Friday, December 21, 2012

Repulsive, Digusting and Unbelievable

Today the National Rifle Association held a press conference to offer their "meaningful" contribution to the national dialogue that has taken place since Sandy Hook.  Their statement was grotesque, disgusting and unbelievable in light of the horrible tragedy that befell Sandy Hook Elementary.  The essence of their response was "Everything else is responsible for this tragedy other than guns and to ensure safety in our schools we should have armed police or volunteers in every school."  For more details on what the NRA said, please see this article on NBCNews.Com -

What an absolutely arrogant and horrible response to the death of those innocents.  When tragedies like this have occurred in other countries there has been meaningful action taken by all to limit the prevalence of guns and ensure that guns are not easily accessible.  Only in the United States do we have such a vocal minority who think that gun ownership is the answer to stopping violence and will do anything in their power to ensure that no limits are ever placed on any kind of gun ownership.

A tragedy similar to Sandy Hook happened in the UK in 1996 when an armed man entered the Dunblane primary school and murdered 16 five and six year old students and one teacher.  In response to this horrific event several laws were enacted that effectively ended the private ownership of hand guns in the UK.  (Please note: The guns that were outlawed were guns that were meant to kill people.  Rifles and shotguns used in hunting were not outlawed.)  This has had a very obvious effect on the overall number of murders in the UK and the number of murders by gun.  In 2008, which is the last year for which I could find statistics, there were a total of 648 murders in the UK of which only 39 were committed by guns.  In the United State for 2009 there were 15,241 total murders of which 9,146 were caused by guns.  Granted the UK only has about 1/5 the population of the United States, so you would expect the numbers to be lower.  However extrapolating the UK murder rates on a population the size of the United States the murder rate would be 3240 of which only 195 would be caused by guns. (Please see this website for background on the analysis

The restriction on gun ownership has had a dramatic impact on the number of murders by guns in the UK.  In most other developed countries in the world, gun ownership is restricted or even outlawed.  Why do we have to be so different?  Why can't organizations like the NRA and many on the right wing realize that the abundance of guns in our society makes it so much easier for tragedies like Sandy Hook to occur?  Without the number of guns in our society it would be difficult for day-to-day arguments or break-ins to escalate to the point of murder.  Madmen like the Sandy Hook killer would find it difficult to acquire weapons in they weren't just laying around in so many homes.  Think too of the impact on suicides if guns weren't readily available.  Without a doubt the number of people who commit suicide based upon impulsive thoughts would certainly diminish.

I can only hope the voice of reason will win out in the coming debate of limiting the proliferation of guns in our society.  And as for the NRA - I hope that somewhere along the line they learned the stupidity of their position and realize how disrespectful what they advocate is to the memories of those who were murdered a week ago.

There is bound to be significant disagreement with my thoughts on this subject and I am will to hear it out.  So bring on your comments and tell me where I am wrong.

Thanks and peace to all! ~J.

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