A report from a couple of weeks ago that German police fired only 85 bullets in action during the whole of 2011 is still drawing amazed comment from American friends on Twitter.
Officers fired 36 times at people, killing six and injuring 15. This is a slight decline from 2010, when seven people were killed and 17 injured. Ninety-six shots were fired in 2010.
Meanwhile, in the United States, The Atlantic reported that in April, 84 shots were fired at one murder suspect in Harlem, and another 90 at an unarmed man in Los Angeles.
“Our police officers are no thugs in uniform,” Lorenz Caffier, interior minister of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, said at a press conference Tuesday.
People shouldn’t be so amazed at the German figure, rather they should be outraged at American statistics. American gun culture is run amuck. There are an estimated a 106 million handguns, a 105 million rifles, and 83 million shotguns in civilian hands in America ”” the highest rate of civilian gun ownership in the world at around 90 guns per 100 people compared with the runner-up Yemen’s 60 guns per 100. More than 85 Americans die from gunshot every day. In the first seven years of the U.S.-Iraq War, over 4,400 American soldiers were killed. Almost as many civilians are killed with guns in the U.S., however, every seven weeks. Gun rights advocates say that the answer to all these deaths is more guns and less stricture on how they can be bought, carried and used, an exercize in illogicality if ever there was one.
Yet the NRA has somehow won the day. The Democratic Party has no legislation in mind to roll back even the most crassly stupid of gun-rule legislation; no intention to reinstate the ban on assault weaponry or challenge “Stand Your Ground” laws as being too lax or unevenly applied to the point of bigotry. As Cenk Uygur says, “We’ve turned our country into the O.K. Corral…We’re sick with it, sick in the head with guns.”