Boy, America sure is a fucked up society.
I saw a post on Facebook yesterday that said: “The claim that there has been one mass shooting per day this year is based on people altering the criteria for what a mass shooting is. The standard is 4 people killed, not 4 people killed or injured. This is an attempt to alter the perception of gun violence as compared to past reports of mass shooting rates.” *
That really bothered me. If 4 bullets hit people that should qualify as a mass shooting whether they’re killed or injured. And more to the point how awful is it that people seem to think 4 people a day being shot is acceptable? I could understand 4 people a day being shot in a war zone. I’m sure 4 or more people are shot everyday in Syria. Or maybe an area with a lot of gangs. Or a lot of drug cartels. Or inner cities. But we’re talking about people being shot at their company Christmas parties, churches, colleges and elementary schools. (Not htat I’m OK with soldiers, drug dealers or other types of criminals being brutally slaughtered, but it is more acceptable than 8 year olds.)
Seriously, people die all the time and others say things like “Your dead kids don’t trump my constitutional rights.” The fucked up thing about America isn’t that we have all this gun violence, but the way people respond to it.
And the saddest, most frustrating part is that absolutely nothing can or will be done about it. We just accept this as a matter of course and don’t even try to combat it. I’m finding that people in America aren’t really free thinkers so much as they are talking Tinas programmed by the media of their choice. Some shout that they want tougher gun laws and the other half cry that someone is going to take away their guns.
I try really hard to be a critical thinker and I’ve found my views on the subject shift considerable in the past few months. A New York Times article made me think that we already have many necessary laws in place and that they’re just not being implemented effectively. Then in the aftermath of the Paris terror attracts I wanted to find something to prove/disprove the statements that if the Parisians had been armed they wouldn’t have been attacked.
I couldn’t find any credible information or data linking gun laws and/or rate of gun ownership to rate of gun deaths. There is absolutely no correlation that I could find. This being a website if you do have some proof you would like to share there is a comments section where you may do so. Please know the difference between a fact and an opinion before doing so. (Before you try to convince me that open carry is the answer bear in mind that I live in a state where open carry is legal and I’ve witnessed a mass shooting. In 32 years I’ve never come across an event that would have turned out differently if I’d been armed.)
So I’ve been leaning toward better enforcement of existing gun laws as opposed to new ones lately. Until I read about a new law that would close some loopholes. Apparently people on the FBI’s terrorist watch list can legally buy guns. There’s also a law that if the FBI doesn’t respond to your background check within 3 days it’s legal to get a gun. I’m not sure why that’s a thing in the age of emails and text messages. They can swipe my drivers licence at the gas station to know if I’m of legal age to buy cigarettes can’t do the same to tell if I’m a felon or an escaped mental patient when I go to buy a gun?
What really confuses me is why nobody wants to spend money or research treating mental illness or studying gun violence. It’s ridiculous that we don’t want to treat sick people or trying to understand why things like this happen. I cannot imagine what would prompt someone to grab a weapon, walk into a classroom and open fire on a group of kindergartners. But that’s the problem – If we look into why stuff like this happens perhaps we can prevent it.
I don’t understand how anyone can be against providing health care and opportunities for the poor and sick among us. I’m sure some don’t want to share their money in the form of taxes, but if poverty and mental disabilities breed violence and crime aren’t you giving them your tax dollars when you pay to lock them up? Let’s try to keep people out of prison and turn them into productive members of society.
But then again, why would you listen to my thoughts and opinions on this matter. I have an Associate of Arts degree. Where are the PhD’s? The social scientists? The police commissioners? How do we separate the researched from the speculated? Why aren’t we calling in experts to ask their opinions on how to solve this crisis? Why aren’t we looking to what has worked and what hasn’t worked in other countries? How has trying to keep people safe turned into a partisan political issue? Where’s the peer-reviewed data to support anyone’s outrageous claims? Where are the armed good guys who are supposed to be stopping these shooters before they kill?
I’m not saying we should ban all guns. I’m a gun owner myself and don’t plan on surrendering my weapons to anyone. I know many other people who are responsible gun owners. But I don’t know how anyone could say that we do a good job of keeping guns out of the hands of dangerous people in this country. I can’t point to one for every day of this year, but I know of quite a few instances where that didn’t happen. I’d like to see more funding for mental health treatment. Or tougher background check. Or maybe trying to move our culture away from violence. Or… well anything. Because obviously what we have now isn’t working.
* Definitions of mass shootings vary. (Washington Post June 18th 2015)