Are Americans just more violent or crazy?

“Guns: what are they good for? Absolutely nothing!”-sung by Edwin Starr

Last month, the tragic video of the Charlotte officers who shot a black man in his car was on national TV. Although armed, he was attempting to give his gun to the officer when he was shot.

As a gun owner with family members who were FBI employees, local police officers and prison guards, it was hard to watch. Could the officer have avoided shooting him? I believe so, but we can assume  that she was afraid for her life and that will be the basis of her defense. 

Crime Scene TapeThere are virtually no shootings of police officers in other nations, google it for yourself. And, they don’t have law enforcement shooting unarmed black men (303 unarmed African-Americans were shot and killed by police, 2013-2016… again, probably due to their fear of being shot themselves). Guns (and their easy availability) are the underlying problem, although both screening and  re-training of law enforcement personnel is absolutely needed.

“Per capita gun deaths in the U.S. are exponentially higher than other nations. Is the difference that we, as a people, are that much more susceptible to mental illness? Or is it that we have the most liberal gun laws in the world?” (David Axelrod) Are Americans just more violent or crazy? I don’t think so.

This 1970 song was a hit many decades below. Since then, all we have done is increase the gun supply in the USA, although the vast majority of citizens want gun control per every survey. Why?

Do you remember the narcissistic NYC reality star who promised to drain the swamp? He received $30 million from the NRA for his 2016 campaign. So much for doing what the people versus corporate America (gun and ammo manufacturers) and their pressure groups want.

Does Trump really believe more guns will cause fewer shootings, the NRA “good guy/bad guy” talking point? Or, is he just beholden to the special interests and scared of one issue voters?

And, the problem doesn’t stop there… many NC politicians receive an “A” rating from the NRA. All want NRA campaign funds.

The AMA, not a group of lefty socialists, stated years ago the fact that gun violence is a growing public health issue. Why doesn’t Congress give the CDC money to research ways to reduce gun deaths instead of restricting this research? Instead of billions for an unneeded wall, how about a few million for studies designed to lower the number of gun deaths, currently over 40,000 annually.

Pro-gun newsletters state over and over that the lefty “gun grabbers” are coming to confiscate our guns and must be stopped. Don’t these newsletters know that it is impossible to just take away American’s 300 million guns? However, we can control who owns them so that they are accessible to criminals, the mentally unbalanced, wife beaters and other people likely to misuse them.

Gun owners don’t all support the NRA position. I don’t. Many others would not if they did not listen to the right-wing false propaganda about “gun grabbers.”

I have always thought that there’s a middle ground on guns where both gun owners and others can come together. Reasonable limits can be placed on guns, while still permitting reasonable personal firearms. For example, Congress could pass laws to:

  • Stop the mentally ill from having guns;
  • Do thorough universal background checks, including at gun shows (now exempt);
  • Prevent gun sales to people on “no fly” and watch lists;
  • Establish an accurate national gun sale data base;
  • Stop private ownership of assault rifles like the one used in Parkland, and elsewhere;
  • Prohibit the sale of high capacity magazines;
  • Increase taxes on guns and ammunition to compensate victims and off-set law enforcement costs;
  • Raise the age to purchase firearms so that a child who can’t have a glass of wine also can’t buy a gun; and 
  • Make parents legally responsible if a teenager uses their guns to kill others. 

A Pew survey (4-4-17) illustrates most of these measures already have the overwhelming support of the majority of Americans. We should all know by now that prayer is not enough. Neither is loosening gun control, the NRA position, promoting even more shootings. 

The fact is that many of our national and state officials are cowards. They know the truth about gun control but will never admit it. Tell your elected officials to stop taking lobbyist money and actually do something positive to control gun violence!

###

Image Credit: Crime Scene Tape by Brandon Anderson via flickr and used a Creative Commons license.

Jack Bernard

Jack Bernard

Jack A Bernard is a retired SVP with a national healthcare corporation. He was Chair of the Jasper County, Ga Board of Commissioners and Republican Party. He was also on the Board of Health for Jasper County and is currently on the Fayette County BOH. Bernard has over 100 columns published annually, primarily in the South.