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Guns and Violence in America 

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Guns and Violence in America 

The debate over gun laws has become an American trope. Victor Jones explores the topic in this article. 

Americans possess an infinite capacity for shock, even in the face of the inevitable. It’s like watching the same movie 100 times yet still being surprised by the ending. For the past several weeks, we’ve all witnessed the violent hellscape of senseless shootings play out across the country time and again, only for someone in each of the stricken communities to utter those now familiar words, “I can’t believe it happened here.”

The only thing that changes each time is the name. Columbine, Virginia Tech, and Sandy Hook have been replaced by Nashville and Louisville, but the aftermath is always the same: candlelight vigils with oceans of flowers surrounding smiling pictures of the victims, deflated balloons, and rain-soaked teddy bears. The real surprise is that we hold out hope the killing will stop.

Every year, over 40,000 Americans lose their lives to gun violence, more than half by suicide. Although mass shootings generate the most sensational headlines, they represent only three percent (647) of the remaining 20,000 fatalities. The day-to-day violence happening in our cities and towns is so ingrained in the culture it doesn’t register to those outside of its immediate orbit.

When tragic events occur like the shootings of Ralph Yarl in Kansas City for ringing the wrong doorbell or Kaylin Gillis in upstate New York for merely turning into the wrong driveway, the responses are as predictable as a metronome. The left calls for stricter gun control measures and more resources for mental health counseling. The right sends thoughts and prayers while gun sales spike after each new tragedy.

Both sides offer unserious solutions and talking points that speak to their respective bases, but no substantive proposals that could make a real difference. It is time to move past wishful thinking and face this epidemic with clear-eyed realism.

With the 2nd Amendment held sacrosanct by a large percentage of the population and razor thin margins in both houses of Congress, there is no chance of any law being passed that would significantly curtail access to guns. Even if there were, history tells us it probably wouldn’t make that much of a difference. The measure most frequently called for lately, the banning of assault rifles, has been tried before to minimal effect. In 1994, President Bill Clinton signed the Violent Crime and Law Enforcement Act into law. According to a 2013 Department of Justice study of the law’s effectiveness in reducing crimes committed with the banned guns, the results were “mixed.

 

Key points include:

  • Resources for mental health
  • The collective crisis of alienation
  • The only nation in the world with more guns than people

 

Read the full article, America’s DNA, on Substack.