Cease Fire!

no-gun2News outlets and our Facebook friends remind us hourly that America’s explosion of gun violence is out of control. Except, by the numbers, it isn’t.

PEW recently summarized the situation: “The increased spotlight on guns does not reflect the overall gun violence trend in the country. Although most Americans think the number of gun crimes has risen, the U.S. gun homicide rate has actually stabilized.” If you aren’t in a drug gang, your chances of being shot are almost nil.

But nobody seems to know that. “The nation’s overall gun death rate has declined 30% since 1993,” but “more than half (56%) of Americans said the number of gun crimes had gone up compared with 20 years ago.” 

Gun deaths are a tragedy for everyone involved. But so are automobile accidents and heart disease. Liberal America is in the grip of a moral panic about firearms. More people are killed every year by hammers and clubs than rifles and shotguns, yet the made-up phrase “assault weapons” is plastered everywhere.

I’m currently on a little island in the Caribbean, St Croix. Gun laws here are very strict; possession of a handgun can get you five years in prison. Yet the murder rate is ten times the American average. Ten times. The problem here isn’t gun control, it’s lack of economic opportunity and a hood mentality – the same root causes of urban gun violence on the mainland.

“It’s the economy, stupid!” This truism from Bill Clinton’s campaign is too often overlooked when trying to understand social problems. By the time a youth wraps his hand around a pistol, the system has already failed him at education, employment and emotional support. For a young person to take a life, what pain must they have already gone through?

One cannot sow poverty to reap peace.

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Jay is Editor In Chief of The Agonist, veteran and technologist.

2 CommentsLeave a comment

  •   With a bit of restraint and careful planning, there are enough of the worldly necessities to support even our admittedly-excessive numbers. It’s just not as profitable as the methods of exploitation and distribution currently in place, so a few get obscenely wealthy, many live in despair and hopelessness. An increasing number of people neither wealthy nor in poverty (yet) are beginning to dimly grasp how fragile their security is – and are scared shitless.

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