.. from fear. We are not free when consumers are manipulated by profit-motivated industries. In the New England Journal of Medicine, an important study of 743 gunshot deaths done by Dr. Arthur Kellermann and Dr.
Donald Reay, found that 398 of these deaths had taken place in a home where the handgun was kept. It was not a criminal stranger who shot them, but instead family or relatives, spouses, roommates, or themselves. Altercations within the home accounts for 84% of these homicides. Of all 743 gunshot deaths, there were only two that occurred in homes involving intruders killed while attempting to enter, and nine deaths justified through police and court analysis. (95) What really justifies homicide with a firearm? Well, a person can use certainly deadly force to defend their own life or against bodily harm.
But, to commit justified homicide, there has to be a strong belief that your life is in jeopardy. You cannot use force with a gun to do something like shoot someone stealing your car. Using a gun must be a last option when all others have failed. You are legally required and obligated to even leave your house by fleeing out a back door for instance, rather than shoot someone who is intruding. Again, FBI reports have confirmed that out of 21,597 people murdered in 1995, 12,066 were done with handguns, and only 179 of those were justified. This is just another alarming and unfortunate statistic we must confront.
(gunfree.org) Should we blame guns or people for deaths and killing? Do guns kill people, or do people kill people? There really is no either/or scenario. Both people and their guns are to blame. Without people, guns wouldnt be fired, but with guns the efficiency of killing is profoundly increased. “The most prevalent form of handgun death in America isnt murder but suicide.” Other means of suicide such as knives, razor blades, gas or pills are not going to be such an efficient and absolute killing tool. The truth is that “handguns however, [in comparison] lend themselves well to spontaneity.” How can human prosperity and health be promoted with the existence of such a *censored*ed up weapon? Take this seriously.
“Everyday fifteen children in the U.S. are killed by guns”. Or what do you think about the fact that “every year, more than 24,000 Americans are killed whether by homicide, suicide, or accident with handguns (Rosen 178-179).” There is no denying that guns are a paramount contributor of human destruction. In attempting to control guns or eliminate their use and existence, we would find that “most gun owners have more than one gun, and 70 percent have at least three (America 3).” There are also “more than two million weapons churned out by gun manufacturers every year. Add that to the estimated two-hundred million firearms already in private hands” and it could be a difficult task to achieve either short-term or long-term goals I have stated.
That is why we must help create some awareness and provide as much truth and information as we can make available on the issue of firearms and violence. If I could have my way with this health epidemic this virus with weapons and violence, I would create steps toward banning the manufacture, distribution, importation, sale and possession of guns (primarily handguns and automatic rifles/machine guns) to all citizens. Why are we taking this topic for granted? This stuff is for real! People are really murdered in gang disputes and drive-by shootings in places like North Portland where I was born. Ive read “gun violence is so pandemic that the Centers for Disease Control have identified it as the nations number one public health problem.” The degree to which our communities and collective population tolerates firearms, has a long lasting effect upon our future and culture. Get this “every twenty-four hours handgun-wielding assailants rape thirty-three women, rob 575 people and assault 1,116 people.” These kinds of stats blow me away. You can expect your childrens children on and on for generations on to live in a society and world where these kind of statistics are only growing steadily. How many voices must cry out? How much bloodshed must there be? Come on! Those of you who think you need to rifles to hunt, could possibly consider the idea that unless you live as a complete hermit there are plenty of grocery and market stores to buy meat at.
And there are also high-powered bow and arrow equipment, which is as effective in targeting and hunting animals. Theyre much less destructive too. And for those of you who think you must have a gun to protect yourself from government overthrow or an outbreak of war, maybe you could try living more in the present than worrying about future events that may not be preventable or controllable. At our current state, the government and our nation are quite stable and powerful. We are considered by far the most powerful nation in the world, with the most extensive nuclear arms capabilities.
I think the best conclusion is in suggesting that we look to other countries around us with lower homicide and violence rates. These countries can provide a resourceful model for us. And we need to ask ourselves, what is different about these places and people? How do they compare to our culture and how can we decrease our violence and increase our peace? The places we should look at with low gun-murder rates are Australia 13; Great Britain 33; Sweden 36; Japan 60; Switzerland 97; Canada 129, compared to the U.S.s over 13,200 murders (these figures are from 1992). As a simple personal opinion toward a solution, “Why not try martial arts if you want to learn to protect and defend yourself constructively?” Maybe China and Japan have lower rates of homicide and violence because they institute marital arts practice into daily disciplinary regime in both school and work throughout all ages of life. They even have a much higher population density per square mile than the U.S.
does. Theres my two cents for support of a short-term goal of gun control and regulation, and a long-term goal of firearm elimination. Firearms are not our answer. Bibliography “New Gun Control Initiatives”. America.
Editorial: 2/20/99, Vol. 180 Issue 5, p3. Rosen, Ruth. “Domestic Disarmament: A Womens Issue?”. The Informed Argument. Ed.
Robert Miller. New York: Hartcourt Brace, 1998. 178-181. Sugurmann, Josh. “The NRA Is Right”.
The Informed Argument. Ed. Robert Miller. New York: Harcourt Brace, 1998. 185-190 Tampa Bay Business Journal. “Crack Down On Guns”.
Tampa Bay Business Journal. Editorial: 11/6/98, Vol.18 Issue 45, p62. www.gunfree.org (within gun facts in csgv index).