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OpEdNews Op Eds    H1'ed 11/23/21

Why Is the GOP Making America's Job of Creating a Less Deadly Society More Difficult?

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We've already banned fully-automatic weapons, shoulder-fired missiles & sawed-off shotguns, only used to kill humans -- it's not a stretch ban Rittenhouse's AR15 & Russian AK47s to save American lives

Expect the gun control debate in America to really get hot over the next 12 months as Beto O'Rourke runs for governor of Texas. O'Rourke said, when running for president in 2019, "Hell yes, we're going to take your AR-15, your AK-47!"

And it's entirely time for this debate. America has just a bit more than 4 percent of the world's population, but, with more guns than people in our country, we have more than 40 percent of all the guns in civilian hands in the world.

Specifically, as a Swiss-based research group found, there are "approximately 857 million civilian-held firearms in the world's 230 countries and territories" and, as ABC News points out, in America there are "over 393 million firearms in civilian possession" as of 2017. About ten million more have been sold in the US since then: we are the only nation in the world with more guns than people.

When asked recently if Beto O'Rourke stands by his position that, at the very least, we should get weapons of war off our streets like every other developed country in the world has already done, his answer was straightforward.

"Look," he said, "we are a state that has a long, proud tradition of responsible gun ownership. And most of us here in Texas do not want to see our friends, our family members, our neighbors shot up with these weapons of war. So, yes, I still hold this view."

Expect millions to be spent by the gun manufacturers and Beto's Republican opponents on TV ads depicting "jackbooted government thugs" breaking down doors to confiscate guns. (Beto suggested a gun buy-back program like Australia and Canada have done, but since the Supreme Court legalized both political bribery and unaccountable money in elections, all bets are off when it comes to truth in political advertising.)

For every 100 people in America, there are 120 guns. Among developed nations, next highest on the list is Canada, at 34 per 100 people, and all other developed countries are lower down the list than that: South Korea, Taiwan and Japan, for example, all clock in at less than one gun per 100 people.

America not only leads the world in gun ownership but, predictably, we also lead the world in gun deaths. As an exhaustive study of gun deaths in the world's 23 wealthiest countries published in The American Journal of Medicine found:

"US homicide rates were 7.0 times higher than in other high-income countries, driven by a gun homicide rate that was 25.2 times higher. For 15- to 24-year-olds, the gun homicide rate in the United States was 49.0 times higher. Firearm-related suicide rates were 8.0 times higher in the United States... Unintentional firearm deaths were 6.2 times higher in the United States. The overall firearm death rate in the United States from all causes was 10.0 times higher."

Astonishingly, they added, ninety percent of all women killed by firearms in these 23 countries are in the United States, as well as 91 percent of all children killed by firearms. Fully 82 percent of all the human beings living in the world's wealthy countries killed by firearms lived in the USA.

Only ten percent of the wealthy world's firearms deaths occurred in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Scotland combined.

Other countries have gotten their gun violence under control by simply reducing the number of guns in circulation and requiring gun owners to do two of the three things we do across America for car owners: be licensed and register your weapon. I'd add that we should include mandatory liability insurance, like we do for cars: the insurance companies would then sniff out the "high risk" gun owners and refuse to insure them, thus preventing them from owning a gun.

But Beto, at least in this case, is merely asking that we take weapons of war off the streets and out of our homes. We've already banned fully-automatic weapons, shoulder-fired missiles, sawed-off shotguns and a variety of other things typically only used to kill other human beings: it's not a stretch to join the rest of the developed world and ban Rittenhouse's AR15 and Russian AK47s.

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Thom Hartmann Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Thom Hartmann is a Project Censored Award-winning New York Times best-selling author, and host of a nationally syndicated daily progressive talk program on the Air America Radio Network, live noon-3 PM ET. www.thomhartmann.com His most recent books are "The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight," "Unequal Protection: The Rise of Corporate Dominance and the Theft of Human Rights," "We The People," "What Would Jefferson Do?," "Screwed: The Undeclared War Against the Middle (more...)
 

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4 people are discussing this page, with 6 comments  Post Comment


Peter Man

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Why? It's a question meant to distract. If Americans want their society to be peaceful, first they'll have to stop electing criminals to run the country, then they'll have to stop making the weapons of destruction to slaughter and terrorize people in other societies, they'll have to stop sending their children all over the world to do the dirty work of their criminal masters, they'll have to stop funding the criminal atrocities committed in the name of the people of America, and they'll have to severely punish the chief criminals, to proscribe them, inflict on them the pain and suffering they have inflicted on others, and then throw them over the Tarpeian rock. Only then, Americans will be able to enjoy some peace.

Submitted on Tuesday, Nov 23, 2021 at 5:26:14 PM

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The U.S. rates 56th in the crime rate per country, 89th in the murder rate.

Submitted on Tuesday, Nov 23, 2021 at 7:42:46 PM

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Hartmann is discussing a narrative. What do facts have to do with it?

Submitted on Tuesday, Nov 23, 2021 at 9:40:10 PM

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I would never call Hartman a Sawed-off-Shotgun. Although, in hard times, he might use one as a bong. I have no proof, however.

Submitted on Tuesday, Nov 23, 2021 at 10:31:15 PM

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As long as criminals and government retain firearms, free citizens must be armed "Laws that forbid the carrying of arms. . . disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. . . Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man." Jefferson's "Commonplace Book," 1774-1776, quoting from On Crimes and Punishment, by criminologist Cesare Beccaria, 1764 If the representatives of the people betray their constituents, there is then no recourse left but in the exertion of that original right of self-defense which is paramount to all positive forms of government, and which against the usurpations of the national rulers may be exerted with infinitely better prospect of success than against those of the rulers of an individual State. In a single State, if the persons entrusted with supreme power become usurpers, the different parcels, subdivisions, or districts of which it consists, having no distinct government in each, can take no regular measures for defense. The citizens must rush tumultuously to arms, without concert, without system, without resource; except in their courage and despair. -- Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 28 "[The Constitution preserves] the advantage of being armed which Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation...(where) the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms." --James Madison, The Federalist Papers, No. 46 "Certainly one of the chief guarantees of freedom under any government, no matter how popular and respected, is the right of citizens to keep and bear arms ... The right of citizens to bear arms is just one guarantee against arbitrary government, one more safeguard, against the tyranny which now appears remote in America but which historically has proven to be always possible." -- Hubert H. Humphrey Democratic Senator, 22 October 1959

Submitted on Wednesday, Nov 24, 2021 at 9:28:58 AM

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Freedom doesn't mean free from risks including tragic loss of life. But the alternative that utopians want which requires a totalitarian nanny state which would enslave us is not a viable alternative. And the FBI data shows that Semi-Automatic Rifles are one of the least ways homicides occur in the US.

FBI data on homicides

2.9% of all Firearms homicides were by ANY kind of rifle

You are 5 TIMES more likely to be killed by a knife than any kind of rifle

You are more than TWICE as likely to be killed by someone's hands, fists, or feet than any kind of rifle

yurl.com/fbigundata

"The right to bear arms is not granted by the Constitution; neither is it in any manner dependent upon that instrument for its existence. The second amendment means no more than that it shall not be infringed by Congress, and has no other effect than to restrict the powers of the national government." -- The Supreme Court of the United States, in U.S. v. Cruikshank 1876

"Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom in Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops that can be, on any pretense, raised in the United States. A military force, at the command of Congress, can execute no laws, but such as the people perceive to be just and constitutional; for they will possess the power, and jealousy will instantly inspire the inclination, to resist the execution of a law which appears to them unjust and oppressive."

--Noah Webster, An Examination of the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution

(Philadelphia 1787)

Submitted on Wednesday, Nov 24, 2021 at 9:44:21 AM

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