Even in a county of 300 million, the United States has enough arms to provide a firearm to every man, woman, and child in the country. What could possibly go wrong?
A lot. Homicides, at nearly 30 per million people, is about fifteen times the rate in Germany. In 2013, slightly more than 33,000 died from firearms. That works out to 90 people per day. Guns do not discriminate, and so to tell me that the Orlando shooting is homophobic, or inspired by Islam, misses the mark. Through that lens, how can you explain Dylan Roof’s motivation to kill African Americans at a historic church? There can be only one motive, and that is hate. Military-style assault weapons become the vehicle.
It seems like shootings could happen anywhere, anytime and at this point in our country’s history, they do. So it is not without irony that guns, omnipresent in society, perpetuate so much fear that we need to buy a gun to defend ourselves. The NRA makes sure of that; simply go to their website and watch the videos that make unarmed citizens sound like sheep going to the slaughter.
The gun industry profits mightily. In October 2015 CNN reported, “Popular gun companies Smith & Wesson (SWHC) and Sturm Ruger (RGR) are among the best stocks in America in 2015. It’s a reminder of just how profitable these businesses are. Smith & Wesson has skyrocketed over 80% this year.” So is it the NRA protecting the 2nd amendment, or is the NRA simply protecting – and maximizing – gun industry profits. Why does the NRA get its lackeys in congress to ban government-funded research on gun violence? Why restrict anybody from buying a gun so long as there is money flowing into the industry’s coffers?
Sadly, the NRA, the gun industry get lawmakers to place profits over public safety and public health. How else to explain a country that allows people on the “Do Not Fly List” access to firearms?
Sensible gun control measures need to happen, and happen now. Only then can we replace the paranoia, the fear that we might get shot anytime, anywhere with something far better: not now, not ever.