Mass Shootings in the USA are not news, it’s a chosen way of life

It’s not often that I write anything that even vaguely touches on an opinion piece but following the news of the latest in the endless stream of mass-shootings, let alone individual shootings then I thought now would be as good a time as any.

I feel so strongly about this and it isn’t even my country. Mass shootings will always occur so long as so many people have guns. To be honest, though I feel terribly sorry for the victims, I’m getting tired of hearing about the less than 1% of cases we do hear about in the U.K. It’s  just not news when a country time and again has the opportunity to change the law and willfully decides not to and so accepts a casualty rate amongst innocent people.

I remember when I was a young boy and John Lennon was murdered.  I asked my mother how it happened and I still remember what she said all these decades later.  That in America lots of people have guns.  There are some bad people there and if they have guns then sometimes they shoot people.  I asked why would people allowed to have guns, if they didn’t have guns then no-one would get hurt?      My mother couldn’t adequately answer the question then just as I can’t believe that the situation has only deteriorated now.

I don’t have a gun. I must admit that if the worst happened then I suppose I could hit someone.  I never have hit anyone in my 42 years but I could hit someone.  Maybe they might get hurt, perhaps even hospitalised for an hour or so.  If I were deranged then I might even stab one or two or five people but it is physically impossible for me to shoot 20 or 50 people. If somehow I turned into Rambo, stole some guns from the Army (which would be hard as I don’t have a gun) and did then shoot people in this country then it would be news. In the USA it is just another form of acceptable death to go along cancer caused by smoking, or road accidents. You can ban all smoking related deaths by banning cigarettes. You can ban all road-related deaths by banning vehicles…. we choose not to as vehicles can be useful so we make laws that save 99.9% lives so we can all travel and go about our lives and accept that in some very sad occasions, innocent people will die so we all can travel quickly.

List of countries by firearm related deaths

List of countries by firearm-related deaths.  Britain where even the police don’t have guns, surprise surprise don’t seem to have people who generally shoot each other.

Guns aren’t useful, their sole purpose is to kill people. If the people of the USA really want to change it or heaven forbid amend their constitution (is that where you get amendments from?!?) then they need to do mass peaceful protests at Congress and stay there for weeks or even months. Everyone needs to go on strike for a few days and things will change very quickly. Having a society where so many have guns and some people actually use them is not news, it’s life. Yes it would take time for a gun ban to make a difference but by the time our grandchildren are our age then it would be very different.

If you wanted to hurry things up a little, the government could use that huge military and systematically, house by house, search every property and remove the firearms. It’s not complicated, it might annoy vested interests but it only needs the will to do it. It’s really really simple actually. If no-one has guns, no-one can use guns and no-one will die from guns. Americans are roughly 50 times more likely to be killed by guns than British.

Don’t worry about the British, we’ve moved on from sending guys with muskets to raid a few farmsteads.  If for some crazy reason we decided to start a war with America, the SAS could kill any crazed gunman from miles away. However, even more unlikely than us British attacking our closest ally, would be to do so just to steal some guys TV or SUV.   Sof if we have changed then the people who look after the American Constitution should too. If the only reason is that people want to defend themselves against the state then let them come in their front yard she see how effective guns are against drones, apache gunships and nukes.

Death rate by firearms

Death-rate by firearms per 100,000 people. 10.54 out of 100,000 are killed by guns in the USA. 3.43 out of every 100,00 people in the USA are murdered by guns. In the UK it is just 0.06. 0.18 of every 100,000 people are unintentionally killed by guns in the USA. In the U.K. absolutely no-one is unintentionally killed by guns.

It might be a surprise but most of us around the world go our whole lives without using a gun, needing a gun or even seeing a gun and we kind of get by perfectly ok.  What’s more most of us don’t get shot.

There seems to be so little if any difference to me between Christian Republican Fundamentalists and the hardest of Iranian or Saudi clerics. Both hate women. Both don’t want abortion. Both are big time into Capital Punishment. Both believe God loves them and few others.  Both think everyone should live by their narrow concepts and beliefs. Both might be corrupt but at least the Iranian government is corrupt by God not selfish capitalism.

On balance though, the Iranians come out much better as they aren’t inherently racist against black people, don’t kill anyone for oil or money and aren’t obsessed by money and profit.   Why worry about half the planet supposedly wanting to kill you (which actually we don’t) and instead worry about the thousands of Americans needlessly killed by Americans.  I’d call that terrorism… maybe the other nations should add Washington to the list of terrorist-sponsoring states who hold their population subjujated to terrible cruelties and backwards ways of living just as was levelled at Iraq, Libya, Russia and many other nations.

To see someone take apart the opposition to gun control in a hilarious way, I really recommend the video below by Australian stand-up comedian Jim Jefferies.

Australian Comedian Jim Jefferies on Gun Control

 

 

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About Stephen Liddell

I am a writer and traveller with a penchant for history and getting off the beaten track. With several books to my name including a #1 seller, I also write environmental, travel and history articles for magazines as well as freelance work. Recently I've appeared on BBC Radio and Bloomberg TV and am waiting on the filming of a ghost story on British TV. I run my own private UK tours company (Ye Olde England Tours) with small, private and totally customisable guided tours run by myself!
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28 Responses to Mass Shootings in the USA are not news, it’s a chosen way of life

  1. bennythomas says:

    America suffers from idealism borrowed from Europe and from not knowing where its true interest lies. Home of the brave they call after having decimated Native Americans with rifles brought from England; Having brought slaves from Africa and killed each other in a civil war they dare not give yet the African Americans equality. Yet they have their Bill of Rights. They equate having a gun as their right but one in eight suffer from mental illness of some sort. So what we see there is their own collective death wish enacted for real by someone with a deranged mind.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I couldn’t agree more Benny. It makes no sense at all to outsiders nor from what I can tell a large minority of Americans.

      Liked by 3 people

      • merrildsmith says:

        It doesn’t make sense to many Americans. It is difficult to get laws passed here, and even more difficult to get an amendment (yes, to our Constitution), which is good in that it prevents hasty action, but it also makes things difficult because it is also often difficult to get support for passage by both House and Senate and then ratification by the states.

        In addition, the NRA lobby is powerful, and many politicians do not want to go against them. I wish the NRA could be outlawed. I don’t see why we need a gun lobby.

        Liked by 3 people

        • Yes, when I look at the American constitution and some of the big talking points there and the situation here, it is really interesting. We still have a Monarchy obviously though one with no power but in other ways don’t even think twice about issues that very much divide America which in some way seems to operate as if it is still 200 years ago. I can’t see why there is a NRA either. A real democracy should put the people first, not powerful and rich lobby groups.

          Liked by 2 people

  2. Diane Tibert says:

    We are allowed guns in Canada, and we sit a 2.22 (from your above graph).

    I agree with responsible gun ownership. You have to jump through a few hoops to own one here, and you can only have it under certain circumstances. They are used for hunting, target practice and protecting livestock from predators.

    We are sparsely populated compared to the UK. We have the same population as the state of California, but a lot more space.

    We are not permitted to carry a loaded gun. Guns must be transported to the sight unloaded and in a secure manner. At home, they must be locked up. It is illegal to own a hand gun or various assault rifles. If the US would remove hand guns and assault rifles from the general population, that would put a dent in their stats. If it’s not for hunting, then it isn’t needed.

    We need guns on the farm for coyote protection. They have moved into Nova Scotia and have grown quite large. Several attacks have been documented, and one poor woman was killed by a pack in the Highlands in Cape Breton.

    But you won’t find guns hanging in the back of our trucks or tucked into our purses while we’re off to buy groceries or to see a film. That’s illegal. Not that we would anyways. Our world doesn’t revolve around guns.

    So while I agree with you that something needs to be done in the US for gun control, taking all guns away isn’t necessary, and in some cases impractical. No one in the city needs a gun, but those of us in rural areas have it for safety against animals. Large animals. Foxes can be chased off with sticks and shovels.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I can entirely understand the Canadian model for gun ownership, it is sensible and makes sense. If you live in a forest or mountains populated by animals that could kill you then responsible people should be able to have guns.

      As you say, people in the city have no use for guns.

      Actually the U.K follows a similar system to Canada though quite a lot stricter. Farmers can have guns to protect their livestock. Hunters can have guns. In fact anyone can apply for a gun licence. You just gave to satisfy the police that you are mentally stable and have some sort of valid reason for having a gun or rifle.

      At the very least guns have to be locked away in a very secure cabinet which can be inspected by the police. In other situations, guns must be stored away from the premise but can be taken out as required.

      I think a lot if it does come down to mentality. Most Canadians and British wouldn’t even want a gun. British police actually resist having guns. As possibly the most urbanised country in the world, it just happens that 99.9% of people here don’t even think of having guns even with all the hoops they’d have to jump through to get one.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Rosemarie says:

    I’m tired of it. Nothing ever gets done. If I didn’t have my kids here, I would “get the hell out of Dodge.”

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Reblogged this on The Secular Jurist and commented:
    “I remember when I was a young boy and John Lennon was murdered. I asked my mother how it happened and I still remember what she said all these decades later. That in America lots of people have guns. There are some bad people there and if they have guns then sometimes they shoot people. I asked why would people allowed to have guns, if they didn’t have guns then no-one would get hurt? My mother couldn’t adequately answer the question then just as I can’t believe that the situation has only deteriorated now.”

    The Secular Jurist recommends this heartfelt editorial as MUST READ. Also, as an American who supports gun control, I’d like to address our friends overseas who see this terrible problem more simply and perhaps more clearly than we, but who might believe it should be easy to correct.

    The ubiquitous ownership and availability of firearms in the U.S. is undoubtedly a huge problem; however, it is one of many huge problems now contributing to escalating incidents of gun violence and mass murder. America today is a very troubled nation. It is so deeply polarized along numerous cultural and societal lines that even the painful internal divisions of our Civil War might pale in comparison. As a consequence, our political system simply cannot function with respect to legislatively solving divisive domestic issues like gun violence. Complicating our political dysfunctions are a detached and delusional establishment preoccupied with maintaining America’s geopolitical hegemony, in addition to extremely well-financed special interests intent (perversely, IMO) upon dismantling the U.S. federal government (which could implement effective gun control measures if it worked properly).

    More concisely, America is a country tearing itself apart from within; and, guns are the weapon of choice because they are everywhere.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Terrifically articulated post.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. smhusain1 says:

    I have no answers here. Even Obama as the President of USA has been unable to change much about gun control. How he came to be president is also a wonder with so many dissenters? I haven’t heard more on this other than he was a Afghan Muslim, born in USA. At a discussion among friends, I supported the idea that with such hatred, a person shouldn’t be living there. But this person was born in USA; must also have visited the ancestral land and seen the devastation wrought. Look at Iraq, Syria and the endless years this has been going on.
    There is no justification for this act but people also go crazy on just hearing the drone in Pakistan’s frontier. It spells death and there is nothing anybody can do.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. smhusain1 says:

    I have never held a rifle in my hand except that of a soldier in 1971 about to be airlifted to the fighting there. The most complex equipment so far has been an air gun for which I had to demonstrate my competency to my school principal in order to borrow it.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. While you do have some good points, changing things here in the USA it’s not as simple as you imply. With our unsecure boarders, even with an all out ban on guns, the criminals will still have guns if they want them.
    Chicago is a good example, they have tough gun laws, yet they have more gun crimes than most other large cities here.
    Also we’re not afraid of another country invading us, rather we’re afraid of our government and its many armed agencies that could be used to put down peaceful protests. While in theory we can change our government, big business is too powerful here and manages to convince us to accept the lessor of two evils every election.
    One day, hopefully soon, things will change and gun ownership won’t be needed, but until then most of us Americans will keep supporting our right to give bears guns… Er, bear arms.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Ah, finally, I was losing hope. Thank you for your comments Colin. A lesson I have practically given up telling Italians, because they simply cannot conceive how it could be true: The number one reason we Americans have guns is to protect us from our own government. Heck, many Americans do not believe that this is the essence of the “well regulated militia” in the Constitution, but it is. Please don’t toy with the numbers, they are nothing if not eloquent. Look at the stats for concealed-carry, open-carry states, gun crime, etc. You must always separate deaths by murder from death by suicide (a suicidal person will find a way, no?) and see that over half of deaths by gun in the US are suicides. Look at the stats for gang-related crime, and where those crimes are mostly committed. There is something perverse about this dialogue, sparked by an Islamic-inspired crime, shifting to the weapon used. Maybe we would prefer to have our terrorist casualties killed by car bomb or pressure cooker or stabbing? The crime is the problem, not the method! And also, an AR-15 is not an assault rifle, it is a semi-automatic rifle, as quick to fire as any semi-automatic hand gun. It is the modern musket. Upwards of 90 million people with their over 300 million weapons killed absolutely nobody last year. Think about that stat! I killed nobody with mine, and I do have a few, but my friend two nights ago took down a masked and armed convenience store robber with his pump shotgun. Didn’t kill him, but it sure stopped the crime from ever happening! These are the statistics that are never widely discussed, and they should be. How many crimes are prevented by firearms! In Italy, people with half a brain are beginning to push for a radical loosening of gun ownership laws for the precise reason that the Forze Dell’Ordine simply cannot magically teleport to be on the other side of the door in a home-invasion or tobacco shop robbery, and with split seconds between yourself and you own death, defense had better be at your OWN fingertips. Again: the statistics on deaths in Italy caused by, ahem, foreigners invading homes, are mind-boggling, as is the death toll. In the US, I have personally blocked two potentially ugly situations from evolving thanks to my guns. My group of friends (made up of a whole bunch of gay men and women, incidentally) love to go out on a weekend and just shoot up our range with every weapon we can get. We don’t shoot animals but we do shoot targets and because of that we are pretty good shots. We feel empowered, oh yes. You want to live in HappyLand and be safely pastured by your (hopefully) elected officials? Many here in America, and increasingly Europe, do not, because “HappyLand” is a hopeful construct at best. And lastly, if the same logic used toward the “gun problem” were applied to other areas of modern life where modern lives are lost, we would have 1)no cars, 2)no sports, 3)no recreational drugs, 4) no salads, E Coli, don’t you know 5) no fertilizer, 6) no propane tanks, 7) no pressure cookers 8) no pools…etc. I do not want to be brought down to the lowest common denominator of “safe at any cost.” Wearing a helmet dawn to dusk. No. And I would not send my children to a gun-free school, no way. I am so pleased that Texas is now an open-carry state because I know that chances are greater that if that rarest of bad people materializes where I am, at least the casualty count can be kept down thanks to people packing heat. Again, just look at the statistics. They don’t lie. You may not like me as well after reading my opinions on this, but the truth is there are a lot of us around who feel this way, and we plan to continue being responsible gun owners. Who would you rather stand next to when someone, (on that rarest of occasions, stats people!) threatens you or your loved ones? (I am not citing sources because I have found that people tend to poo-poo any source that they don’t find themselves. So anyone disagreeing has the same access I do to the interwebs, feel free.) And meanwhile, I will keep my guns, thank you. You certainly don’t have to if you don’t want to. But I reiterate, we should not be talking about guns in response to this horrific terrorist act. Wrong focus.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I definitely wouldn’t not like you for so eloquently stating your opinions and beliefs even though I wholeheartedly disagree with them. I do wonder though why Americans feel the need to protect themselves from their own government. Has there even been an occasion where the government has come for people through either the police, FBI or whomever and then not just been deterred but reversed their decision not to pursue someone. Whilst I respect your ideas about the use of gun for suicide, the difference between guns and salads or pressure cookers is that the primary purpose of guns is to kill people whilst dying from eating salad is not just relatively rare event but a totally different situation to which salads were popularised for. Thanks for commenting even if we respectfully disagree with each other.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Maybe some concentration should be made on coming up with a system of government where the people aren’t afraid of their representatives or unduly worried that they may be too influenced by big business or vested interest. I can definitely see how the media there is very divisive and counter-productive to a harmonious state. I have never met anyone here who would be so worried about the government that they would have weapons, especially as it would be futile in the event of state actions. Bears having guns might be the last straw 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • A system of government that has no ties to corporations would be great, it would also be great to have one without career politicians.
        I can’t help but feel that many of the problems we face today, including violence, terrorism, globe warming/climate change (or whatever term is being used today) and even poverty is for the most part linked to politics. Something does need to change.
        Unfortunately I don’t see anything like that happening anytime soon.

        Thank you for treating my comments with respect, I appreciate that, it isn’t often that opposing views can be amicably exchanged.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I entirely agree with you about the problems today. Violence and indeed terrorism is usually because of wealth inequalities or people being unfairly subject to control or poverty. I try and refuse to buy into these beliefs. I don’t believe that Islam is at war with me, my country or the West. I refuse to be scared by them or ‘foreigners’. I remember when London was being bombed on a weekly basis by the IRA and most people were not scared of Irish nor did we get told we must change our way of life because of them. Because terrorists today have beards and haven’t been successful here for 10 years apparently this must all change!! You might be interested to hear of our Upper House, the House of Lords. Though of course originally not setup this way and is unpopular with many as it is not really democratic…. it is populated by unelected Lords and Ladies. Many of which take their position due to their success out of politics. They are meant to reflect specialisms across the spectrum of life so some are business leaders, some are religious, some are charity workers, engineers, scientists, retired bus drivers etc. The idea now is that the laws now have great input by specialists in whatever area and not by lobby groups or career politicians. So laws on areas like stem cell research can be decided by scientists, people with disabilities, doctors, bishops and it all come to a best-guess educated law rather than have 50% of people being against it on religious grounds and 50% wanting it due to lobbying from medical companies. That’s simplistic but the general idea. Of course many people want the Lords to be democratically elected but its defenders would use this type of argument of why it is so special.

          Liked by 1 person

          • That sounds like a much better system than what most of us have now.
            I’ll have to do some reading on that, it might be interesting to read more about, thanks for bring it to my attention.
            Sorry it took me so long to read your comment.

            Liked by 1 person

  9. dirtdaubber says:

    It is simplistic to think that simply banning guns will solve the issue. Drugs are already banned and are readily available. Criminals are restricted from guns, but they are readily available anyway, just like illegal drugs are readily available, in spite of a decades-old war on drugs. Banning guns handicaps law-abiding citizens only, since those who don’t care about law are not going to follow it, anyway. And it isn’t the law-abiding gun owners we are concerned about in the first place.

    Liked by 1 person

    • If not banning all guns outright from the start then certainly steps could be taken to reduce their availability even if over the longer term. I know what you mean about how law-abiding people aren’t generally the problem but sometimes people can be law-abiding for most of their lives and then hit a bad spot or feel a grievance. With a gun their problem can soon become a problem for others. Thanks for commenting though!

      Liked by 1 person

      • dirtdaubber says:

        Timothy McVeigh used fertilizer. The 9-11 terrorists used box cutters. in the last day or two, a person in China killed 29? using a knife. It isn’t the guns – it is a bigger problem than that, and there isn’t a simplistic answer. France has strict gun laws and that didn’t stop the recent multiple Paris attacks, nor does strict gun control in Chicago, USA result in fewer homicides. I get the knee-jerk reaction to ban guns. It isn’t the answer. Even when they ARE banned, it hasn’t been the answer. Thank you for responding logically and calmly. We HAVE to be able to talk about issues without stooping to name-calling. If we can’t TALK about issues, how can we ever make progress towards solutions?

        Like

  10. Amy Reese says:

    Stephen, so interesting to hear an English perspective. I’d like to write about this in some ways. It sickens me so much. It’s such a polarizing issue here which is why nothing gets done. They had a bill in December after the last mass shooting and it got blocked. It would have at least prohibited people on the Terror Watch List from getting their hands on guns. But, no. We even give them to questionable, possible terrorists. I can’t see any logic in that! I get your point about a chosen way of life, but I don’t want it. I really don’t! I think it will take the will of the people to change it, but that’s a tough one too because half the country owns guns. My husband came pretty close to a mass shooting at his work, a community college. The swat team showed up and, indeed, his car was filled with guns. And now they have guns at my sons’ schools, too, probably, and I had no say in that all. Yes, they do. Where does it end?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Morning Amy, I’m glad you found it interesting. I was as diplomatic as I could be in writing on a foreign country whilst still making most of the points I wanted to. I have never met anyone here who in anyway supports the current gun situation in America… or even the slightest of reforms being blocked. It just seems crazy when you know someone might be at risk of doing bad things to then allow them to have guns. In the overly politically correct environment we’re in, it’s surprising that gunmen don’t sue the government and gun manufacturers in the same way people sue McDonalds because their hot coffee is too hot. I agree with you, only the people can change it and it will have to be a huge mass peaceful movement as was with the Civil Rights in the USA and Votes for Women in the UK. I’m glad your husband is ok but sorry about the guns being at school. I can’t see how having guns at school will be anything but a bad move. A teacher, janitor or student who has a bad day suddenly has a weapon at their disposal. We do have crazy people in the UK too, especially in London and just two weeks ago I had to call 999 for the police when a man on a bridge was yelling how he wants to execute everyone. He did have a bag which could have had a gun but it is likely it was just his lunch or a cricket bat. Whenever I see similar people in the city, I feel sorry for them, sometimes I try and help them but always I am glad that they can’t have guns. It’s such a tough situation in the USA and you’ve had so many bad situations occur which have made no impact on the laws, it is hard to imagine how bad a massacre must be before things change. We’ve had one or two massacres too as did Australia but the laws were immediately changed. Thanks for commenting and I hope things turn out well for your husband this year.

      Like

  11. Ankur Mithal says:

    Couldn’t agree more. I just don’t get how people can argue for possessing guns, unless as an exception in special circumstances.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Ankur. I must admit that when I am in London there are lots of things to worry about. Traffic, overcrowding, noise, maybe even petty crime or terrorism at the back of some peoples minds but I don’t know anyone who even thinks twice about guns or worry about them which is nice.

      Liked by 2 people

  12. Love, love this article for so many reasons. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

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