It’s nearly impossible to argue these days with Die Zeit, that states that no country comes close to the US with its high percentage of the general population carrying firearms, with more people dying each year from gunshot wounds in America than in any other country of the world, aside from those entangled in some sort of conflict. What’s even worse, statisticians say that those figures keep climbing.
According to the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Americans own 40% of all guns in the world, with the US ranking first on the list of countries with high gun ownership rates with a result of 120.5 guns per one hundred people, with the war-ravaged Yemen taking second place with 52.8 guns per 100 people. The study carried out by this scientific body back in 2017 shows that US citizens own some 393 million guns.
So far this year, there’s been 292 mass shooting incidents, including those provoked by family disputes. Those resulted in a total of 1300 individuals getting wounded, with a percentage of those receiving lethal wounds. According to a nonprofit research group known as the Gun Violence Archive, while the total gun deaths in the US have actually declined over time, mass shootings have become deadlier and more frequent, with some of those having a strong emotional impact on the US population.
Time and time again, in Colorado, Massachusetts, Texas and Ohio regular citizens would visit those horror sites to express their sorrow and grief, to leave flowers, candles, and to pray. For weeks those towns hit by mass shooting incidents would be crawling with journalists. After every mass shooting in the United States, Americans and others around the world are confronted with the question of what lies behind this distinctly American horror.
It’s been said that it’s doesn’t take a rocket scientist to buy a gun in the United States, as they’re everywhere. It’s said it’s good for your protection. It’s believed that it’s an inalienable right to carry a gun. However, it doesn’t guarantee anything, as you can be shot long before you can pull your gun out. Then again, some people are better shots than others, and if your assault rifle is collecting dust in the attic chances are you won’t get to it in time if your home is being raided.
So far, every mass shooting incident in the US would spark discussions, with some claiming that the gunman was a racist, a psycho that hated Latin Americans, or, as Donald Trump would put it, was mentally unsound.
We would most certainly witness new propositions for gun carrying and storage legislation, demands that anyone who wants to own a gun should be subjected to regular medical examinations. Meanwhile, it’s clear that all of those are completely meaningless, as they won’t change the overall situation. Less than a week after the mass shooting incident in El Paso, a company based in California started selling school backpacks that would provide the level of protection comparable to that of a military grade bulletproof vest. The cost of such a bag wouldn’t exceed 375 dollars per bag. There’s models that won’t be penetrated by a full clip shot from an automatic rifle, but those are twice as expensive. Such gun-violence related businesses thrive all across the US, just like small arms manufacturers do.
Analysts would claim time and again that the rapid spread of white supremacy ideology across the US, together with the growing anti-migrant sentiments are the driving force behind the recent mass shooting incidents. It’s been pointed out that the white men who are driving a surge in white supremacist violence in places like El Paso are sending the same message to nonwhite Americans that their counterparts did in the lynching era: You will never be safe wherever you go.
The term lynching evokes images of the dark times in the American history when black men were dangling from trees, while white racists would pose proudly by their charred bodies. Each lynching sent messages to blacks: Do not register to vote. Do not apply for a white man’s job, according to an essay on the Jim Crow era. It’s worth remembering that the white supremacists marching in Charlottesville in 2017 chanted, “You will not replace us,”and “Jews will not replace us.”
It would seem that the medicine for this social illness would be plain and simple: ban all weapons sales on the public market. Those who are supposed to bear firearms, namely military men, policemen and private security officers would be under close supervision. As for everybody else – no guns are allowed, no matter how proud you are of your history. There’s a reason why security agencies are to be found in most any country of the planet, as there’s professionals who are tasked with seeking criminals and shooting them, if they have no better option in the situation at hand.
The direct effect of a comprehensive gun prohibition legislation can be witnessed in Australia, as Canberra adopted a rather harsh set of rules regulating the sale, possession, and use of firearms back in 1996. Ever since, the number of people dying from gun-wounds in Australia has been decreasing steadily, just like the number of people who bear weapons.
It’s been pointed out that adopting a meaningful gun-control legislation after number of horrendous tragedies should not have been a problem for the US legislators. It was hard to ignore the emotional appeal of the shattered parents who’d come to Washington to plead their case. Yet, even in the wake of Sandy Hook, the US Senate voted down two measures to tighten gun-control laws.
The last major gun-control legislation enacted in the US was the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, which included a ban on assault weapons. The prevailing evidence shows that mass-shooting deaths fell during the years when the assault-weapons ban was in place, and then rose after it lapsed.
It goes without saying that nobody is going to ban small weapons sale in the US, as American journalists would point time and again there’s no way to bypass the mighty gun lobby. Aside from super profits they reap from selling weapons, they can use the controversy surrounding mass shooting incidents as a political tool. For instance, all of the MSM sources are convinced that gun manufacturers have nothing to do with the El Paso tragedy, as they prefer to push the blame on Donald Trump that allegedly hates Latin Americans. If the Democrats are to be believed, there would be no such tragedy if Trump wasn’t in office. It’s deliberately omitted that such incidents would occur during the time when Trump’s predecessors were in office, and they were just as lethal and numerous.
It’s clear that no matter who would take the blame for the recent incident, and those that will follow, as long it’s no harder to purchase a gun than to buy a can of coke, those incidents will persist in the US.
Grete Mautner is an independent researcher and journalist from Germany, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”