Gun Violence Culture in the Land of the Free

If there’s something we’re really the greatest at, it’s probably violence.

USA claims to be number 1 in a lot of things (well mostly its politicians and celebrities) but if there’s something we’re really the greatest at, it’s probably violence.

There’s a mountain of evidence to prove that.

In 2018’s few weeks alone, we have already experienced 34 mass shootings amounting to 2,021 deaths until February 2018.

Among the list of OECD countries or “high-income,” we lead the pack with number of gun owners and homicide deaths by firearms.

We only account for 5% of the population but it is home to at least 50% of the world’s civilian owned guns and 31% of world’s public mass shooters since 1966.

Need more? Let’s continue the discussion below!

Gun Violence in America Compared to Other Developed Countries

America is a highly developed country but unlike its peers, it leads in amount of number of gun owners and homicide rates by miles.

Compared to other high-income countries, gun homicide deaths is 25.2 times higher in 2010. But in all fairness to the USA, it sees fewer gun-related deaths compared to its southern neighbors such as El Salvador or Honduras.

But if we go back to other developed countries say Finland where gun ownership is also high that it’s 12% of their entire population, there’s rarely mass shootings like in the US. They’re groomed to be hunters and have compulsory military service for young male teenagers but no killing spree happens as much.

Australia experienced mass shootings and suicides by alarming levels in the 90s but it all waned and eventually stopped when their government decided to introduce a buyback program.

The Japanese had never had trouble with mass shootings because their citizens would have to pass rigorous tests before being legally allowed to have one.

Norway on the other hand also has lots of guns but numerous studies have shown that their cohesive culture ensures more peace happens with mutual trust between community and law enforcers.

In the UK, they used a combination of buyback programs, and stricter enforcement of gun accessibility for its citizens.

Germany on the other hand has long banned semi-automated firearms in response to the 2002 bloody Erfurt massacre which claimed the lives of 17 children.

While our Great White neighbor in the north, Canada also has lots of civilian guns but nowhere near the number of gun-related deaths in the USA. Why? Because they have stricter gun control laws.

So why hasn’t the US followed suit when it’s clearly a very visible, ongoing problem that no amount of years passed has solved?

The Complexity of Gun Control in the USA

Well, for one, you have to understand the complexity of gun ownership in America.

It is one of a few handful of countries that protect its citizens’ rights to bear arms right in their constitution. Which means millions of Americans consider the act of owning guns(!), a sacred liberty that must never be infringed upon.

None of its other contemporary developed countries have the same passage in their laws or constitution.

The Democrats, most notably former President Barack Obama has long been crusading to implement stricter gun control laws but it never succeeded because of a seemingly very powerful lobbying group by the name of NRA or National Rifle Association of America.

We will discuss more pain points and arguments in the next section.

Main (Pain) Points in US Gun Control Arguments

However despite all the casualties that grow like “normal occurrence” in statistics year in and out, no politician has been successful in curbing it.

Most enlightened folks would tell you the answer is money.

The NRA has been bedfellows with many Republicans who have long protected the sanctity of gun rights. In 2016 alone (a Presidential election year in the US), they spent $4m in campaigns to support politicians which in turn would make sure no legislations will ever be passed that restricts gun ownership like EVER.

They claim to advocate and influence more campaigns for gun safety throughout the years.

But you know what, Republicans have been in control of US Congress since 2011. So you’re asking what about those years where there was clearly Democratic majority like in the times of Obama, Clinton, or Carter (which by the way is more than a decade apart for each term where a sitting Republican is in power alternately namely the two Bushes and Reagan).

See, US Politics is a tangled web. Read that part where Republicans held Congress hostage since 2011? Then sitting president was Democratic. It’s the way it goes. When Democrats get into power, the other party will take over soon enough even if White House is occupied by a different party, in an ongoing cycle.

And why are Republicans always winning? Because their constituents, mainly in rural parts of the US outnumber those in urban cities where most Democrats thrive. Which means even if there’s a Democrat majority, Republicans will fight for more Americans who will vote for them in rural states.

And before we leave, there’s one last scourge to this whole debacle -- the Supreme Court or the Judiciary. The third branch of our government who tries cases and determines legality of gun related legislations or amendments.

President Trump has just appointed a very conservative justice in Neil Gorsuch. And if one more sitting justice (Kennedy, a moderate conservative who often was the swing vote) retires this year, Trump can appoint a rabid conservative to replace him and set the entire court sharp to the right’s cause (5 conservatives including Chief Justice Roberts) leaving just 4 judges with liberal jurisprudence.