I have written about guns in America before. I suspect I will be writing about it again soon. Why should Americans be surprised when a mass shooting happens? Why do they even grieve as if it is an unusual shocking event that should not have happened?
I look at them, the families, the friends hugging and I grieve too. I feel sad. But what I feel even more sorry is their own sheer stupidity and their paralysis. Their corrupt political system has now reached the point of no return. It seems to me the only solution now to many is to arm yourself to the teeth in case you walk right into another shootout.
But first step to solving a problem is to identify it: the availability of guns is THE problem. The argument that “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” is just whole lot of bull. They need to deal decisively with the Second Amendment with the political will, creativity and courage. Strangely everyone seems to be able to see the problem and the simple solution – except for the Americans themselves.
Sample some of the sobering, mind boggling statistics. I searched the net and here they are.
- More Americans have died from gunshots in their own country than all wars the country has ever fought in their entire history. So many people die annually from gunfire in the US that the death toll between 1968 and 2011 eclipsed all wars ever fought by the country. According to research by Politifact, there were about 1.4 million firearm deaths in that period, compared with 1.2 million US deaths in every conflict from the War of Independence to Iraq. The war on terror is at home!
- There were more mass shootings than the number of days in 2015. I don’t think Singapore had a single mass shooting in its entire history. Last year, there were 372 mass shootings in the US, killing 475 people and wounding 1,870, according to the Mass Shooting Tracker, which catalogues such incidents. A mass shooting is defined as a single shooting incident which kills or injures four or more people, including the assailant.
- Here’s the troubling one – schools. There were 64 school shootings in 2015, according to a dedicated campaign group set up in the wake of the Sandy Hook elementary school massacre in Connecticut in 2012. Those figures include occasions when a gun was fired but no-one was hurt. You would think you send your kids to school to be educated, not to be shot at. Now they are talking about arming teachers. What kind of society is that?
- All in, some 13,286 people were killed in the US by firearms in 2015, according to the Gun Violence Archive, and 26,819 people were injured [those figures exclude suicide]. Those figures are likely to rise by several hundred, once incidents in the final week of the year are counted. More have been killed than any conflicts by American troops outside the US during a year, whether Afghanistan or Iraq.
One last point. It doesn’t matter what kind of people have been shot at. It doesn’t matter if there are some social injustice somewhere among some communities. It doesn’t matter if there is a conflict between Israel and the Arabs. It doesn’t matter if there is an unjust war in Ukraine or Iraq or Afghanistan. Anyone who goes into a bar and kills 49 innocent people is wrong. Anyone who flies planes into buildings and kills 3,000 innocent people is wrong. Anyone who goes into a crowded market in Pakistan and blows himself up is wrong. No need to intellectualize. We should all condemn the Orlando killings regardless of our race, religion or political affiliation.