What’s the greatest threat to American lives? Terrorism? Global warming? Donald Trump? Actually it’s gun violence, but you get partial credit if you said Trump.
According to a recent study from The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which compared deaths in America involving guns to deaths caused by terrorism from 2001 to 2013, gun violence surpasses well over 406,000 deaths, while terrorism is a mere 3,380, and if you take away the 9/11 attacks – only 350 deaths.
Gun control has always been a hot button topic. Whether you’re for guns or against, it’s obvious there is a problem in our country. I’m well aware the Second Amendment states we have the right to bare arms and that not even the ghosts of our founding fathers could change the minds of millions of people, but it’s time to ban guns.
Once again, a recent string of school shootings, including at Oregon’s Umpqua Community College, has forced us to take a serious look into stronger gun control laws.
While I’m writing this, another shooting has taken place right outside Syracuse’s campus, however, America has done nothing to put an end to this madness.
In 1996, Thomas Hamilton walked into an elementary school in Dunblane, Scotland, and shot and killed sixteen small children and their teacher in the gym before killing himself. He brought two rifles and four handguns to carry out the attack. All six guns were legally owned: Hamilton had fully complied with gun control statutes.
This terrible act prompted the Firearm Act of 1997 – essentially prohibiting the ownership of all firearms in Britain. The most current statistics available show that guns were used to kill 59 people in all of England and Wales in 2011, compared with 77 such homicides that same year in Washington, D.C., alone.
According to data compiled by the United Nations, the United States has four times as many gun-related homicides per capita as do Turkey and Switzerland, which are tied for third. The U.S. gun murder rate is about 20 times the average for all other developed countries. That means that Americans are 20 times as likely to be killed by a gun than is someone from another developed country.
As Americans we always look to blame someone else, but claiming gun deaths only occur because the shooter showed signs of mentally illness is extremely ignorant. Anyone who would feel the need to take a life has an illness.
Yet, we idolize these people. Former Navy Seal Chris Kyle has taken credit for over 160 kills. A statistic that he boldly admires, feeling no regret for the people he’s shot and killed over the years.
Why was Kyle not deemed mentally ill? He’s quoted in his book for calling all Iraqis “Savages” and taking joy in killing. “I’m not lying or exaggerating when I say it was fun, “ he said. These are not actions that should under any circumstances be considered ok and fits the norm for someone who suffers from mental illness.
President Barack Obama has had to deliver over a dozen gun shooting related speeches during his time in office. ““I’ve had to make statements like this too many times… At some point, we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries. It doesn’t happen in other places with this kind of frequency,” said Obama.