Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Dear God

Bob Herbert of the New York Times: [my bold]
This is the American way. Since Sept. 11, 2001, when the country’s attention understandably turned to terrorism, nearly 120,000 Americans have been killed in nonterror homicides, most of them committed with guns. Think about it — 120,000 dead. That’s nearly 25 times the number of Americans killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

For the most part, we pay no attention to this relentless carnage. The idea of doing something meaningful about the insane number of guns in circulation is a nonstarter. So what if eight kids are shot to death every day in America. So what if someone is killed by a gun every 17 minutes.

The goal of the National Rifle Association and a host of so-called conservative lawmakers is to get ever more guns into the hands of ever more people. Texas is one of a number of states considering bills to allow concealed guns on college campuses.

Supporters argue, among other things, that it will enable students and professors to defend themselves against mass murderers, like the deranged gunman who killed 32 people at Virginia Tech two years ago.
And the logical conclusion:
Murderous gunfire claims many more victims than those who are actually felled by the bullets. But all the expressions of horror at the violence and pity for the dead and those who loved them ring hollow in a society that is neither mature nor civilized enough to do anything about it.

8 comments:

Mahakal / מהכאל said...

What percentage of these were due to the drug war?

ellroon said...

Probably a lot, but even so.. if this number applied to a disease or to a defective product, people would be shrieking for protection.

Yet we are silent.

The NRA has won and we will now live miserably in fear, able to kill each other a hundred times over with our private arsenals.

Mahakal / מהכאל said...

"You have locked yourselves in cages of fear and do you now protest that you lack freedom?"

It is always possible to kill or be killed. While I am in no way a member of or interested in defending the NRA, guns are not the cause of violence, just one means among many.

ellroon said...

I hear you, Mahakal, and know that you are right. But guns allow for the impulsive action that would otherwise not result in death.

How many suicides are enabled by guns, where all it really was to be was a cry for help?

How many people have been killed by the very guns they bought for protection?

I know of one kid at our high school who must carry the horror of killing his brother the rest of his life. An adult brought a gun over to the kid's house to show off, the younger brother pretended to shoot his older brother. There was a bullet accidentally left in the chamber. No anger, no planning, just silliness.

Such a waste.

As Eddie Izzard says, the gun helps kill people...

Mahakal / מהכאל said...

I understand but we aren't going to solve the problem with a gun prohibition, though we should have reasonable regulations. We could consider guns like drugs to be a public health concern. Prohibition is a problem in either case because if you don't change the demand you just drive the supply underground.

ellroon said...

I'm not talking about a prohibition. Guns are useful and occasionally necessary. But we ask people to pass a test to drive a car, why not a test to own/use/buy a gun? Or a tax on bullets and bullet making equipment? Reasonable people on both sides of this issue don't consider this an intrusion on their privacy or rights.

Anything to stop the bloodshed without having to pry the guns from cold dead hands or deal with the hysterical NRA nut who keeps an arsenal in his house for the inevitable societal meltdown that never comes.

We should be horrified and angry over these last few massacres we've had and we're not. The silence is even more terrible and an indictment on all of us and what we've accepted as normal.

Mahakal / מהכאל said...

You have to overcome the rights objection, however. That is to say, there is a codified right to keep and bear arms which can be regulated but cannot be denied if we respect the constitution. More emphasis needs to be placed on the well regulated clause.

Given that, there is no reason why we cannot require training or even muster those who choose to bear arms into the militia where they will be taught to defend the nation and given the opportunity to do so when necessary.

ellroon said...

Excellent point.. well regulated. It definitely isn't right now.