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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