Why A Gun Will Not Make You Safer!

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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.

Pope Francis and Cardinal Cupich: Thoughts on Gun Controls

“What do we love more: our instruments of death or our future?”

People should be working now, the pope said, to ensure a similar tragedy can never happen again. In the U.S., his sentiment was shared by another senior Catholic leader: Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, the archbishop of Chicago.

“The Second Amendment did not come down from Sinai,” Cupich said via Twitter. “The right to bear arms will never be more important than human life. Our children have rights too. And our elected officials have a moral duty to protect them.”

The cardinal noted that research has shown the expired federal ban on certain rifles was effective in preventing the terror of mass shootings.

“As I reflect on this latest American massacre, I keep returning to the questions: Who are we as a nation if we do not act to protect our children? What do we love more: our instruments of death or our future?” Cupich asked.

There have been 27 school shootings so far this year in the U.S., according to Education Week, which tracks gun violence on K-12 school properties.

Three Essential Reads on Gun Violence in America

What We Know about Mass Shootings in the USA

3535– Tuesday, August 27, 2019 — Four Young Boys Growing Up in America, Part 2

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Twenty years have gone by since we have left our four young men.  They have now each reached their 32nd year of life.  Not one of them will see their 33rd year of life. 

Whitaker had achieved everything his parents had wanted him to.  He had gone to college, taken over the family business, got married to a beautiful young debutante and now had two young children.  The oldest, a girl, was nine years old and a boy seven years old.  Whitaker loved his wife and children very much.  Like his parents, Whitaker joined the prestigious country club and was head of the planning committee for events.  

The investment business was going very well, and his many clients were always pleased with the way that that their accounts were growing.  Whitaker seemed to have a magic touch.  Everything that was bronze or copper, he could turn into silver or gold.  His family life was also picture perfect.  Two very well-mannered children and a stay at home wife who alternated time between home and working on various local committees to help the less fortunate in the community.   

It was a beautiful Saturday morning in May.  Apple blossoms were blooming, his wife was planning a dinner that evening with some club friends and his kids had their usual Saturday morning league sports.  Whitaker had breakfast with his family and kissed each of them goodbye.  He took his golf bag and left for the country club.  There was some business to attend to with the planning committee he told everyone and if he had enough time, he might get in a round of golf. 

manual safety

Whitaker arrived at the club around 9 AM.  He greeted some friends upon arrival and then went up to an office that he kept in a private room at the club.  He entered the office and locked the door.  He walked over to his desk and sat down.  From a locked drawer in his desk, he removed a Ruger 9 mm automatic pistol.  He looked at it for a minute as though undecided but finally he flicked the safety off.   Whitaker put the gun to his head and pulled the trigger.  He died instantly.  Club members hearing the loud report rushed up to the room.  They had to batter the door down and when they entered, they found Whitaker slumped over his desk and quite dead. 

Jamal was heading to the country club about the time that Whitaker decided to depart this life.  Jamal had gone to college and obtained a law degree.  He had married the woman of his dreams and now had a set of five-year-old twin girls.  Jamal was a brilliant orator and could remember facts and figures that would astonish his listeners.  His law firm had prospered, and he now had two partners and more clients than even they could handle. 

Jamal had moved from the inner city to a well-manicured upscale home in the elite section of town.  He had a swimming pool, jacuzzi, a three-car garage and two large stone fireplaces.  Although never much of an athlete, he had taken up golf and joined the most prestigious country club in the city. 

This Saturday morning, he had packed his bags in an old beater car that he kept, kissed his wife and kids goodbye and headed off for a round of golf at the country club.  Despite having a Porsche, he always felt more comfortable in the old beater.  He told himself that driving it would keep him humble and help him to remember where he had come from.  He did not want to have his newfound wealth and status go to his head. 

As he headed to the country club through the expensive homes and gardens that dominated this area of town, he soon noticed a police car following closely behind him.  Then, the lights started swirling and the sirens started blaring.  “Pull over” a voice from the police car demanded.   Jamal pulled to the curb as did the police car.  A uniformed officer came over to Jamal and asked him what he was doing in this area.  Jamal still unperturbed, replied that he was going to play golf at the country club. 

The officer had received word of a shooting at the club and seeing a black man in an old car driving through this area had raised his suspicions.  “Step out of the car please,” he asked.  This was a little too much now for Jamal.  “Sir, I am a lawyer and I belong to the local country club.  What do I need to step out for?”  “Because I told you to sir,” replied the officer. 

Jamal had not been treated this way in a long time.  He was now feeling pretty angry, not to mention the potential embarrassment at being put up against his car within one mile of his country club.   Jamal spoke “I am not getting out of this car.”  The officer now quite irritated, unbuckled and drew his 10 mm Glock.  “Get out of the car, right now,” the officer demanded.

glock

Jamal swung the car door open, stepped out and started to walk away.  The officer shouted “Stop, Stop, Stop.”  Jamal either not hearing or not caring continued on walking down the street.   Suddenly, three loud blasts echoed throughout the neighborhood as the officer pulled the trigger of his pistol three times.  Each shot hit Jamal squarely in the back.  The first shot was enough though since it went through Jamal’s scapula, then his heart and lodged against a rib.  The next two shots were superfluous as Jamal was already dead when he hit the ground.  

Robert was fed up with life.  Nothing had gone right for him.  He had flunked out of high school and then got kicked out of the Army because of some asshole with more stripes than he had.  He had got married and had three children.  He came home early one day from a construction job and found his wife in bed with his best friend.  She took the kids and left.  Truth be told, he did not really give a dam.  His wife was an asshole, his best friend was a jerk and his kids were a pain in the butt. 

Things were looking up though.  It was Saturday.  The weather was fine, and he had the day off from his new job at the nearby cement plant.  The outdoor rifle range had opened.  Robert had bought a new rifle and was excited about taking it to the range and trying it out.  It was a Kel-Tec RDB 5.56 Bullpup.  Robert had purchased an optional fifty round magazine and one thousand rounds of ammunition.  He thought it would be more than enough ammo for a fun morning at the firing range. 

Robert arrived at the range and found that all twenty-four firing lanes were already occupied.  He looked around for the Range Master to see if he might have any idea when a lane would be opened.  It was a new Range Master, whom Robert did not know.  He was surly and brusque and replied that he did not have the slightest idea when a firing lane would open.  His manner really pissed Robert off.  Robert told him “I have been a member of this range for ten years; you should be more respectful to members.”  The Range Master laughed and told Robert that as far as he was concerned, he could take his business elsewhere. 

Something snapped at that moment in Robert.  Everywhere he turned, people treated him with disrespect and like he was dirt.  This was the final straw.  He would show the world that he was somebody and that no one could push him around.  Robert packed up his rifle and ammo and left.  He had made a decision that would change his life forever.

bullpup

Robert drove to the large indoor shopping mall just a few miles from where he lived.  He knew it would be packed on a Saturday morning.  He arrived and parked in a handicapped parking lot.  “Fuck, them too” he thought as he walked away and left the keys in the car.  He entered the mall through a side door and proceeded to take an escalator to the top floor.  Upon getting up to the second level, he took the gun off of his shoulder and surveyed the tableau in front of him.  Lots of kids with their moms.  Mothers pushing strollers.  Fathers walking holding their young children.  Teenagers hanging out with their friends and their ever-present cell phones.  “Fuck them all,” reflected Robert as he aimed his rifle at a nearby couple on the first floor and started pulling the trigger.

As soon as the first shots rang out, pandemonium reined.  Parents screamed and kids were running everywhere.  Robert kept aiming and firing, rather heedless of whom he was firing at.  Fortunately, security guards were close to where Robert sat and seeing him, they quickly opened fire.  Robert had already killed six people and wounded at least twenty-five others.  He knew his time was up, but he reflected, he would go out on his own terms.  He put the Bullpup under his chin and pulled the trigger.  The rifle blew the top of his skull off and Robert died instantly. 

Jack woke up this beautiful Saturday morning thinking how wonderful life was.  He had a great wife and a young five-year-old son.  His career since finishing college had gone very well.  He worked for a successful computer firm and had recently been promoted to a district manager position.  He lived in a nice house in a modest suburban neighborhood, not far from where he had grown up. 

He was making a list of chores to do this Saturday when his wife asked him if he could run a few errands for her.  She had the job of doing the Sunday fellowship snacks for their local church and was going to be busy doing some baking this day.  Would Jack get some more sugar and eggs at the local grocery store?  “Sure” Jack said.  He started to get his keys when his young son began to shout “Daddy, daddy, can I go with you.”  “Of course,” replied Jack. “Get your coat and let’s go.”

They climbed in the car and drove to the supermarket where Jack quickly found the sugar and eggs and some other food items.  Upon heading back to the car, Jack told his son: “Lets go to the mall and we will find a nice birthday gift for your mom since her birthday is next week.  You can help me to pick it out.”  His young son thought that was a fun idea and both dad and son headed for the nearby mall.

Upon arriving at the mall, they walked down a large open aisle looking in store windows along the way.  Jack requested his son to keep his eyes open for something that he thought his mom would like.   A loud sound like thunder broke the thoughts going through Jacks’ head.  Jack quickly realized that the echoing sounds were the sounds of gunfire.  He pushed his young son down on the floor and threw his body over his son. 

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That was the last effort that Jack ever took in this life.  A 5.56 caliber bullet entered Jack’s front chest and penetrated his heart.  His young son felt the life go out of his father and started crying.  When the medics arrived, Jack had been dead for ten minutes. 

  • More than 38,000 men, women, and children are killed with guns each year in the United States.
  • Over 85,000 people are injured every year.
  • More than half of all gun deaths are suicides.
  • Among high-income countries, the United States accounts for 80 percent of all gun deaths in the world, 86 percent of all women killed by guns, and 87 percent of all children younger than 14 who are killed by guns.

  Giffords-Stats-Page-Breakdown

 

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