America yet again finds itself stunned by another totally preventable mass shooting. Seventeen are dead, many young high school students with their entire lives ahead of them, and we find Republicans who continue to block any common sense gun control legislation giving out the same bullshit responses of "condolences and prayers" to the victims. One student
at who survived the carnage at Marjory
Stoneman Douglas High School
in Parkland, Florida,
summed things up well when she tweeted the following to Donald Trump:
don’t want your condolences you fucking price of shit, my friends and teachers
were shot. Multiple of my fellow classmates are dead. Do something instead of
sending prayers. Prayers won’t fix this. But Gun control will prevent it from
The student is 100% correct in her assessment. However, while directed to Trump, the message could apply to almost every Republican at the state and federal level who continues to be the willing political whore of the NRA and the gun manufacturers for which it is a front organization. Here in Virginia, Republicans in the General Assembly killed a measure which would have banned bump stocks such as those use to deadly effect in the Las Vegas mass shooting. No ordinary citizen needs an automatic rifle, the weapon of choice among mass shooters. A piece in Vox
looks at the ridiculous number of guns in America:
The US makes up about 4.4 percent of the global
population but possesses 42 percent of the world’s civilian-owned guns. And the empirical research shows
that places with more guns have more homicides.
Criminal justice experts widely
recognize that America’s unusually high levels of gun violence are a result of
cultural and policy decisions that have made firearms far more available in
America than in most of the world. For the US, that means not just more mass
shootings, but more gun violence in general.
A piece in the New York Times
continues the analysis and provides in part as follows:
Why, they ask, does it [America] experience so many mass shootings?
Perhaps, some speculate, it is because American society is
unusually violent. Or its racial divisions have frayed the bonds of society. Or
its citizens lack proper mental care under a health care system that draws
frequent derision abroad.
These explanations share one thing in common: Though
seemingly sensible, all have been debunked by research on shootings elsewhere
in the world. Instead, an ever-growing body of research consistently reaches
the same conclusion.
only variable that can explain the high rate of mass shootings in America is
its astronomical number of guns. The top-line numbers suggest a correlation that, on further
investigation, grows only clearer. Americans make up about 4.4 percent of the global
population but own 42 percent of the world’s guns. From 1966 to 2012, 31
percent of the gunmen in mass shootings worldwide were American, according to a
2015 study by Adam Lankford, a professor
at the University of Alabama.
Adjusted for population, only Yemen has a higher rate of
mass shootings among countries with more than 10 million people — a distinction
Mr. Lankford urged to avoid outliers. Yemen has the world’s second-highest rate
of gun ownership after the United States.
Mr. Lankford found, a country’s rate of gun ownership correlated with the odds
it would experience a mass shooting. This relationship held even when he
excluded the United States, indicating that it could not be explained by some
other factor particular to his home country. And it held when he controlled for
homicide rates, suggesting that mass shootings were better explained by a
society’s access to guns than by its baseline level of violence. A 2015 study estimated that only 4 percent of American
gun deaths could be attributed to mental health issues. And Mr. Lankford, in an
email, said countries with high suicide rates tended to have low rates of mass
shootings — the opposite of what you would expect if mental health problems
correlated with mass shootings.
Whether a population plays more or fewer video games also
appears to have no impact.
Americans are no more likely to play video games than people in any other
Racial diversity or other factors associated with social
cohesion also show little correlation with gun deaths. Among European
countries, there is little association between immigration or other diversity
metrics and the rates of gun murders or mass shootings.
gun homicide rate was 33 per million people in 2009, far exceeding the average
among developed countries. In Canada and Britain, it was 5 per million and 0.7
per million, respectively, which also corresponds with differences in gun
ownership.A New Yorker is just as likely to be robbed as a Londoner,
for instance, but the New Yorker is 54 times more likely to be killed in the
process. They concluded that the
discrepancy, like so many other anomalies of American violence, came down to
[G]un control legislation tends to reduce gun murders,
according to a recent analysis
of 130 studies from 10 countries. This
suggests that the guns themselves cause the violence.. . . So while mass
shootings can happen anywhere, they are only a matter of routine in the United
In 2013, American gun-related deaths included 21,175
suicides, 11,208 homicides and 505 deaths caused by an accidental discharge.
That same year in Japan, a country with one-third America’s population, guns
were involved in only 13 deaths.
After Britain had a mass shooting in 1987, the country
instituted strict gun control laws. So did Australia after a 1996 shooting. But
the United States has repeatedly faced the same calculus and determined that
relatively unregulated gun ownership is worth the cost to society.
That choice, more than any statistic or regulation, is what
most sets the United States apart.
In short, we know how to greatly reduce these tragedies. When will a majority of Americans say "enough!" and vote pro-gun politicians and the political whores of the NRA out of office? Until that happens and strict gun control is enacted, expect the blood to continue to flow in our schools and other public places.