Why A Gun Will Not Make You Safer!

guns

Every gun sold in America makes you less safe than you were the minute before that gun was sold.  The gun lobbies and Second Amendment devotees want you to believe the opposite.  There are two motives for this.  One is to sell more guns.  This is a motive for the gun lobbyists, gun manufacturers and NRA.  The second motive is by the Second Amendment advocates who seriously believe that guns will protect you from “bad” guys with a gun.  This is wishful thinking which more often than not is false.  However, there are many cases on record where guns have protected people from criminals and other deviants.  Nevertheless, statistically speaking, you are not safer with more guns.  In fact, you are less safe as each gun sale adds to the growing epidemic of gun violence in USA America.  You will only be safer when there are less guns to be had for sale.  The argument I am going to present will clearly prove my point.  However, before I present it let me state the following truths.

  • I am a gun owner
  • I am a military veteran
  • I actually like guns, knives, and other weapons (nunchakus, hunting bows, etc.)
  • I have hunted moose, seal, elk, pheasant, and deer
  • I do believe that some guns should be available for hunting and sports shooting

So, why do I believe that more guns lead to more school shootings, massacres, homicides, suicides, and other violence?  Why do I think that we need to seriously dial back on the following three aspects of guns?

  • Gun availability
  • Gun lethality
  • Gun carry

To understand why more guns are dangerous, we must first start with understanding human psychology.  You will accept that anger is a normal human emotion.  Assuming a bell-shaped curve of ranges for anger, some people will get much angrier than others.  Some people will resort to violence, road rage, domestic abuse, fights, etc. when they are angry.  Let us assume that one percent of people sometimes fall into the “extreme” anger range.  Thus, out of 1,000,000 people, there will be 10,000 people who may become violently angry at some perceived slight, disrespect, or abuse.

young-girl-firing-two-gunsNext, let us establish a lethality of weapons.  I will put it thus:  fists are not as lethal as brass knuckles.  Brass knuckles are not as lethal as clubs.  Clubs are not as lethal as knives.  Knives are not as lethal as guns.  Handguns are not as lethal as rifles.  The range of lethality that I have noted is “most” often true but there are always exceptions.  Thus, I will say again, the lethality of the potential weapons structure I have described is most often the case but not always.

Now, let us assume that one percent of the people who fall into the “extreme” violent range might act out using a weapon of some sort.  That would mean that during any particular episode of extreme anger, a hundred people or one percent of 10,000 people could conceivably pick up a gun to use as a weapon.

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If we take the fact that there are 257,000,000 people over the age of 18 in the USA as of 2020 (Annie E. Casey Foundation Data Center), then extrapolating from the one million people we started with, we would have to multiply the 100 potentially violent and angry people who might use a gun by the percentage of gun owners in America who have a gun available.  According to a Pew Study, four-in-ten U.S. adults say they live in a household with a gun, including 30% who say they personally own one.

So, we need to multiply as follows:

257,000,000 million adults over the age of 18 in the USA

X

30 Percent of adults who personally own a gun in the USA

X

100 potentially very angry people per every million adults who might be tempted to use a gun

257,000,000 x .30 = 77.1 million X 100 per million = 7710

That gives us the following:  7710 potentially very angry people on any given day who might use a gun in some act of violence.  Now let’s half that number since women are not usually as violent as men and we arrive at the following figure of 3855 adult men in the USA who might go berserk, grab a gun, and enter what domestic abuse counselors call the “Cycle of Violence.”

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The “Cycle of Violence” can be described as follows:

“The term cycle of violence refers to repeated and dangerous acts of violence as a cyclical pattern, associated with high emotions and doctrines of retribution or revenge.  The pattern, or cycle, repeats and can happen many times during a relationship.  Each phase of the cycle may last a different length of time, and over time the level of violence may increase.  It often refers to violent behavior learned as a child, and then repeated as an adult, therefore continuing on in a perceived cycle.”WIKI

maxresdefaultThis cycle explains quite well what happens in many cases of gun violence or other types of violent outburst.  In phase two, tensions are building up.  This could be from a variety of different causes.  It might be strains from the work place or strains from home relationships with family and children.  The strains are often cumulative particularly with people who may lack the ability or means to discharge their stress.  The stress builds up until the individual finally explodes.  The explosion could be in words or actions.  Actions might involve throwing things, punching things, hitting things or various levels of assault against things or people using a wide range of weapons.

download (1)Phase three is the incident itself.  A trigger is needed to set the individual off.  Perhaps the individual gets fired or their spouse asks for a divorce.  Maybe they have a fight with a neighbor, or a car cuts them off at an intersection.  When the trigger occurs, the individual explodes.  The explosion could involve a violent attack that might go from simple threats or curses all the way to shooting someone.  The availability of weapons will play a major role in the level of violence.  This is one reason why a “waiting period” for purchasing a firearm makes  a lot of sense.  In two recent mass shootings, there was no waiting period for the purchase of a high-powered rifle and the individuals engaged in shooting massacres within a week of buying their rifles.

Phase four is a down period or a period of extreme remorse.  The violent individual feels a deep sense of guilt or regret and longs for forgiveness and to makeup to their victim for their transgressions.  If their victim is still alive they will apologize profusely and swear to never do it again.  They will promise anything to make amends and obtain forgiveness.  Obviously, if their victim or victims are dead, one act that they can take to escape their feelings of remorse is to end their own lives.  This explains why so many of these mass shooters commit suicide before they are apprehended.

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If the violent individual makes it through phase four and is still alive, there will be a phase of calm and peacefulness.  It will seem like everything is going to be okay.  Phase one may last days or weeks but unless the individual receives some type of therapy, the tensions will inevitably build up again.  The result will be another explosion after another triggering event takes place.  This is how the cycle of violence works over and over again.

The result of this anger cycle combined with an easy access to guns is an epidemic of gun violence.  It is an epidemic that includes nearly 25,000 suicides a year and about 14,000 homicides a year.  There are clearly only two solutions to reducing this death rate.  One solution would be to reduce the potential number of people in our society who are prone to violent outbursts or what some might label as mental illness.  The second solution would be to reduce the number of guns available or at least make it more difficult to obtain a gun when someone has a violent outburst.

downloadMany anti-gun control people push the solution that more mental health is needed.  The problem with this solution is that anger and angry outbursts are as normal in the population as mom, God, and apple pie.  There is no way to treat all the people in America who might lose their temper on a given day.  There is no way to tell when or where these outbursts will take place.  Therapy for “normal” people is not on the radar.  Make no mistake, your best friend, your neighbor, your cousin just might “lose” it tomorrow and go on some type of violent jag that results in death for someone else.  It happens all the time.  The papers are full of reports of people who lose it and end up killing their loved ones and themselves.

20150404_USD000_0The other solution is to reduce the availability or the lethality of guns in society.  This solution makes the most sense.  We can somewhat reduce the availability of weapons through background checks, waiting periods, age restrictions, gun training, and reducing the ability to carry a gun in public.  We must get rid of these ridiculous concealed carry laws.  It should be illegal to carry a gun in public concealed or otherwise unless you have a permit with a valid reason for why you need to carry a gun.

1999-_Gun-related_deaths_USAWe can reduce the lethality of guns by limiting clip capacities and by eliminating rifles that were designed for military purposes and not hunting.  Why anyone would need a rifle with more than a three round capacity is beyond me.  Rifles should be for hunting or target shooting and nothing else.  Any game that you are hunting will be gone long before you can chamber and fire your third round.  A .223 caliber was first designed for the military in Vietnam.  I had to qualify on an M-16 in 1965 when they were first issued.  It was like shooting a bb gun.  Easy to shoot with a round that was designed to wound and not kill.  They said this would take two or more people out of the war instead of just one dead body.  The individual shot by a .223 would be severely wounded and would need someone to take him back to a medic or out of the war zone.  Read any of the gun magazines today and it looks like they are selling guns and accessories to someone who is going to war.  Helmets, bullet proof vests, high-capacity magazines, laser sights and guns more fit for killing humans than hunting are touted and readily available.

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I don’t deny that it would be difficult to make some distinctions between a military or assault rifle and a rifle that could be used for hunting.  It some cases it would be like trying to differentiate between tweedle dee and tweedle dum.  However difficult it might be, it could be done as long as two reasonable people could agree on the definitions.  No definition will convince or persuade everyone.  We must not let perfection stop us from trying to protect the lives of our children and our citizens.  If some mistakes are made in banning guns that are best designed for killing then so be it.  We will all be better off for it.   It is the only solution that will end the epidemic of gun violence in the USA.

PS

I think my theory above accounts for a large percentage of mass murders and some suicides. I know that a small percentage of mass murders are committed by individuals with a grudge against another group, ethnicity or race. Call them racists or ideological nut cases. I doubt they go through any “cycle of violence” such as I have described. My guess is that they develop some screwball theory and believe that their violence will help them wipeout whatever group they harbor negative attitudes against. Their hatred could be political, racial, or other wacko ideologies.

As for suicides, the major reason for suicides according to the mental health literature (retreatbehavioralhealth.com) is due to depression. Women tend to overdose with pills while men tend to use a handgun. Gun checks, gun licenses, gun waiting periods are probably not going to reduce deaths by suicide substantially since I cannot imagine how a background check or a license would stop someone who is depressed from owning a gun. Nevertheless, the easy availability of guns and their lethality does make them very dangerous for anyone suffering from depression.

13 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. barryh
    Jun 08, 2022 @ 10:20:27

    Great post, and totally convincing to rational people. Sadly, many Americans seem to have long turned their backs on rationality for emotional arguments wound up by commercial interests. As with much in America, I suspect that the fear of loss of white dominance is there somewhere behind it.

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    • Dr. John Persico Jr.
      Jun 08, 2022 @ 12:11:55

      Good point Barry. The fear of being replaced by people who are “different” is surely one factor in the fear that drives so much of gun purchasing. The “barbarian” hordes will overrun us or intermarry with us and then what will happen to all the white people? 🙂

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  2. Wayne Woodman
    Jun 08, 2022 @ 15:35:01

    Thanks John for a very well reasoned article and hopefully it may convince at least one fence sitter to move in the reasonable direction.

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  3. Wayne Woodman
    Jun 08, 2022 @ 15:35:39

    Reblogged this on Musings and Wonderings and commented:
    Excellent article on gun ownership.

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  4. Margiran
    Jun 09, 2022 @ 06:51:24

    Thoughtful post John.
    I’m particularly interested in the relationship between ‘cycle of violence’ and easy accessibility to guns. There is little doubt in my mind that many here in the UK would now be dead if we had the same gun policy as in the USA. Physical abuse following temper and rage episodes are common. Are many sorry for their actions after the event? Oh yes! Often it’s unintentional and the rage passes! Thank goodness gun policy is different over here, although we are having problems with young people carrying knives – too many deaths.
    Those who suffer mental health issues are increasingly finding it difficult to get support and I’m sure this will be worse in USA. The solution to reducing such tragic events seems a no brainer doesn’t it?! Obviously not for some people though!
    Here is a poem I posted recently ..
    https://share.icloud.com/photos/085K-fSR3ywZY2fHIyHfBibKA

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    • Dr. John Persico Jr.
      Jun 09, 2022 @ 07:25:47

      Thanks Margaret. America is a Gun is a sad commentary but accurate poem. I will share this in my writing group. I think you are right, any country with a gun policy like ours is going to suffer many more gun deaths and violence. But as you note, knives and other weapons can also be deadly though not as easy to kill fifty or more people with as the killer in Las Vegas did. Gun accessibility is beyond easy here. In Arizona and many other states you did not even need a permit or license for concealed carry. I live part of the year in AZ and idiots walking around with guns on their hips do not make anyone feel safer. I have that from many people with whom I have talked. One only wonders how many people have guns hidden some place on themselves.

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  5. thecovidpilot
    Jun 09, 2022 @ 17:09:10

    “as each gun sale adds to the growing epidemic of gun violence in USA ”

    Let’s start with you. Get rid of your guns and post a sign that your house is a gun free zone in the front yard. You’d be more believable if you lived in the inner city.

    And you should demand that police in your neighborhood get rid of guns and batons. Batons kill people too.

    And what about cars? Plenty of times, terrorists have used cars to plow through crowds. So get rid of your car because the more cars sold, the more people die.

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    • Dr. John Persico Jr.
      Jun 09, 2022 @ 17:30:42

      I grew up in Brooklyn so I know all about the inner city. I did not say that police should not be equipped with weapons. This is a statement that seems to miss the point and makes an argument called “reductio ad absurdum.” Same goes for your comment about cars and batons. However, since you mention cars, people have to get a license for a car, pass a driving test and reach a minimum age before they can buy a car. If guns met the same requirements it would reduce the amount of gun deaths considerably. So I take it you support gun licenses and gun tests and age limits to own and use a gun?

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      • thecovidpilot
        Jun 09, 2022 @ 17:37:47

        I support gun safety education classes and 2nd amendment education classes in schools.

        Everyone has a right to defend themselves, including the mentally ill and convicts. If someone should be denied a gun, then they shouldn’t be running around loose.

        If someone is too young to use a gun effectively, it’s up to parents to control access.

        Children in remote areas should be taught about guns because police take hours to arrive sometimes.

        I generally favor gun education, including marksmanship and combat shooting. Combat shooting teaches us to distinguish between threats and non-threats so that fewer innocent bystanders are shot.

        You said that more guns make us less safe, so, logically, we should eventually take guns from police. Just following your logic–yes, it’s reductio ad absurdum.

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        • Dr. John Persico Jr.
          Jun 10, 2022 @ 06:57:27

          While having an unarmed police force may seem counterintuitive to citizens of many countries, there are in fact 18 nations and one US territory (US Virgin Islands) that maintain a police force of patrolling officers who do not carry firearms. The European countries of Norway, Ireland, Iceland, and most of the United Kingdom all maintain largely unarmed police forces, with correlating gun-homicide rates that are starkly lower than comparable countries with police forces who carry firearms. The statistics seem to support the philosophy maintained by these nations that arming the police with guns ultimately results in more violence, not less, and considerably more gun related homicides.
          Kate Boland July 28 2020 in World Facts

          If everyone did not have a gun we would all be more safer. But “everyone” is the key word here. When all the swords are beaten into plow sheds we will have no more war but we are not in that state now.

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          • thecovidpilot
            Jun 10, 2022 @ 07:14:39

            “with correlating gun-homicide rates that are starkly lower than comparable countries with police forces who carry firearms.

            1. Focusing on “gun-homicides” instead of all homicides skews the statistics

            2. Home burglaries are much higher in locales that restrict guns. Australia has twice the home burglary rate of the US.

            3. The UK has three times the rate of rape per 100,000 as the US

            “If everyone did not have a gun we would all be more safer.”

            …from accidental shootings, but not from rape, home burglaries, murder with knives, clubs, etc.

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            • Dr. John Persico Jr.
              Jun 10, 2022 @ 11:49:41

              And how many rapes do you think have been prevented by guns? You name one place that you say has more burglaries than the U and more gun restrictions. One sample and over what time period? What is the population correlation? All of Australia or just one part? Where do you get your statistics? Can you cite sources? You are convinced that guns reduce crime when the statistics show just the opposite.

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