MONTGOMERY VILLAGE, Md., December 14, 2012 – Earlier today we heard that a young man, informally identified as Adam Lanza in his early twenties, shot and killed 26 in an elementary school in Connecticut and at least one other person at a location outside the school. Most of the dead are children. As I write this article with CNN on, we are all learning details of the horrendous crime. If you are keeping count, this is the second such episode this week. A gunman in Oregon killed two persons on Tuesday December 11, 2012.
While we are still sorting through the news, there appears to be some facts that contributed to these mass killings. Regardless of the evidence that will be unearthed in the days and months ahead, there are some facts that are irrefutable.
We are a violent society (sorry for stating the obvious)
Other countries in the world have similar gun laws as we do. Northern European countries depend on a reserve force in case of national emergencies. For that purpose, every able male has to serve in this force, learn how to use fire arms and keep fire arms at home in case he is called. Violent crime and specifically murder by fire arms is a very small portion of what it is in the U. S.
However, there is no other country in the industrialized world that has the rate of crime that we have. We also have very strict laws as proven by us (U. S.) having the highest rate of incarceration (1% of the population) of all these countries. We also are the leading country with regard to people being executed for their crimes. There appears to be no direct correlation between punishment and its deterrence of crime. The perpetrators of mass crimes are obviously not influenced by punishment as they usually take their lives after their massacre.
Some would point out that violence in video games, movies and television may be one of the reasons; however, the same elements exist all over the world except for very poor countries. Others have speculated that our individualistic culture may provide a reason for discrete actions of this type.
Even others have pointed out that the disregard of traditional values has led us into a lawless society in which there are no limits to antisocial behavior. Other countries have also taken actions that disregard traditional values, including religion, without the same results.
Mental and emotional reasons have in the past proven to be the trigger that started some of these episodes. Ironically, our health insurance system is geared to treat mental health as a much lower priority.
Fire arm availability
We are the most armed country in the world. We own over one hundred million fire arms in this country. It is easier to get a gun in some places than to buy a car. While most states have limits on who can buy a gun, the ready availability in the black market defeats these restrictions. Many gun owners keep their guns locked up, but this is not a deterrent to a thief or even a child.
I knew a man that owned many guns. He was a hunter, but overall he was just fascinated with guns. One day he came home and realized he had been robed. He immediately looked at his gun locker and found it still locked. Several weeks later when he was going hunting he opened the locker and found it empty. The thieves had removed the back panel of the locker and had removed all the guns.
So what do you expect? — Hundreds of millions of guns that may be ready for the taking.
What has created this availability of guns?
That question has a very easy answer. The culprits are irrational gun proponents and their champion the National Rifle Association. They oppose even the mildest proposal for gun control.
Being from a different culture, I can’t understand the American adult fascination with fire arms. We all were fascinated with guns when we were children and even young adults, but most of us got past it, like playing with model trains. To me the second amendment should be deleted, like prohibition.
Every time I start thinking about buying a gun, I revert back to what the purpose (and the only purpose) of a gun is, to kill or maim.
Mario Salazar, the 21st Century Pacifist, is a bleeding heart liberal, agnostic, exercise fanatic, Redskin fan, technophile, civil engineer, combat infantry veteran, jewelry maker, amateur computer programmer, Environmental engineer, Colombian-born, free thinker, and, not surprisingly, pacifist. You can find his articles – ranging from politics to cooking a mean brisket – in 21st Century Pacifist <http://communities.washingtontimes.com/neighborhood/21st-century-pacifist/> at The Washington Times Communities. Follow Mario on Twitter @chibcharus #TWTC and Facebook at Mario Salazar.