Wednesday, September 2, 2015

America’s Significant Gun Problem, Trump ‘Nailed It’

Kids with GunsYouTube screenshot
Regarding the Virginia shooter who last week killed two journalists during a live interview, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump told CNN that the U.S. has a mental health problem, not a gun problem. A typical response across social media implies that Trump’s conclusion is a new revelation. They say Trump “nailed it.”

Yes, it’s a mental health problem, but it’s a gun problem as well. No one should credit Trump for concluding it a mental health problem. Gun proponents have made that argument for as long as I can remember. It’s one of the principle arguments against gun regulation.

Then there’s the ridiculous argument proponents make: “guns don’t kill people, people do.” Of course guns, in and of themselves, don’t kill people. The reasons people with guns kill people are numerous, mental health is just a small part of the problem.

Another argument is that people will find a way to kill regardless whether they have a gun or not. The availability of guns, however, sure makes it easier to kill, in an impersonal way.

Considering statistics, it’s mind-boggling that anyone would conclude that the United States does not have a gun problem.

Here are two (Fareed Zakaria, The Washington Post): “

Since 9/11, 74 people have been killed in the United States by terrorists, according to the think tank New America. In that same period, more than 150,000 Americans have been killed in gun homicides, and we have done . . . nothing.”

(One hundred fifty thousand gun deaths equal approximately three Vietnams.)

“ … it makes little sense to focus on mental health. The United States has a gun homicide rate that is at least a dozen times higher than those of most other industrialized countries. It is 50 times higher than Germany’s, for instance. We don’t have 50 times as many mentally disturbed people as Germany does — but we do have many, many more guns.”

More guns, making them legal to carry by more people, will never make us safer. All it means is there are going to be more guns to kill more people. Moreover, can you imagine being in a restaurant, shopping mall, school, or anywhere else, where everyone has a gun and each pulls there gun to prevent a crime or to stop someone from shooting people? How many innocent people do you think will be caught in the crossfire?

We have a significant gun problem. It’s driven by gun organizations that only want to sell more guns; it’s driven by the free enterprise folks, mostly Conservatives and Republicans. These are the folks who promote that it’s a mental health problem, not a gun problem.

© Copyright 2015 Horatio Green