Why Gun Control is Not Enough!

The Good Guy with a Gun Myth

Gun control is only a first step.  Some of the Second Amendment advocates are right about one thing.  There are some of us who want to take their guns away.  Not all of their guns, but some of their guns.  Licensing, background checks, restrictions on types of firearms, restrictions on clip size, none of these will stop the mass killings in America.  There is a simple reason for this.  There are too many guns in America available.  Look at it this way.

Assume that there were 100,000 cars in a given area.  Assume that for every 100,000 cars there would be an average of 100 accidents per year.  This assumption can be verified by statistical analysis of car accidents in a given area.  Some places will have more accidents than other places, but all places with cars will have some accidents. 

There are many factors governing who will have an accident, when they will have an accident and where they will have an accident.  No amount of statistical analysis can precisely predict when, where or who will be connected with an accident.  We use licensing, registrations, vehicle checks, drivers tests and still we have a current death rate in 2020 of 12.9 deaths per 100,000 vehicles.  This is a 58% improvement from the motor-vehicle death rate in 1937 with 30.8 deaths per 100,000 population.  Cars have become safer with airbags, better brakes, seat belts and other safety devices.  Yet we still cannot prevent an accident from happening.  —Historical Fatality Trends

Now if we increase the number of cars from 100,000 to 1 million and assuming all other variables stay equal, than we can assume that there will be ten times more accidents or that we will go from 100 car accidents per year to 1000 car accidents per year.  Or with a death rate of 12. 9 deaths per 100,000 vehicles, we will now have a total of 129 deaths per year.  Applying this same logic to firearms explains why the number of mass murders and firearm fatalities is increasing.  However, the statistics are more difficult.  Part of this has to do with the congressional oversight protecting the gun industry in the USA. 

Let us assume that for every 7500 guns in America that there will be 1-gun related fatality.  This statistic is derived from the fact that in 2020, there was a total of 45,222 deaths related to firearms in America.  The number of guns in America is estimated at about 340,000,000.  (The wide variances in registered guns by state, the lack of information on unregistered guns, the extreme variability in guns per capita make a definitive statistic nearly impossible.)  Dividing the total number of guns (a rough estimate) by the number of gun related deaths gives us 1 fatality for approximately every 7500 guns.  

“A new report from the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Solutions analyzes Centers for Disease Control and Prevention firearm fatality data for 2020—a year that saw the highest number of gun-related deaths ever recorded by the CDC and a sharp increase in gun homicides.  Among other things, the report concludes that states with the most robust gun laws have lower gun-related death rates.  The Center for Gun Violence Solutions is based at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.” —- John Hopkins School of Public Health

Applying the same car logic to guns in America, if we have 1 death per every 7500 firearms available then increasing the number of firearms will increase the number of deaths and injuries.  However, we already know that increasing the number of firearms has increased the number of deaths and injuries.  Three hundred and forty million firearms are now causing over 45,000 deaths per year.  Double the number of firearms and we can have nearly 100,000 deaths per year.  Of course, we could do the opposite of what we did with cars and make firearms even more lethal.  (Something that many gun owners relish).  Making guns more lethal would up the death toll.  Bumper stocks was one example of this increasing lethality.

Conversely, if the logic holds, decreasing firearm lethality should decrease both deaths and serious injuries.  But an even better strategy would be to decrease the number of guns in America.  The logic here is that there is no way that we will be able to prevent the carnage that is happening daily with background checks, mental health clinics, psych screenings or any other suggestions that have been offered.  As long as we have 340 million guns available to any individual that suddenly loses his or her sanity, there is going to continue to be daily incidents of mass gun violence. Given the right circumstances, we all can become potentially bad guys.

Increase the number of guns or the lethality of guns and you will increase the number of people who die from firearms. 

Decrease the number of guns in America or decrease the lethality of guns and you will decrease the number of people who die from firearm deaths. 

Its that simple folks.  But the difficult part is developing the will to fight a battle against a mindset driven by fear to buy ever more guns and an industry bent on selling ever more guns.

More guns = more deaths.  No amount of “GOOD GUYS” with a gun is going to change this fact.

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.

5310758_052119-wtvd-charlotte-kids-learn-to-shoot-vid

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.”

0201aa_7b79899f47f14b6ab14fb1ed7b3e0571_mv2

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.

nssfjan21x1

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.

_124922926_guns_flag976

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.

%d bloggers like this: