Ingrained in American culture
The 2nd Amendment created in 1791 to protect an individuals right to keep and bear arms is still strong and thriving today. In spite of the growing number of gun related deaths, the majority of Americans are still in favor of protecting this amendment. Americans are being manipulated by organizations such as The National Rifle Association(NRA), who has put forth media campaigns through their NRATV website and You Tube, in addition to funding political campaigns to gain support in Washington. That said, even with the support in Washington, the power and influence of the NRA does not come from the multi-millions they pour into political campaigns. It would be easy to attribute their power to money, but the true power comes from the voters. Organizations such as the NRA are powerful because the public allows it, and is easily swayed by media. The focus is on protecting the 2nd Amendment rights, instead of focusing on creating a safer environment now, and for future generations. I believe this is because most Americans directly associate their freedom with gun rights, so full of the pride associated with their “rights”, they have become blinded by the impact this has. Thus creating a culture where mass shootings are the norm. Where it is normal for schools to have mass shooting drills, and where states are creating laws that allow teachers to carry guns to school for protection.
Freedom or fallacy.
America is the home of the free, right? Is it truly freedom or the illusion of freedom? The idea of freedom is ingrained in American culture, like a religion and much like religion it goes unquestioned. I would be willing to bet, if you asked most Americans what it means to be a “free country” it would be a hard question for them to answer. Comparatively in many ways there are more laws and regulations in the US than other countries, and are far less liberal. What Americans have chosen to cling to, is their right to bear arms, and thus associated this directly with the concept that America is a free country. The reality is, look at all our amendments, and you will see where most of them are not exercised as they should be, Americans are not as free as their amendments would lead them to believe. And with this freedom, this right to bear arms, America is also the home to the most mass shootings in the world. Americans have such a close correlation with guns and freedom that they blindly fight to retain this right and are missing the reality that thousands are dying each year as a result of this so-called freedom.
America vs. The rest of the world
In an article issued by CNN they break down the impact of gun control in America or lack there of in 9 charts that tell a chilling story. There are different statistics when looking at the numbers for mass shootings, this is because there is no clear definition of what is considered a mass shooting so the numbers vary. I don’t think this is an accident, it’s a way to control what the media sees in news reports on mass shootings. Just another example of how media manipulates the public.
From 1966-2012 nearly a third of the worlds mass shootings took place in the US. In a 2016 study, where they looked at 292 mass shootings where four or more individuals were killed, 90 of them took place in the US. The Philippines were a distant second with 18. With America only accounting for 5% of the worlds population, they account for a whooping 31% of the worlds mass shootings.
Looking at the numbers in America for 2017, by the definition which states a mass shooting is determined by: shooting and killing four or more individuals, in the same general time and location, there were 307! That is an average of 7 mass shootings per week. However, there is more than one definition for mass shootings. Under the strictest definition which states: shoots and kills four or more individuals, individuals are chosen at random, and it happens in a public place, there were a mere 10 mass shootings, while this is far less this still averages nearly 1 per month. From 2000-2013 roughly 24% of these shootings happened in schools. With businesses topping it out at 45%. Most Americans on a daily basis either go to work or go to school, perhaps even both. Making the places most commonly visited the most dangerous. Free? That is questionable.
Is gun control the answer?
The short answer is yes, gun control does help. I believe it is much more complex than that. There will need to be a major change in American society, and a less corrupt government that the American public can trust for true change to take place. However, change must start somewhere.
Take Australia for example, in 1996 there was a mass shooting that killed 35 and injured another 28. The response? A major gun reform by which Australia confiscated 650,000 guns, in addition to imposing background checks and licensing rules. The result? There have been zero mass shootings since 1996. In addition to this there has been a significant decline in gun related suicide and homicide. The average firearm suicide rate in Australia in the seven years after the bill declined by 57% compared with the seven years prior. The average firearm homicide rate went down by about 42%. Prior to these new regulations these rates where already declining so it’s not to say that these numbers can all be attributed to the new regulations, but I believe they largely are.
The unfortunate truth is that we cannot say that if the US were to follow suit with Australia that the US would see the same success. There has to be a major change within the mindset of the American people, a major shift in the American culture, and a major shift in the corruption within the American government and media manipulation. Outright confiscating the guns of the American people could backfire and result in more violence. What we do know is that stricter gun laws have worked in other countries, and we also know that America’s approach or lack there of is not working.
What is at risk?
If America does nothing, nothing will change, other than Americans will become desensitized to mass shootings and gun violence. The American culture will be one where worrying about being shot just going to work or school is a real concern. Furthering the problem of American’s feeling the need to protect themselves, fighting guns with guns. Change must start somewhere. If America does not change it is a fearful country Americans will live in, not a free one.