I realize that incendiary comments such as this statement will produce a strong, negative reaction in most people in the US, but hear me out. This isn't about extolling one group of people for being excessively violent and embracing said violence nor is it about sarcastically chiding them for such behaviour. It's about acknowledging a reality that both gun-lovers and peaceniks have been avoiding for a long time: America has had a violent streak as long as its history and that streak is not going anywhere anytime soon.
To be sure, the America I speak of is the one brought over by the Europeans in the 16th and 17th centuries, especially the one that produced our Puritan ancestors, the need for an American Revolution and the inevitable Civil War. It is worth noting that of all the wars the US has fought, both officially and "off the books," the internal one we fought amongst ourselves was by far the deadliest with around half a million dead soldiers.
As of Memorial Day 2021, there have been 237 mass murders in the first 150 days, or nearly 1.6 per day, according to gunviolencearchive.org. That's nearly twice daily of an event where at least four people are shot and/or killed, not including the shooter. There have been nearly 18,000 gun deaths in that same time period. And this has been during the worst pandemic in over 100 years that has brought many of our daily activities to a standstill. Many activities are at a standstill, but not gun violence!
There are about 400 million privately-owned guns in the US, which has a population of around 330 million. That's 1.2 guns for every man, woman, child, baby and newborn. No one else comes close. Second place is a country that has just over one paltry gun for every two citizens, Yemen, a country that has been at war for over ten years.
The reasons for panic-buying guns exist in the US like nowhere else. In December 1993, for example, Attorney General Janet Reno was accused of saying on Good Morning America that "The prohibition of private firearms is the goal." She never said it. No one really cared. The news spread like wildfire the following few months and people bought guns more than ever. Every year or so a similar lie is repeated and gun sales rise accordingly. "They're coming for your guns," is the oft-used refrain with the "they" changing each time and the results staying the same, a new record of gun sales. It could be Obama one year, Bush another, and most assuredly Biden, Harris and Attorney General Merrick Garland will soon be added to the list.
After nearly every nationally televised mass murder, it seems that gun sales skyrocket. The International Business Times asked about that same phenomenon in 2017, "Why do Gun Sales In the US Spike After Mass Shootings?" Their conclusion, "the fear that the event will prompt gun control legislation that will make it more difficult to purchase weapons in the future... [an] elevated feeling of insecurity... [or] just to make an identity statement about one's values." These are not motives shared anywhere else in the world.
The Pew Research Organization published a study in 2019 that showed the US far and away the most gun-violent industrialized country on the planet. Compared to others, "The U.S. gun death rate [by guns] was 10.6 per 100,000 people in 2016... That was far higher than in countries such as Canada (2.1 per 100,000) and Australia (1.0), as well as European nations such as France (2.7), Germany (0.9) and Spain (0.6)."
According to Statista, along with the increase of guns purchased and owned in the US, deaths from gun violence have risen steadily between 1999 and 2017, from 28,874 to 39,773. At the same time, there has been a steady decrease in crime since 1993. All the while, gun advocates claim that more guns reduce gun deaths.
The common thread to all the above is obvious. There are more guns in America than ever before and there is more gun violence than ever before. It isn't even necessary for gun-control advocates to breathe; the progun crowd has been on autopilot for decades and will fabricate their own fantasies to justify even more purchases of guns to assuage their ever-growing fear of the fictional government bogeyman arriving at their doorstep to request the removal of their beloved firearm warehouse.
Throughout its history the US has loved wars, military armament and all things related. Our love for the "freedom" of being able to take someone else's life and not suffer criminal consequences has grown over the years as well; just look at all the conceal-carry and "stand your ground" laws enacted across the country in recent years. Americans yearn for a secretly armed citizenry with the right to shoot anyone, anywhere at any time all the while claiming "I was standing my ground" in order to avoid even a slap on the wrist by the police.
The sooner we accept and embrace that desire, on both sides, the sooner we can start looking for ways to allow all of society to function within this bizarre world of excess violence and hopefully allow those who just want to go to the store without the fear of being gunned down to do so. I don't know what the solutions are, but the first step is always recognition of the fact that the problem exists and believe me, in the US it exists in spades.