Gun Control – Why is America still not doing anything?

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Such a scene is alien to most of the world...
Such a scene is alien to most of the world…

Here’s a statistic to boggle your mind: on the day of the Boston Marathon Bombing – in which three people were killed and over two-hundred injured  – eleven US citizens were murdered by firearms.

Such a figure is pertinent not in order to diminish the atrocious and devastating crimes of the Tsarnaev brothers on April 15th, but merely to show the paradox at the heart of US society. That even on a day of a deadly terrorist attack more people suffered death at the hands of guns.

(This, in fact, is less than an average day: in 2011, 8,583 people were killed by firearms; roughly 23.5 persons a day)

It calls into serious question America’s continuing inertia over gun control; in the same week of the bombing, the Senate refused to pass an insipid form of such legislation, which required those from buying guns to have simple background checks. Apparently even that was a step too far in violating the civil liberties for 44 senators.

Such decisions seem to fly in the face of basic logic. Indeed, in the wake of last year’s Sandy Hook school shooting in Newton – hardly the first of such massacres – nearly 4000 people have met an untimely fate through firearms. Despite the human story of twenty children being murdered, along with six of their teachers, the slaughter of innocent people continues unabated everyday, failing to motivate the politicians of Washington into action.

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US Murders By Weapons: firearms account for around 68% of all murders.

Many have argued such events would occur regardless of any control; that those willing to use guns in such tragedies would be more than willing to evade legal controls to obtain such weapons (as was the case of the Tsarnaev brothers)

Such arguments fail to stack up, however. The US homicide rate, due to firearms, is nearly thirty times the number of such occurrences in the UK. Yet, it cannot be attributed to video games, films or health problems; these, after all, remain the same worldwide.

It is also far too easy to lay the blame purely at the number of guns in circulation in the US, however. Indeed, Finland and Switzerland both have a high gun per capita ratio of over 45 firearms in every 100 people – due to national service – yet remain two of the safest nations of the world.

Instead, it is the triumph of a particular culture; a culture where guns can be bought like sweets, where terrorism is considered a crime of national importance but thousands of gun shot dead are perversely accepted as just how life is; a society which rules are both alien and ludicrous to most of the rest of the Western world: and where the tragedies of Virginia Tech, Columbine and Sandy Hook have failed to spark a national movement to curb the proliferation of guns.

It may be a painful thing to admit, but little can be done to stop an act of barbarity such as Boston. Much can be done to protect the thousands of American who die on a recurring daily basis due to guns, however  The bad news though is that nothing will be done unless the citizens of the USA really begin to make a stand.

This article is an edited version of one that featured in issue seven of the Wessex Scene Magazine. The title has also been corrected from the print edition.

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Discussion2 Comments

  1. avatar

    The so called logic and the facts are misleading in this biased story. By far most of the shootings in the USA are done by inner city criminal thugs shooting other criminals with illegal handguns obtained through straw gun buyers and illegal gun traffickers….Chicago the shooting capitol of the USA with more shooting deaths each year then Afghanistan, also has some of the strictest gun control laws in the country and also ranks last in gun crime prosecutions..proving both that gun control doesn’t work and also the gun control laws that are already on the books aren’t being enforced.

  2. avatar

    No mention here of the all powerful gun lobby in the US which seems to have a strong influence on both politicians and the general public. They think that any change to the right to bear arms is wrong despite the fact that firearms are now immensely more sophisticated. Generally I think the Americans do not want gun control and for many politicians supporting such control would be like turkeys voting for Christmas.

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