US Gun Violence: Live by the Sword, Die by the Sword

The USA is stuck in a Perpetuum Mobile of gun violence and mass shootings. After yet another mass school shooting in Florida that ended innocent lives far too early, ripped families apart, and left many traumatized, we have to ask ourselves: where exactly did it go wrong? This is not yet another prompt for gun control or an “all guns are bad” article. This is the sincere question of a human being dumbstruck by the frequent nonsensical violence in supposedly one of the greatest nations on earth.

When news of the mass shooting in Parkland, FL broke, I’m afraid to say I wasn’t shocked. I didn’t take it to Twitter and pleaded for stricter gun regulations, nor did I engage in any other discussions about it. All I did was observe. I observed countless Americans and people around the world doing what they do best. Arguing about theories, arguing about the same simplified slogans all over again while innocent children bled to death far away in a city they never been in, struck down by a person they now were desperate to get to know.

And I’ve seen the same back and forth take place. The same “ban all guns” going against the “don’t take my guns” completely missing the point. A heated discussion about the emotionally charged topic of gun violence where (in most cases) neither site would indulge in any serious reasoning based on facts and acknowledging that no issue on this world is ever simple enough to resolve it with the increasing or decreasing of anything.

Gun Control is not a Magic Bullet

We love simplified slogans. They’re short, easy to comprehend and can be yelled in people’s faces if they don’t agree with you. Here’s the problem with simple slogans, they are hardly ever accurate.

In the heated discussion of gun control, both sides are quick to indulge simplicity in their arguments. Like the famous quote from Executive Vice President Wayne Lapierre after the Sandy Hook Massacre:

“The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”

So the answer is more guns? Hardly. But is it fewer guns? Maybe, but that’s not that easy. More guns do equal more gun violence, so much is clear. But that doesn’t mean that everything gets automatically worse. There are plenty of well-researched articles and statistics that do prove that loosening gun laws in the US has, in fact, increased violent crime or gun violence. It has not increased homicide rates though.

Then again there are many examples of countries with more guns per capita while having a lower murder rate than countries that have fewer guns. What does that tell us? Simply put, more or fewer guns is most likely irrelevant for how many people get murdered, it just changes how they get murdered. Therefore: hooray gun enthusiasts, you may not be right, but the other side isn’t completely on the right track either.

Gun Violence: We still Need Changes in Gun Control

The problem we mostly have is a mental one, quite literally. We still haven’t found an efficient way to weed out and reliably detect individuals that are at risk committing crimes. And even if they are detected, the background checks that are employed are hardly perfect and easy to circumvent. Then there is the NRA that has been worsening the situation by senseless lobbying in advocacy of guns and ammunition that are not in the best interest of anyone.

We don’t need armor piercing bullets, we don’t need AR-15. While murder rates, in general, may not change with gun regulation, the kind of murder does change. The existence of automatic weaponry does increase the likelihood of mass shootings because it accommodates them. There is no point in denying that it is an object designed to shell out as many deadly projectiles as it possibly can to efficiently kill multiple targets in short succession.

Gun Advocacy, Mental Health, and Common Sense

There is no one-of-a-kind solution, it is a multifaceted approach that has to be taken. Mental health diagnosis, treatment, and enforcement have to be greatly improved in conjunction with better gun control as in background checks and regulations that work nation-wide, as well as a good hard look at the arsenal we are actually defending for private usage.

The USA has always lived by the gun, it now bleeds internally and will eventually kill off more and more of its innocent population with it if the right steps are not taken quickly. Otherwise, at the rate we are going right now, I’m sure we will be able to republish this article monthly at least once without it getting irrelevant anytime soon. This is not a pro-gun or anti-gun issue, it’s an issue of domestic safety and common sense, one that should not be interfered by misguided emotions or a far too mighty gun lobby dictating politics by the dollar.

About Andreas Salmen

Born and raised in Germany, learned a job in IT and Business and ultimately decided that this wasn't exactly where my life was going to end. Left everything behind to become a writing backpacker instead. The world's crumbling away anyway so why not write about it and get a few good Instagram pics on the way, am I right?

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