The other night I posted something on facebook, a comment made by our current President in the wake of yet another mass shooting.
….But let’s be clear: at some point, we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries. It doesn’t happen in other places with this kind of frequency. And it is in our power to do something about it. I say that recognizing the politics in this town foreclose a lot of those avenues right now. But it would be wrong for us not to acknowledge it. And at some point it’s going to be important for the American people to come to grips with it, and for us to be able to shift how we think about the issue of gun violence collectively… -Barack Obama
What he said was truth, a statement in fact. That we must at some point address the fact that there is a problem with guns in America and the rest of the advanced world doesn’t have these issues. It’s truth. There’s no argument. They just don’t. The statistics don’t lie.
People went a little nutty, things got heated and the actual argument got hijacked. People are passionate about guns here, well some people… it’s a nation divided.
But here’s the thing. In Australia, UK, Italy, Spain, Germany, Finland, Sweden, France and countless other countries, children don’t accidentally shoot their sibling with their parent’s gun, toddlers don’t accidentally shoot their mother in Walmart while shopping, teens don’t shoot up schools and colleges and movie theatres and malls and churches. It doesn’t happen. There are isolated incidents like the recent one in France and in Sydney, which were specific terror threats by foreign extremists but they are isolated and countable on one hand. Here in America, every. single. day there is a news story where someone was shot, often several people. Snipers target motorists on the freeways, police gun down 12 years olds, and shoot men in the back, lone gunmen kill dozens of innocent people going about their daily lives, yet the rhetoric is always if the victims had a gun it wouldn’t have happened. The good guys, if armed would have saved us from the bad guys.
The arguments that we need to arm ourselves against the government is just crackpot. The argument about good guys carrying guns will save us from the criminals doesn’t hold water, it just doesn’t. When was the last report of a good guy actually saving people from a deranged shooter. Can you even give me a single example? And how do we ascertain who is a good guy? If you’re strolling through target or grabbing a bite to eat in a mall food court and someone walks by with a gun slung over their shoulder, what do you think? Oh look at that good guy keeping us safe… or do we all call 911 and hide under the tables? There’s no way to tell!
The argument about keeping yourself safe from intruders is also flawed. If you are a safe, responsible gun owner then your gun will be locked up or at least separated from the ammunition, so unless you sleep with a loaded gun under your pillow, the chances of actually defending yourself in a home invasion are small unfortunately, no matter what you think. Your right to personal safety is there. You have the right to arm yourself. Noone is even discussing removing this part of the law and I imagine it makes people feel safer but in reality will it help you? Probably not.
Imagine if we could have actual conversations, without the gun slinging and right to bear arms rhetoric, real, honest discussions. There is a way forward, there is a way to have safe gun ownership and a reduction in the loss of innocent lives.
It can be done, America just has to want to. In the meantime, I guess we just duck and cover.