This is a tiny video, but hilarious
Let me start by saying that I’m not against ALL guns. I recognize that some people handle guns safely, don’t use them to harm other people etc. etc. However, in the USA, the problem doesn’t really concern these people. Let me give you some statistics**:
- 80 million people own guns in the US
- In 2005 30,694 gun deaths occurred in the US
- Of this statistic, over 3,000 kids and teens died. That’s over 8 per day, and compares with about 20 (per year) in the UK
- US kids are more at risk from firearms than any other industrialized country
- In 2005, 477,040 victims of violent crimes had been faced with a firearm
- The percentage of homicide victims killed with a gun increases up to age 17, and then declines
- A gun in the home (usually intended for self defence) is 4 times more likely to be involved in an unintentional shooting, 7 times more likely to be used to commit a criminal assault or homicide and 11 times more likely to be used in a suicide
And so it goes on. There’s no doubt that there is an “inalienable” right to own guns, in the minds of most Americans. This is based on the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution, which states, somewhat confusingly, “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed”. Since it’s almost hopeless to argue whether this referred to individuals or the people en masse, all I can say is that the writers of this Amendment could not have envisioned convicted felons and would-be terrorists getting hold of such firearms for harmful purposes. Nor could they have predicted that so many innocent children could be killed by stray gunfire, and gang-related drive-by shootings, as happens all too frequently here on the south side of Chicago.
There needs to be some heavy restrictions, many of which are already in place but not enforced. Although gun control is different in every state, there are some ridiculous loopholes. In Illinois, where it’s actually fairly well controlled, a waiting period (between buying and taking delivery of a firearm) does not apply to non-residents of Illinois who attend legitimate gun shows. Great. Pissed off with your neighbour in Indiana? Just pop over the border while you’re still in a rage with him. In other states, the gun show loophole is even bigger, where unlicensed, private sellers are not currently required to conduct background checks on their customers, nor ask for a Firearms ID. Big problem, leading to guns getting into the hands of criminals and would be terrorists (which has happened).
I could write a book on this. Suffice to say that Americans need to get their collective head out of the sand and acknowledge the correlation between gun ownership and gun deaths.
** All stats come from reliable sources such as the Centre for National Health Statistics, the Department of Justice etc. Trust me.
Let me start with some statistics of my own (I mean ones I looked up, not made up):
- There are 255,748,000 of them registered in the US
- In 2005, 43,510 people were killed by them
- Of those, 14,754 were innocent bystanders
Am I talking about guns? No, the family automobile. The difference is, no one is suggesting that we restrict them or take them away.
My point is, people are killed by lots of things (incidentally, the death toll from blogging stands at two and rising) and guns, being inherently dangerous, get their fair share. But is this any reason to curtail them? I don't believe so, and even if I did, it wouldn't make much difference.
America is a gun nation. Our country was founded, not with words, but guns. Our freedom has been secured, not with words, but with guns. Owning a gun is seen as a basic, American right and anyone trying to change that attitude is looked upon with suspicion (and reminded that the first thing a tyrant does is attempt to disarm his victims).
I owned guns when I lived in the States. My family still owns guns. We were taught to respect them and use them properly as, I would argue, are most people. Certainly there are accidents, certainly there are killings, but removing the guns would not significantly halt this.
In Britain, where guns are outlawed, there are an average of 5 fatal stabbings a week. During the year, it is estimated that 130,00 people are threatened with knives. And that doesn't include the unfortunates who are killed with metal pipes, kicked to death or, my personal favorite, set on fire. You can't even argue that guns promote impulse killings because two recent murders in our town involved an argument, the aggrieved going back to his home to fetch a weapon (in one case a nunchuck, in the other a kitchen knife) and then seeking out the other person and killing him. If a gun had been available, they would have undoubtedly used it, but the results would be the same.
It is unfortunate that a minority of gun owners get all the press when the vast majority are responsible people who promote gun safety. Almost everyone I knew in the States had guns of some type but, as far as I know, not one of them ever tried to shoot anybody. Even those with the sorts of weapons that might be used to successfully invade a small country weren't raving gun maniacs, they simply liked to go down to the local gun range and spend a relaxing hour or two on a Saturday afternoon popping away at targets.
So I think guns are regulated enough, and that gun owners are getting a bad rap, and Americans as a whole are unfairly portrayed as pistol waving lunatics.
And another thing, if you believe…wha- Ow! Umph!
Sorry, I just fell off of my soapbox.
On a lighter note, I did get a real kick out of a Little Britain in America skit that showed a man running a gun safety class and, as he handled each of the weapons, the front of his trousers began pitching a noticeable tent. It was highly amusing and, I figure, just about spot on.
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