We are reeling from back-to-back mass shootings, in Atlanta and Boulder. The main similarities of the two are that the young alleged murderers easily bought firearms just before their horrific killings and that neither of them ought to have been anywhere near a firearm, clearly having severe emotional problems.
The US policy of constantly endangering our children is enacted by a bought-and-paid-for Congress on behalf of 10 major gun manufacturers with an $8 billion industry. Most Americans don’t have or want a gun, and 50% of all guns in the US are owned by 3% of Americans, i.e. some 6 million people out of 320 million. That three percent would be just fine if they were subjected to better security checks and a ban on assault weapons.
In 2019 (i.e. before the distorting pandemic) there were 413 mass shootings in the US.
You’ll note you don’t hear about many mass shootings in Australia, Japan or for the most part the United Kingdom, or other civilized countries whose politicians have not been bought by 10 major gun manufacturers.
In fact, when a mass shooting was carried out, by a white nationalist terrorist at a mosque in New Zealand last March, 2019, the New Zealand government promptly banned semi-automatic assault weapons. It just took one (admittedly horrific) incident. In the US, hundreds of mass shootings a year don’t soften the hearts of our bought-and-paid-for legislators even a little bit.
The United States continues to be peculiar in handing out powerful magazine-fed firearms to almost anyone who wants one and not requiring background checks on private purchases even if these are made at gun shows or by persons with a history of mental illness. 80% of civilian-owned firearms world-wide are in the US, and only Yemen vaguely competes with us for rates of firearm ownership; Yemen is a violent mess with a Saudi-UAE-led war, a Shiite insurgency, north-south civil war, al-Qaeda taking over cities from time to time, tribal feuding, southern separatism and US drone strikes. And even it has fewer guns per person than the USA.
It has gotten to the point where the increasing epidemic of mass shootings now threatens law enforcement.
The US is downright weird compared to civilized Western Europe or Australia (which enacted gun control after a mass shooting in 1996 and there have been almost no further such incidents).
In the year ending March, 2020, there were 33 fatalities from gun-related crimes in England and Wales. That is the equivalent to about 182 in the US, given the disparity in the size of the two populations
Police in the UK fired their guns 13 times in 2018.
Number of Murders by Firearms, US, 2019: 10,258
Number of Murders in the US in 2019: 13,927
Percentage of all Murders that were committed by firearms in 2019 in US: 73.6%
Suicides in US 2019: 47,511
Gun Suicides in US, 2019: 23,941
Percentage of suicide victims who used a firearm: 50.3%.
Academic research shows that more guns equal more suicides.
Number of suicides in England and Wales, 2019: 5,691 (equivalent to about 31,300 in US, much lower.)
In the UK, less than 100 suicides annually are committed by firearm.
For more on murder by firearms in Britain, see the BBC.
The US has the highest gun ownership in the world and the highest murder rate in the developed world.
It seems pretty clear, as well, that many US suicides would not occur if firearms were not omnipresent.
There is some correlation between high rates of gun ownership and high rates of violent crime in general, globally (and also if you compare state by state inside the US):
In the case of Britain, firearms murders are 53 times fewer than in the US per capita. [Don’t bother with flawed citations of Switzerland or Israel, where most citizens are the equivalent of military reservists.]
Do hunters really need semi-automatic AR-15 assault weapons? Is that how they roll in deer season? The US public doesn’t think so.
PS this is a revised version of an older column; if they keep refusing to legislate rationally and go on causing these massacres, I can keep writing a similar column.
Related video added by Informed Comment: