Gun violence is rampant in the U.S. and gun control is an extremely controversial and sensitive issue that divides this country. The debate on gun control goes to extreme to defend both positions of pro andcon. One circular argument is that gun violence is just one type of violence; even with no gun available, there will be still violence. Then we should ask whether violence is human nature or a cultural issue particular to the Americans? Another argument is that guns have many other functions including defense for violence and enemies. Taking away the right of bearing arms is stripping people's right for defense. Under this argument, one must address why there is violence and why law enforcement is not enough to prevent violence. Today, with what is happening in gun violence in the U.S., frequent mass murder with guns, compels us to face the issue of gun violence. In particular, we must ask the question why can't the U.S. government stop gun violence? Let's first review some facts about gun violence especially the recent events then dwell on the above question.
First, we should honestly include all gun killings even including individual homicide and suicide into consideration of the so-called gun violence, not just limiting to mass murder (defined as killing 4 people or more) that have grabbed the headlines of news reporting recently. In the U.S., the mass murders have occurred so frequently this year, it has caught international attention. On average there are one hundred death in U.S. per day due to homicide and suicide involving a gun as the weapon, that is 36,500 deaths per year. Is this number insignificant? In comparison, as of July 19, 2021, according to the U.S. Department of Defense casualty website, there were 4,431 total deaths (including both killed in action and non-hostile) and 31,994 wounded in action (WIA) as a result of the Iraq War. American citizens care so much about lost lives for example in Iraq war, why shouldn't they worry about gun violence causing ten times more deaths? On June 3rd, 2022, New York Times has tallied eighteen sensational mass murder cases (killing four or more) caused by gun violence this year (up to June 1st, less than six months) in its morning newsletter. To raise our conscience, we shall briefly review that horrific list below, but sparing the 60 shootings not labeled as mass murder (killing three people or less) in our limited space here.
There were four cases in January, two in February, three in March, four in April, four in May and one on June 1st:
January 19, a man worked for gun violence reduction program was killed in Baltimore, Maryland with two other people dead and one injured.
January 23rd, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, five men and one woman were found dead in a home, a specific targeted murder.
January 23rd, in Inglewood, California, four people (two sisters) killed and one injured by gang related gun violence.
January 28th, in Saint Louis, Missouri, three killed and one wounded.
February 5, Corsicana and Frost, Texas, forty-one-year old man shot his mom, stepfather, his sons and son of his ex-girlfriend and himself.
February 28, Sacramento, California, man shot three daughters, a chaperon and himself in church.
March 12, Northwest Baltimore, Maryland, three men killed and one wounded in a car.
March 19, Fayetteville, N. Carolina, three killed and three wounded in a hotel parking lot, possibly related to motorcycle gang.
March 19, Norfolk, Virginia, three young bystanders including a female reporter were killed outside of a bar.
April 3, Sacramento, California, gang shooting, five shooters fired 100 rounds killing three men, three women and wounded 12.
April 20, Duluth, Minnesota, 29-year old man killed aunt, uncle, two young cousins, and a dog in their sleep then killed himself.
April 21, Mountain view, Arkansas, man killed his parents, woman and his son in two homes half mile apart.
April 27, Bioloxi, Mississippi, thirty-two-year old man killed owner and two employees of a hotel and shot 4th person in a convenient store of a neighboring town.
May 8th, Clarkson, Georgia, three shot dead and three wounded in a condo complex.
May 14, Buffalo, NY, eighteen-year old white man killed ten and wounded three in a supermarket.
May 24, Uvalde, Texas, killed nineteen students and two teachers at Robb elementary school.
May 27, Stanwood, Michigan, fifty-one year old man killed his wife and three young children in home and shot himself resulting in critical condition.
June 1st, Tulsa, Oklahoma, gunman killed back surgeon, another physician, a receptionist and a visitor then killed himself in a medical facility with two guns, one AR-15 rifle he purchased that afternoon.
The above list is so horrifying that fear and anger have arisen in people, parents and educators, with demand of government action. Of course, we always hear politicians speaking up. President Biden first said, “For God's sake how much more carnage are we willing to accept? House is acting on advanced gun registration and ban on sale of semi-automatic rifles. New York state pledged to work on gun safety bills. Senate voiced that any gun control bill will not be considered anytime soon. Most frustrating news is that public opinion survey is indicating that people may not want gun control as much as they say they do. Are these honest citizens opinions or public relation efforts from gun industry to shape the public opinions? Gun violence and gun control have been the U.S. domestic issue for ages, but somehow, they are like weather storms come and go, the government (Administration and legislation) never can or want to do something serious about them. The issues will be debated and deflected prior to each election season. The pro-gun lobby can always outspend the gun violence protesters. It is so obvious that the gun industry has a very effective lobbying machine and they have most of the politicians in their pockets wrapped by their campaign donations.
The U.S. domestic 'gun control' issue is subject to the same evil lobbying force like the U.S. 'national security' issue (foreign policy – 'targeting enemy' strategy), except the following distinction: On the domestic gun control issue, the weapon industry always downplay the gun violence with all its PR effort to focus on freedom of bearing arms, whereas on the national security issue, the weapon industry (military industrial complex) always hype up the 'enemy threat' to the U.S. again with all its PR effort to highlight any military incidence as a national threat – hence the U.S. must keep a large defense budget and weapon development funds. In the end, the U.S. is the largest weapon exporter, most advanced weapon developer, more advanced fire-arms available to U.S. citizens and more gun violence in the U.S. and wars in the world. Why the U.S. government can't stop gun violence? The U.S. government is like a drug user addicted to heroin (the money that feeds our government, election and democracy). The buffalo massacre will pass, the Uvalde mass murder case will also pass, the best we can hope for is a small bandage that may stop the bleeding until next killing and wound occur. The non-stop escalation of arms race and weapon development will sure lead to ominous ending for both U.S. national security (world destruction) and U.S. domestic gun violence (social breakdown)! To the title question, the author pleads with Americans to think rationally!