new irrationally orchestrated fiasco will be no different than the suits of the other "wars", including alcohol and prostitution, etc, etc.
Your argument is DOA.
Robert E. Naess
To Mr. Mackey and Mr. Apple,
I would respond by saying (1) making the right to bear arms a right does not equal an absolute right in all situations, thus limiting the sales to one handgun a month puts a reasonable limit on that right without abrogating it. (2) fingerprint identification is a technology that could effectively keep someone from using a gun who does not own that gun, thus cutting down on the use of guns by unauthorized, (unlicensed persons); (3) if gun shows can't be regulated they should not be allowed – its that simple.
These limits do not eliminate the right to bear arms, but puts limits on those who should not have guns. If Mr. Apple feels a need to defend himself, he has that right. If you read the blog closely, you would have seen that was the case. You are the one over-reacting.
To Mr. Naess,
Your logic would make sense except that it is not supported by data. The presence of firearms increases the likelihood that those guns will be used on someone, usually close the the owner of the gun. The stipulations I list are designed to inhibit the illegal flow of guns. As far as guns being smuggled into the country – the U.S. is the world's supplier of guns; they aren't coming into the country they are going out. The rest of the world will thank us if we reduce the illegal flow of guns. Other countries of the world don't have the gun violence problem the U.S. does primarily because they have these kinds of laws.
Also I would ask you to read what I said. I have not said there should be no guns, just limits.
You failed to address any of my questions. If gun rights advocates are distorting the meaning of the 2nd Amendment, please enlighten us using historical facts.
The words "shall not be infringed" are pretty explicit. A sane, non-felon wants to obtain arms. You are telling them they cannot. This is the very meaning of "infringement." Amend the BoR if you'd like but as it sits, what you are suggesting is not allowed.
Putting cameras in every American's home would prevent terrorist attacks and could keep us safer. That does not mean we should do it and that does not mean we are ALLOWED to do it. Similarly, how can you justify registering a person for doing things they supposedly have a right to do? Would you be comfortable with fingerprinting anyone who wanted to protest or go to church? And doesn't permitting the purchase of guns disparage the impoverished and minorities the same way voter ID laws do?
hmmm… so from your way of logic, whatever the THING which contributed to death of youth or any human loose should be banned, right?
What about cars? Car is the major contributor in any CAR accident. so, should the government ban cars? And humans have been cutting each other for thousands of years before invention firearms, thus, we should ban knives, or any cutlery, right?
No, violence with a gun does not start with a gun, it starts with an individual that intends to cause harm. It ALWAYS starts with an individual.
You can take all the guns away (yeah… good luck with that) and still the carnage would exist. Violence is an act carried out by an individual or group, how that violence is carried out is irrelevant as we already have moral codes of conduct as well as laws that prohibit said acts of violence.
People are stabbed, strangled, beaten to death more times than they are shot to death. A gun is nothing more an a tool that is chosen.
Fun fact… the first three victims from the Santa Barbara murder spree… they were STABBED! The focus on an inanimate object and not the real source of the problem is EXACTLY why we will continue this stupid game.
Gun control does not work. It only shifts the power from the citizen to the state and the criminal. This has been exemplified in both the UK and Australia. Both nations enacted strict gun control and both nations now suffer a massive violent crime rate than BEFORE guns were banned.
So before you start calling people stupid, remember this lesson my Granny taught me… when you point a finger at someone else there are always three pointing back at you. Make sure your back yard is neat and tidy before you mention someone else's yard looks in need of cleaning.
“Second, your perspective is that violence is inevitable so you need to arm yourself in self-defense. Fact: states and nations with stronger regulations have less gun-related crimes. While we can not eliminate human depravity and therefore we can not eliminate violence, we CAN lessen its devastating impact. Will such measures completely stop the wrong people from getting access to guns? Not at all, but they can make it harder (and have in states/ nations where such laws exist.) That is the purpose of any security measure – to make it harder to commit a crime. You say it takes away your freedom. No more than getting a fishing license keeps you from fishing or a driver's license keeps your from driving.
I am deeply sorry you won't consider that perspective. It is a common ground we could both live with.”
Actually if you want to reduce violence arming citizens is but one part of the puzzle. National identity and border security are another, education, the reduction of government interference in the affairs of private citizens, with the increase in education comes a reduction in poverty and the core of violence in the first place. Another piece is “love thy neighbor” translated get to know your neighbors again. Currently due to race baiting and government interference as well as media people don't know their neighbors, therefore distrust festers into hate and discontent.
This nation was most prosperous and had the least amount of violent crime when the government was small and out of the way and people knew each other. Human nature is not towards violence, conditions we can control create the breeding ground for it.
There is no single answer, but disarming law abiding citizens most assuredly is not the answer. While nations with stronger regulations may have fewer crimes committed with guns, they do not have a lower crime rate than the US with some exceptions.
I could spend hours gathering data and showing your premise incorrect but I don't have time for that. The simple fact is your safety and well being is your responsibility not the governments nor the police. This has been upheld in the supreme court on several occasions. What and how you choose to live is your right… but it comes with consequences as do all decisions in life.