We’re not a fan of stirring up stuff but with the previous post Newtown, we think we hit a nerve. Fair enough we hit a nerve and by way of acknowledgement, we’ve published the responses as they stand. Not agreeing is perfectly acceptable behaviour in our books as well as vociferously backing up your argument with as many facts as is reasonable. Being able to dish it out, means being able to take it and we accept that as part of genteel discourse.
Now, is America the problem? By our judgement, yes and here come some facts that we left out of the published version for editorial reasons and we’ll take that criticism as given.
Population adjusted per 1,000 citizens, the Seventh United Nations Survey of Crime Trends and Operations of Criminal Justice systems during 1998 to 2000, (the most recent figures readily available) lists Murders with firearms per capita, by country thusly:
#1 South Africa – 0.719782 per 1000 people
#2 Columbia – 0.509801 per 1000 people
#3 Thailand – 0.312092 per 1000 people…
Skipping Zimbabwe, Mexico and Belarus here..
#7 Costa Rica – 0.0313745 per 1000 people
#8 United States – 0.0279271 per 1000 people
#9 Uruguay – 0.0245902 per 1000 people
Skipping a bunch more…
#19 Switzerland – 0.00596718 per 1000 people
#20 Canada – 0.050297 per 1000 people
#21 Germany – 0.00465844 per 1000 people.
Our source is here if you want to look it up and feel free to. We don’t mind being fact-checked. We encourage it.
Some other facts. Number of guns per capita by country, 2007
#1 United States – 88.8 per 100 residents
#2 Serbia – 58.2 per 100 residents
#3 Yemen – 54.8 per 100 residents
#4 Switzerland – 45.7 per 100 residents
#5 Cyprus – 36.4 per 100 residents…
Skipping a few here…
#13 Canada – 30.8 per 100 residents
#14 Austria – 30.4 per 100 residents
#15 Germany – 30.3 per 100 residents
Interesting how Switzerland has the 4th highest number of firearms per 100 people and yet ranks only 19th in Murders with firearms. Switzerland has mandatory military service and citizens who serve are expected to keep their weapons and ammunition at home, ready to go on two hours’ notice, which explains why they have such a high ranking in number of guns, but not their low ranking in the number of murders with firearms. It proves that sensible, secure, trained gun ownership is not the issue.
As for rampant stereotyping, we’ll buy some of the critique, but hear us out. It is no more stereotypical than saying the Swiss are neat and fiscally prudent, Italians passionate, or that all Scottish cuisine is based on a drunken dare at a slaughterhouse. We’ll partially apologize and try to do better going forward.
Exceptions don’t prove the rule and the millions of sensible, safe, concerned and sane gun owners are not all ready to run amok at the slightest provocation. If you’re interpreting our remarks that way, give you head a shake and go read our post again.
Crazies exist, which is why we noted Anders Brevik from Norway, as a crazy, who in possibly the best, most progressive health care system in the world, was not identified beforehand as a loon. Health care can’t do that job, no matter where. If we tripled American mental health spending tomorrow, we still can’t identify individuals who are likely to flip out and kill people. Health care is not the issue.
It was and is American media that stuffed a microphone in the face of the kids who survived the shooting and had the unadulterated gall to ask a child what they felt and heard during the shooting, parental permission or not. This link from twitchy.com lists several of the comments from others regarding the media vultures who have wrapped themselves around this story. Read some of the links and be embarrassed for your country rewarding that kind of corporate media behaviour. Bloodthirsty and sensationalistic are the terms that come to mind.
This doesn’t mean the UK, or Canadian media are any less culpable in our own back yards, or somehow ‘better’: It means the US media as a whole needs to stop and think a moment or two and ask the hard question: Is this the right thing to do, now, or can it wait? We’d love to hear their argument as why they didn’t and we bet it comes down to Freedom of the Press as the reason and a Competitive Marketplace as the excuse.
Using that same logic we expect to soon see Bill O’Reilly violating a giraffe, live, because Piers Morgan molested a mule and pulled a 12 share last night that beat Fox with a measly 4 share with O’Reilly talking to a vending machine about foreign policy. “Dammit Bill, we need that 12 share to make our numbers for the quarter!”
To close the loop, as others have noted, it is the need for a discussion about National US Firearms laws to end the knobby melange of contradictory laws and standards that have mutated across the US, pushed and pulled by lobby groups and think tanks with more disparate agendas that Carter has little pills.
We’ve stood on the firearm platform before. We’ve got no issue with firearm weapons more than 18 inches long, with a mag that holds no more than 8 rounds (or so) and can fire semi-auto. Anything else you want, apply, wait for the background check and probably the firm, but polite ‘no’ from the authorities. We are in favour of extensive, mandatory training of anyone who wants to have a firearm weapon so they can operate them in a prudent, safe and responsible manner. Military re-enactors? Apply, your reason is good enough (to us anyways) assuming you pass the background check and you have passed a firearms safety course. Do expect to be audited once in a while, but not onerously so.
We’ve also promulgated a societal and legal change using something called a “Double Double” meaning. committing a crime with a firearm weapon doubles the sentence. Discharging the firearm doubles it again. No time off for good behaviour or parole. You serve the full sentence. The concept being to discourage the criminal use of firearm weapons as harshly as possible. It will take a generation to get that to sink in, much like it has taken a generation to curtail cigarette smoking, drinking and driving, having a martini to cure morning sickness or using seatbelts in your car. It is time consuming and is not an instant fix.
Which is what all the nattering is really about. Everyone wants an instant fix to prevent a copycat, or another loon from going off and finding the readily available tools, cheap-jack rationale and attendant media coverage to slaughter innocent people. Most have glommed onto “Gun Control” as the Instant Fix, but that’s not the whole story or even half of the fix.
Where the blame lies is in the inability of America to have a peaceable, dignified, sane, learned, fact-based discussion about how they want the citizens of their country to behave with each other. There is too much sensationalism, knee-jerk reactions and political axe-grinding in the media to have anything but sensationalism, knee-jerk reactions and political axe-grinding by their citizens. It has to stop and you have to fix it.
Goddammit, you’re Americans, you know better, you’re smarter than most and you have the will to take back your own media from the cretins. Open a dialogue, in all directions, come to a consensus, make the decisions and get on with life where you aren’t being manipulated every 12 seconds by the circus you call a media telling you what you think and how to react. Ignore the political manipulations from the Right and the Left and make up your own minds.
Get this fixed. You deserve better.