Only in America could such an illogical statement take on national acceptance and become a rallying cry of tens of millions of otherwise sane adults. The absurd idea that guns don’t kill living organisms is obvious to one and all, yet for over two decades Americans have been pretending that guns are nothing more than inanimate objects incapable of harm. The fact that it is the weapon of choice by every single army in the entire world is never discussed, however.
This premise presupposes that the instrument used in gun violence is inconsequential to the violent act itself. In other words, if the perpetrator did not have access to a gun, he would have just used another weapon to perform the same act. The fact that a gun was used in the crime was merely coincidental. Certainly, one can readily see that other violence is done without the use of guns.
But this argument breaks down almost immediately when one starts comparing data across specific areas of violence. In nearly every multiple murder, firearms were the primary and only weapon used. It should be obvious to all that murders of upwards of 3 victims at a time would be almost impossible to perform with any other commonly used weapon. For a person to stab to death 5 or more people over the course of one attack is completely absurd and in fact there is no such incident has ever been reported in modern times. Likewise, all incidents involving snipers, can only occur using high-powered rifles. Drive-by shootings could never occur without guns.
In fact, there is no data anywhere to suggest that a reduction in gun violence has also resulted in a corresponding increase in violence using alternative methods. Just saying that it must be so with absolutely no data anywhere to even remotely suggest it is disingenuous. This theory is never put to the test, and no one ever asks for comparable data to demonstrate its logic.
With over 30,000 people gunned down every year, the US is one of the most violent and deadly nations on Earth rivaling those countries at war or fighting major terrorist groups. The National Education Association Health Information Network says:
* Every day, more than 80 Americans die from gun violence. (Coalition to Stop Gun Violence)
* The rate of firearm deaths among kids under age 15 is almost 12 times higher in the United States than in 25 other industrialized countries combined. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
* American children are 11 times more likely to commit suicide with a gun, and nine times more likely to die from a firearm accident than children in 25 other industrialized countries combined. (Centers for Disease Control)
Guns kill. That’s their role. Outside of gun training, they are used in social situations where violent and immediate death becomes an important issue. Brandishing a firearm does not mean that a murder must happen; it means that the threat of murder is brought to the fore. It means that the likelihood of murder has been elevated tremendously and must now be taken into consideration in all subsequent possible outcomes. Firearms are the ultimate trump card and should be used only in extreme cases. It is unfortunate that these cases appear so prevalent in the US. Their usage in other industrialized nations is far less and only demonstrates how the US has become a gun culture.
But to try to minimize the utility of firearms is completely ludicrous. They have but one usage. The entire human race knows this. There is not one major group anywhere that would not be profoundly affected by the emergence of a firearm in any situation. A firearm immediately swings the balance of power in the direction of the one brandishing the weapon. The American lack of respect for its deadly consequences can be seen as far back as WWI. The well-known British refrain deals with this very aspect. After the Yanks arrived in 1917, near the end of the war, a brand new paradigm shifted in favor of the allies. But not all was rosy in the camp of the Brits, as can be seen by their less-than-jovial recollection of those days, “When the Germans fire, the British duck; when the British fire, the Germans duck; when the Yanks fire, everybody ducks.”
The other odd defense of the statement, “guns don’t kill people,” is the notion that the American gun culture is really rather complex and cannot be adequately reviewed on a one or two idea basis alone. Only when taken as a whole is the concept properly understood. Yet this is just as disingenuous. It’s like telling Einstein that he can’t possibly discuss the idea of the curvature of space by simply looking at one point of the path of light in space and suggesting that its trajectory is somehow bent at that point. He needs to see the light in its entire path, which is obviously straight. What seemed obvious to all, light moves only in a straight line, needed a genius and a solar eclipse to be proven wrong. Likewise, it will take the uncovering and exposure of its parts for Americans to see that its gun culture is not a complex jumble of socioeconomic paradigm shifts over centuries of slow evolution, but a small series of illogical conclusions over the past 60 years based on bad analogies and false ideas; ideas like, “guns don’t kill people.”
Each aspect of the American gun culture is important and critical in the overall understanding of the depth and profound seriousness with which it has taken hold. Every aspect has to be held accountable for its addition to the overall result. The US is like a country at war. It’s not the fault of the Japanese, the Germans, the Russians, or the Mexicans. It’s the fault of the Americans and only the Americans. And only the Americans can solve it.
The fact is guns do kill. It took Europe nearly a millennium to arrive at that conclusion, but they finally did. Building better weapons to kill faster finally became a folly worth letting go of. It used to be that one sure way of becoming rich was to invent a way for Europeans to kill each other faster, but that concept has gone the way of the dinosaur. Europe no longer searches to invade other borders, rule neighbors and kill foreigners. Their rate of violence has dropped dramatically in the last 70 years.
At the same time, American violence has skyrocketed. During the Great Depression, Americans lived relatively crime-free lives. The concept of helping one’s neighbor was paramount. The concept of stealing and shooting was almost as foreign as Latin and Greek. Those times of limited crime are all but forgotten. Americans point to a small dip in overall violence in the past few years and claim major victories in their “war on crime.” But they refuse to notice that it’s still a war.
Guns kill. American guns kill. Americans using guns kill others, usually other Americans. There is nothing pretentious about this statement. There is nothing incomplete about this statement. When Einstein realized that light can be bent around another object due to the massive weight of that object, he didn’t try to fold it into the overall trajectory of the light stating that, “Well, the light will almost always go in a straight line, and occasionally may get a little bent.” Likewise, Americans shouldn’t fold the fact that guns kill into the overall concept that we all are allowed guns anyway and even if they kill from time to time, their overall use is for the good of everyone. Guns kill, and the sooner Americans accept that concept, the sooner they can start looking at applying the necessary safeguards into their society to protect ALL people from the misuse of guns, especially when that misuse happens every 13 seconds.