More guns more shootings by Susan Grimsdell
Recently, after yet another mass shooting in the USA, I heard a commentator say that people are “struggling to understand” how these things can happen again and again.
Well, hello, it’s not that hard.
Guns are made to kill
Defining a mass shooting as someone killing at least 4 victims at the same time and location, excluding the perpetrator, there have been 2,128 such events since 2013, about one a day. The rate at which public shootings occur has tripled since 2011. One third of the world’s mass shootings between 1966 and 2012 were in the USA.
I’m the one struggling to understand – not that they happen, but that people are surprised and puzzled when they do. With the USA having the highest per capita ownership of guns in the world – 120 firearms per 100 people (the second country being Yemen with 52 per 100), well, what do you expect. They don’t buy guns so they can polish them up and display them in a cabinet like precious ornaments. They carry them on their person, ready to use whenever the impulse strikes.
There’s very little government regulation or monitoring of gun ownership. Also, weapons like machine guns intended for use in war are commonly found strapped to someone’s back in a shopping centre and this is all perfectly legal.
The culture of individualism, passion to be “free” of any control by anyone else – witness the mass demonstrations against covid restrictions – underlies the proliferation of shooting. Regulations are perceived not as a sensible way to protect everyone, but as a curtailment of individual freedom.
Combine these factors with a desire to be famous and the result is chaos. Many young people state their goal in life as to be a “celebrity”. Trotting over to the local school with a gun you bought at Walmart, and letting fly, is a quick and easy way to achieve that.
Research has found that it’s not mentally ill people who commit these atrocities. They commit only 4% of violent acts in the USA. No, this is your ordinary American bloke with a grudge or an inflated sense of his rights. Perhaps your nice neighbour next door. Don’t people always say – “But he was just a really nice guy”.
Make the connection
Last year was the only year in recent history where there was no mass shooting in a school. Terrific, right? Well, the reason is that the kids were not at school last year.
I think we should all ponder on the puzzlement of Americans who
“can’t understand” why they have so many massacres. The rest of us can understand it no trouble at all.