Editor: John Lawrence, a regular writer for San Diego Free Press, has teamed up with Frank Thomas, a nationally-known progressive researcher, to lay out a Cultural Comparison between gun violence in America and Europe, in a three part series, all reposted below.
By John Lawrence and Frank Thomas
While US gun crime and all crime levels are slowly but almost imperceptibly declining, they still remain relatively astronomically high compared with Europe. In this article, we compare US and European levels of gun violence and gun control to see if we can make any sense of the gun debate in the wake of the increasing frequency of mass murders as well as the almost mundane everyday killings in urban areas like Chicago and Detroit. Frank is an ex-pat who has lived in Europe for over 30 years. John has lived in San Diego for over 40 years.
It’s time to get serious on prohibiting gun acquisition or possession by people with a history of mental illness and by high risk groups such as felons, drug addicts or alcoholics. It’s time to get serious on limiting civilian gun sales to one shot at a time pistols and rifles with cartridge or chamber capacities of no more than six bullets. It’s time to get serious on conducting thorough criminal and mental health background checks and having waiting periods for high risk people and first-time buyers seeking gun permits.
Part 1 – The 2nd Amendment Right to Keep and Bear Arms
Unlike Europe, America’s 2nd Amendment has given constitutional support to a culture where the gun is designed, worshiped, and elevated to a sacred, very efficient killing status.
For the remainder of Part 1 go here.
Part 2 – Some Factual Gun Statistics
In almost every measurable statistic whether it be gun ownership, gun homicide rate or total firearm-related deaths including suicides and accidents, the US leads the world in deadly gun violence. Although statistics show that a firearm in the household is more likely to be used on a family member than an intruder, the NRA promotes gun ownership as a means of self-protection and as a crime deterrent.
Britain has a much stricter gun control culture with relatively few guns in households. You couldn´t get a more murder free society than Britain or Japan which has banned practically all guns. In contrast, America has as many firearms as there are people – a situation made irreversibly dangerous knowing that guns have at least a 100-year life cycle.
While the original primary motivation for an armed populace under the 2nd Amendment was to defend against tyrants and invaders, America´s last 60 years of an accelerating gun ownership dynamic –legal and illegal – is now perceived and promoted as an absolute necessity to defend ourselves against outrageous, multiple crime subcultures and misfits. The fact that there are so many guns out there seems to justify the rationale that even more guns are necessary in an ever expanding feedback loop. If it is correct that the size of the national gun collection is directly related and proportional to gun violence levels in the U.S., then, as the total number of guns in the hands of the American people continues to grow, so will the level of gun violence.
For the remainder of Part 2, go here.
Part 3 – Some ‘Why?’ Questions
WHY does America’s weakly regulated gun culture vs. that in Europe correlate to out-of-sight gun homicide rates in the U.S.? One WHY answer is that there are higher levels of U.S. criminality compared to England, Switzerland, Norway, and other EU countries … illustrated by the number of U.S. citizens in prison per 100,000 population of 750 ± vs. 100 ± in the EU! (see European Institute for Crime Prevention & Control, “International Statistics on Crime and Justice,” 2010).
Our sub-cultures of violent and less violent crime justify for many Americans the constitutional argument of self-defense, thus allowing high cartridge capacity, semi-automatic firearms of all sorts to roll off gun manufacturers’ production lines. We are at a crossroads … where it’s not only the high gun ownership level that contributes to high homicide rates but also the high level of crime and military-style killings by the emotionally unbalanced (as occurred in Newtown) that motivate more people to acquire guns for self-defense.
For the remainder of Part 3, go here.