Debate Magazine

View from Across the Sea

Posted on the 07 September 2011 by Mikeb302000
Headlines from the Guardian
I had to do this to show that only six people were killed with guns in NYC, as the other pro-gun control posters have been pointing out.
The US is, of course, on infinite repeat. That means this Economist piece from 2007 is still valid:
Mass killings remain rare events, whatever outsiders might think, and they also happen in other countries, including those with tight rules on gun ownership. But life in modern America is punctuated frighteningly often by such attacks. Making any sort of accurate international comparison is tricky, but some attempts have been tried. The International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA), an activist group, counts 41 school shootings in America since 1996, which have claimed 110 lives, including those in Virginia this week. IANSA also looks at school shootings in 80 other countries. Culling from media reports, they count only 14 school gun killings outside America in the same period. Putting aside the Beslan massacre in Russia—committed by an organised terrorist group—school shootings in all those countries claimed just 59 victims.
As striking are the overall rates of violent death by handguns in America. The country is filled with 200m guns, half the world’s privately-owned total. Residents of other countries may fret that criminals, gang-members and insane individuals are increasingly likely to use guns and knives. But in comparison with America, few other developed countries have much to worry about. The gun-murder rate in America is more than 30 times that of England and Wales, for example. Canada—like America, a “frontier” country with high rates of gun ownership—sees far fewer victims shot down: the firearm murder-rate south of the Canadian border is vastly higher than the rate north of it. America may not quite lead the world in gun murders (South Africa probably holds that dubious title) but it has a dismally prominent position.
What might be done to improve matters in America? The intuitive answer, at least for Europeans and those who live in countries where guns are less easily available, is that laws must be tightened to make it harder to obtain and use such weapons. Not only might that reduce the frequency of criminal acts, goes the argument, but it may also cut the number of accidental deaths and suicides.
Yet some in America are reaching the opposite conclusion. Within hours of the shootings in Virginia on Monday April 16th, a conservative blogger was quoting a Roman military historian, suggesting that “if you want peace, prepare for war” (“si vis pacem, para bellum”). Others put it more bluntly: “an armed society is a polite society”. Virginia’s gun laws are generally permissive. Any adult can buy a handgun after a brief background check (as required by federal law), and anyone who legally owns a handgun and who asks for a permit to carry a concealed weapon must be granted such a permit. Yet Virginia Tech, like many schools and universities, is a gun-free zone. Gun advocates are daring to say that if Virginia Tech allowed concealed weapons, someone might have stopped the rampaging killer. To gun-control advocates, this is self-evident madness.
Here's an interesting statistic; you are more likely to be shot in the US than Mexico!
No, you can't make the world completely safe, but you can make it safer. It has been done.
Now, the real question is why isn't the US doing anything that makes sense instead of the usual do nothing bullshit?

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