The Gun Death Capital of the World – United States of America

by on December 17, 2014 · 25 comments

in Civil Rights, Culture, History, World News

Lethal Weapons ChartBy John Lawrence

The US leads the world in deaths from firearms. Countries like Great Britain and Japan, which outlaw guns, have hardly any gun related deaths.

These countries don’t have the “freedom” to own a gun. We Americans are free to own a gun and free to go bankrupt from medical debts. In countries like Britain and Japan they are not free to go bankrupt from medical debt because they have national health care systems which prevent that from happening.

Freedom is relative isn’t it, and open to interpretation. One person’s freedom is another person’s bondage. As Janis Joplin sang, “Freedom’s just another name for nothing left to lose.”

Why are there so many police shootings in the US?

It’s because the police have to assume that everyone they encounter is armed. With gun ownership rates approaching one firearm per individual, it’s literally a game of he who shoots first lives to tell about it.

In Britain even the police are not allowed to carry guns. Therefore, what happened in Ferguson and New York City and elsewhere with a steady drip, drip, drip, everyday monotony doesn’t happen in Britain. The civilians have no guns and the police have no guns. Seems a little silly, doesn’t it, compared to the US where we have a fundamental right to own a gun and so do the police who happen to be in the business of outgunning we the citizens.

In a December 13, 2014 article in Vox entitled “We shouldn’t talk about Ferguson without talking about guns” the point is made that police violence is totally related to the fact that they are facing an armed citizenry and they do it every day as a matter of course. If they want to go home to their wives and families, they need to assume that any guy that even appears to be the least bit uncooperative is carrying a gun and will use it if they don’t use theirs first.

It is literally an arms race between the police on the one hand and the citizens on the other. That’s why a lot of informed and caring black parents have “the talk” with their soon to be teenage sons – not about sex, but about the fact that they need to be absolutely cooperative with the police if ever they should have an encounter with them. The results of not doing so are altogether all too apparent.

The Vox article noted:

A well-armed population leads to police shootings of the unarmed in two ways. One is that police officers have to be constantly vigilant about the possibility that they are facing a gun-wielding suspect. Cleveland police officers shot and killed a 12 year-old boy recently, because they not-entirely-unreasonably thought his toy gun was a real gun.

The other, more relevant to the Michael Brown case, is that when civilians are well-armed, police have to be as well. That turns every encounter into a potentially lethal situation. The officer always has to worry that if he doesn’t reach for and use his own gun, the suspect will. In his grand jury testimony, Wilson pointedly claims that at one point Brown put his right hand “under his shirt into his waistband” — i.e., made a motion that could be plausibly construed as reaching for a gun.

Gun showEven routine traffic stops can be fraught with danger. In one such stop in North County a few years ago, the officer turned his back on the driver, to go back to his vehicle to get something. He was shot in the back and killed because the driver, not stopped for any criminal violation, happened to be a criminal who had a load of illegal contraband which the officer was unaware of. The officer paid with his life for not assuming that this driver was armed.

Violence begets violence. Poverty, unemployment, poor mental health, anger over perceived slights, gang activity – all beget violence. Gun violence pervades American culture.

There is hardly an “adult” action movie or TV show that doesn’t include guns. Criminality is glorified if only by the fact that so much American entertainment is obsessed with it. Video games exploit the thrill of killing your opponents. Sick minds gravitate to this form of entertainment, and there is precious little in the way of an antidote for this cultural degradation and deprivation.

Mental health professionals in schools? That would be nice. Psychological and psychiatric help on demand? Not if your health insurance doesn’t cover it.

When people are pushed to desperate lengths by whatever reality they face, the first thing they think about is wiping out the offending party. Most think twice before taking action, but there are enough that are pushed to the brink by demons both real and imaginary that mass murders are happening with increased frequency and regularity.

What can be done? Clearly, mental illness is a big part of mass murders. But most mass murderers weren’t declared mentally ill until after they had accomplished the mass murder. The perpetrators of gun deaths need to be studied in order to ascertain motives. How many are due to criminal activities? How many are due to domestic violence? How many are suicides? We already know that more gun deaths are due to suicide than to homicide.

This says something about the relationship between access to guns and mental health. The solution is much more access to free mental health providers and less access to guns. As for crime many of the deaths are concentrated in certain areas of poverty among largely unemployed people and gang members. The solution: more employment, recreational programs and social workers for those areas.

The Brady Campaign to End Gun Violence points out that “A gun in the home is 22 times more likely to be used to kill or injure in a domestic homicide, suicide, or unintentional shooting than to be used in self-defense.” So a rational individual, if he or she had any guns in the home and becoming cognizant of this fact, would immediately get rid of them.

This fact was nowhere better exemplified than in the Sandy Hook school shootings. The first thing Adam Lanza did, before he gunned down 20 innocent children and 6 only slightly less innocent adults, was to kill a member of his household, namely, his mother.

If rationality prevailed, which it doesn’t in America, guns would be outlawed like they are in many other civilized countries. But a lot of males seem to think that guns are an inextricable part of their identity. Banning guns would be robbing them of their masculinity. What else would be left?

Gun and flagSmoking has already been discredited. There aren’t many jobs left roping cattle. Sure, you can drive a pick-up around urban streets. You can even wear a cowboy hat and boots in some parts of the country, but the male identitiy is formed around the military and around guns. It’s a rite of passage.

Here in America we have the freedom to shoot guns and the freedom to be shot, but if we’re unlucky enough to be the victim of gun violence, we also have the freedom to go bankrupt when the medical bills arrive from the doctors and hospitals who took heroic measures to save us – of course, never to be really the same ever again.

 

{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Marc Snelling Marc Snelling December 17, 2014 at 1:45 pm

Very succint article. Being a Canadian-American who has spent equal time in each country I see a great many similarities between the countries. Gun culture is one place they differ. Canadians own lots of guns, have police shootings and violence the same as the US (although at much lower levels). Yet our two gun cultures are not the same. More of the firearms in Canada are hunting rifles and shotguns. The US seems to glorify gun shows, hand guns and assault rifles to a much higher level than Canada. I found the difference very shocking after growing up in Canada and then moving to San Diego nearly twenty years ago. My first day in San Diego was February 28th 1997. I remember watching the North Hollywood shootout on live TV where over 2000 rounds were fired. Welcome to America.

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Abraham Collins December 17, 2014 at 8:43 pm

The Constitution is the law of the land. If you don’t like it then please do us all a favor and emigrate elsewhere. You won’t be missed.

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CliffHanger December 17, 2014 at 10:30 pm

a member of a “well regulated militia”, no doubt… the Supreme Court has ruled that your gun “right” is not unlimited.
No, many of us do not like the misinterpretation and abuse of the Second Amendment. And no, we won’t emigrate but we will stay put and look to see it wisely Revoked and Amended some day.

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Abraham Collins December 17, 2014 at 10:34 pm

According to Title 10 of the US Code, Chapter 13, Section 311, yes I am a member of one.

Have fun repealing the second amendment. It will invoke Civil War II and the side that’s scared of guns will lose.

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snow December 18, 2014 at 8:42 am

You must understand what a well regulated militia means. I am a a member of one.

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Abraham Collins December 18, 2014 at 9:53 am

“Well-regulated” was a common 18th century phrase meaning “prepared, trained, able to complete the task at hand.” It does NOT mean government restriction.

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SaneVoice December 18, 2014 at 9:42 am

Pretty full of yourself to speak for “all” of us, aren’t you ?

And since the Constitution is the law of the land, this writer is covered by the First Amendment so go blow your horn somewhere else, Supreme Interpreter.

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Marc Snelling Marc Snelling December 18, 2014 at 12:45 pm

You are missing the point Abraham Collins. It isn’t about bearing arms it’s about what kind of arms. Why can’t I buy a tank, surface to air missiles, or a tactical nuke with my second amendment rights?

The point I was trying to make is Canadians love guns and fought successfully against gun control (a national gun registry) – very much like Americans. The difference is most Canadians own a .22, a 12-gauge or a 30-aught-6. Not AR-15s or Bushmaster XM15s like the North Hollywood shooters used.

I became desensitized to small arms fire living in American cities. Sustained automatic gunfire near my house is still shocking to me. Call me afraid if you want.. Threats of war sound more fearful than criticism of shootings to me.

And for the record I never emigrated anywhere I was a dual-citizen by birth.

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Abraham Collins December 18, 2014 at 1:52 pm

Please explain to me, the difference between a Ruger Mini-30 (a very popular semiautomatic hunting carbine that an assault weapons ban wouldn’t cover) and an AK-47. Please cover the technical aspects of these differences. I look forward to hearing this.

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Marc Snelling Marc Snelling December 18, 2014 at 5:18 pm

Explain to me what ban you are talking about? There was no ban mentioned in this article and what I’m talking about is Canada’s long gun registry. That registry included non-restricted weapons not just s0-called “assault weapons”.

I don’t see what the difference is between a Mini 30 and an AK-47 that makes one a “hunting” weapon and one an “assault” weapon other than marketing. They fire the same ammo, are both capable of rapid rates of fire and you can put a 30-round magazine on either one no? Why don’t you enlighten us if you are the gun expert?

What I’m talking about is gun culture. I have friends and family in the US who own AK-47s and handguns, none in Canada. In the US people talk about needing guns like AR-15s/Mini-30s/AK-47s to defend their homes or prepare for Armageddon, I don’t hear that so much from Canadians. Most people I know in Canada don’t own a gun unless they hunt, and if they have a gun to defend their home it’s a 12-gauge.

Isn’t any fully-auto high-capacity weapon dangerous in a crowd? In the military a fully auto weapon can be used for suppressive fire, but what is it’s use outside of the military.. beyond target practice entertainment? Certainly any skilled hunter does not need that.

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Abraham Collins December 18, 2014 at 6:09 pm

I know a handful of ranchers just east of Yuma, AZ that could utilize suppressive fire against the Sinaloa Cartel which regularly trespasses on their property and threatens their lives.

30 round magazines were useful during the 1992 LA Riots because the number of rioters attempting to pillage Koreatown businesses well exceeded 10 people.

It doesn’t matter what its use is. It is our right as US citizens to own them.

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Marc Snelling Marc Snelling December 18, 2014 at 7:55 pm

Give me a real example of someone who used supressive fire with a Mini-30 for their protection. That is all conjecture. A real incident was Marc Lepine who used a legally obtained Mini 14 to shoot twenty-eight people on the Montreal Ecole Polytechnique campus in 1989. Fourteen of them fatally, all women. He was “fighting feminism” he said.

If it doesn’t matter what it’s use is and it is your right than why not a 75-round drum then? Is it your right to own an M240, an AIM-92 or an M20? Where does it end?

The problem with peace through superior firepower is there is no end to it. They have a bat I need a knife, they have a knife I need a gun, they have a gun I need an automatic rifle. Where does it stop?

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Abraham Collins December 18, 2014 at 10:39 pm

You mean a FIM-92, yes? Those are legal to own in the US as long as you have a destructive device stamp for one. You can also own 75 round drums, an M249 SAW with a 200 round belt of 5.56×45 as well.

What isn’t legal to own are ordinance unless you’re a scientist or a bomb squad tech.

Grenades don’t even have practical use in the hands of any enlisted member of the armed forces. The world would be better off if a treaty was enacted banning the use of all ordinance in every form. It has no effective use on the battlefield and is mostly only seen in the form of improvised explosive devices, which are horrifyingly cruel and unusual.

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Marc Snelling Marc Snelling December 19, 2014 at 7:54 am

Yes a FIM-92. I’m not the gun advocate. My point wasn’t what is currently legal or not, it’s what is the practical civilian use of these weapons, and why is the right to own them so engrained in American culture? Incidents like a nine-year old girl shooting her gun instructor with an Uzi make a lot of people ask that question.

What is a documented use you can point to for these weapons other than mass murders, armed robberies and entertainment at gun ranges? So what if it’s legal, why own a FIM-92? In case the Sinaloa cartel flies into your airspace and you want to bring them down?

What is “your right” can change tomorrow if the laws change so that isn’t a real justification. In States that legalize marijuana it is illegal the day before the law takes effect and is “your right” the next day. That doesn’t change any of it’s effects.

It sounds to me like you draw the civilian/military line at grenades and ordinance, and you are justifying the ownership of these weapons simply because they are currently legal and for protection from perceived threats. Fine, but where does the civilian arms race stop?

You can own a Bushmaster XM-15 in Canada. But why do Canadians who have legal access to many of the same weapons as Americans not own as many? Do they not perceive the same threats? Are they not as entertained at gun ranges? What is different about the two gun cultures? I heard plenty of gunfire in SE San Diego and Barelas when I lived in those places, but never in inner-city areas in Canada.

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Philip December 18, 2014 at 6:33 am

What exactly is the point? It’s like choosing to live in Russia with its much higher homicide rate simply because it’s gun death rate is so low. Why focus on gun deaths? I’ll take it if it means an overall reduced risk of homicide by any means.

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Abraham Collins December 18, 2014 at 9:58 am

Very true. Russia’s homicide rate is 266% higher than the United States’.

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sean M December 18, 2014 at 1:57 pm

Don’t forget mexico and Brazil; they, like russia, have some of the toughest gun laws in the world. The us is hardly the murder capital of the world.

Its also worth mentioning that the us murder rate has been declining, which is an inconvenient truth for gun control advocates.

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Vadi December 18, 2014 at 6:43 am

Damn you REDCOATS!!!! I am Free and I can Guard myself with any weapon you choose. If you ban guns are you going to ban knifes next? or baseball bats? or Hammers?

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myxlpl1c December 18, 2014 at 7:39 am

Gun control relies on half-truths.

The US has a higher ‘gun murder’ rate than anywhere else in the world, but when you look at the whole picture, ‘murder’ rates, the US, though still high, is basically in line with other countries. Look at ALL crime rates, and the UK is triple that of the US. That’s a lot of stabbings in the UK needed for them to catch back up. Just looking at ‘gun murder’ ignores not only most of the stats of other countries, but it also 100% masks any stabbings, beatings, etc. that might be reduced by gun ownership. If you’re only willing to look at a small part of the picture, and weigh the ‘cons’ of guns and never the ‘pros’ to boot, don’t pretend like you’re actually contributing to the conversation.

The UK has gun control, but you can’t show a drop in crime BECAUSE of gun control. ‘Gun murders’ were lower in the UK before gun control. All crime was much lower there before gun control. They put the ‘fix’ in place, and things only got worse. Still better than America, though, so use our failings as a guide to success, Yankees!

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PigStateNews December 18, 2014 at 10:15 am

At least 1,061 people have been killed by U.S. police since January 1, 2014.
At least 1,820 have been killed since May 1, 2013.
https://www.facebook.com/KilledByPolice
http://killedbypolice.net/

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mr.rick December 25, 2014 at 7:32 am

One way to get this gun debate really cooking would be to publish (in real time) the crime scene photos of Sandy Hook. Then all the advocates of an unlimited 2nd amendment could see first hand what a .223 cal. projectile does to the body of a first grader. Until the media gets some back bone, nothing is gonna happen

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Abraham Collins December 25, 2014 at 5:26 pm

Not possible. False flag events don’t have crime scenes.

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Marc Snelling Marc Snelling December 27, 2014 at 9:59 pm

How is Sandy Hook a false flag event?

You never were able to answer my question about the difference in gun cultures. There are plenty of gun owners who don’t own any of these military weapons even though it is “their right”. One on side of my family is a gun owner with four guns, a .22, a 30-aught-6, a semi-auto 12 gauge and a single barrel 20 gauge. Those guns have actually been used for something useful – killing several deer over the years. On the other side is someone who doesn’t hunt, has enough guns to need a large gun safe, and has never used the guns for anything other than recreational shooting. I can’t even name the guns he has past a Taurus .45/410. Another one owns an Ak-47 he bought because he wanted to be grandfathered in beofre the law changed, and a Desert Eagle .50 because “it looks cool”.

How many times are assault weapons and large capacity magazines used in armed robberies and mass murders? The San Diego born Aurora Theatre shooter had a legally aquired Smith & Wesson M&P-15 with a 100-round drum. He killed 12, including a six year old girl, and wounded 70. He also didn’t draw the line at bombs as you did, and had wired his front door with homemade explosives.

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Abraham Collins December 28, 2014 at 2:19 am

I’m not a psychiatrist, bro, but let me give this a shot.

In the United States there exists a mindset of preparedness, an affinity for subsistence living and self-reliance. Canadians are sheepish pacifists and don’t mind relying on the authorities to solve their problems.

When things like the 1992 LA riots, Hurricane Katrina, the gas shortage of the 1970s and Waco happen people’s eyes are opened here in the United States. When the rule of law breaks down entirely the only person you can rely on to defend your life and liberty is yourself and the most effective tool to do so is a select fire assault rifle and a 200 round belt of ammunition.

That’s why the United States has a different gun culture.

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Marc Snelling Marc Snelling December 28, 2014 at 5:47 am

Interesting take. Your points on Canadians are way off though. They have fought alongside the US in every war other than Vietnam and Iraq. They fought the US in the War of 1812 (and Canadians aren’t all speaking American now) The English and French also fought wars within Canada. Some pacifists.

Saying that America the richest most wasteful nation in the world has an affinity for subsistence living is comical to me. Most of Canada is like Alaska and people in Canada’s north are much closer to a subsistence lifestyle than lower 48 Americans.

Who defended themselves with a 200 round belt and assault rifle during Katrina, the LA Riots, or the gas shortage? During hard times like the great depression people were struggling to feed their families not arm them.

The Branch Davidians shared a fear of the apocalypse they thought was imminent they armed themselves using the same justifications you arr giving. Ironic that it was this stockpiling of weapons that brought the ATF to the compound and started the siege in the first place. Self-fulfilling prophecy.

BTW my pacifist self-sufficient ancestors are all American. Descendants of William Penn and the Quakers who provided for themselves wth their farms.

I agree with you about the need for a psychiatrist in connection with gun culture though.

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