A recent post on my local Patch, a site that offers local news and information and provides a space for interactive conversation, recently featured a post about a young man who was senselessly shot and killed. Following is my response:
Amid all of our arguing about masks on this site, a recent post by Jeanette Zook went virtually unnoticed. Here it is:
“On July 1, 2018, My Bradley was killed on the 500 block of Navajo Drive in Banning CA. He was riding in a car with a friend when an unknown car pulled up next to them; an occupant in the car said something, then began firing at the car; killing Brad.”
While a number of people expressed their sympathies, little was said about the issue of gun violence. To quote a much-used phrase, “Where is the outrage?” Why are we more concerned about wearing a mask, which saves peoples’ lives, than we are about guns, which takes peoples’ lives?
The Preliminary Semiannual Uniform Crime Report, which covers January through June 2019 and contains the most recent statistics available from the FBI, shows that “murder and nonnegligent manslaughter” actually took a 3.9 percent dip during that time period, but don’t start hooting and hollering just yet. Even at that, though, too many people have died through the use of firearms.
Here are the numbers for the last complete reporting period:
Between 2014 and 2018, according to the FBI, Uniform Crime Reporting Program, https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2018/crime-in-the-u.s.-2018/tables/expanded-homicide-data-table-8.xls,
total firearm-related murders increased in the United States from 7,803 to 10,265.
Here’s how that breaks down by type of weapon:
Firearms, type not stated:
I find that outrageous.
The usual argument is that the Second Amendment of the Constitution allows gun ownership in the United States. Well let me make the well-worn argument explaining why that is.
When the Second Amendment was written, we had just been through a war for our independence with Great Britain. At that time, we had no regular military, and most of the war was fought by ordinary citizens who had to supply their own weapons. Even when the war was over, no one was sure that the British, or others, wouldn’t try to invade our country again, so the framers wrote into the Constitution a provision that citizens must remain armed: The Second Amendment.
Another reason for allowing Americans to retain their weapons was a more practical one: food. There were no supermarkets back then, so people had to forage for themselves. Hence, the need to be able to hunt.
The framers could not have envisioned the creation of automatic or semiautomatic weapons. If they had, I believe, they would have specifically banned them.
Today, the use of guns is epidemic, and must be controlled. As long as people like Brad keep getting killed for no reason, I see no reason for people to have guns.
People will argue that we need guns for protection. Against who? People who have guns? Take away all guns and there’s nothing we need to protect against. I’m not so naïve to think this will ever happen, but I think it’s something for which we need to strive.
At the very least, let’s talk about that instead of masks.