Do We Have A Gun Problem Or A Culture Problem?
The awful tragedy in Parkland, Florida filled the news on Valentine's Day. A day of love was superseded by pain and unthinkable heartache when a 19-year-old former student entered Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and killed seventeen people. There had been numerous warning signs and red flags that Nikolas Cruz was a ticking time bomb. Those signs were either ignored or dismissed by police, FBI agents, and others. With stories such as this, the gun-control crowd comes out in full force with renewed cries to ban guns and stop the violence. While that may sound like a simple solution it is purely a political stunt to prey on the emotions of those who want something done. The question is whether we have a gun problem or a culture problem in America?
Let's look at the facts and the data from a completely honest and straightforward view. No spin or political games, just honesty. There are roughly 300 million guns in America and about 33,000 deaths by guns. Of those deaths by firearms, the vast majority are suicides. Suicides outnumber homicides nearly 2 to 1. The majority of the deaths by firearms are handguns. Here is the data:
Now, let's look at the murder rates of countries throughout the world. You might get the impression from those on the gun-control side that America is the wild west. Since we have the most guns per-capita in the world you might think we have the highest murder rate as well. You would be mistaken. The United States ranks 99th in murder rates per-capita in the world. You can pick any country and try to find a correlation between the number of guns and higher murder rates and you can't find one. The United States and Canada are in the top ten in guns but down the list in murder rates per-capita. Countries with low gun ownership are near the top of the murder rate list. Here are the links:
So would banning guns be logical? There are more deaths by vehicles in the United States than firearms. Let's take the case of a drunk driver who kills a family. Should we ban all vehicles and alcohol? Now that might stop drunk driving, but as we know from history, when we had prohibition of alcohol in America it was a complete failure. Rum-running became widespread and organized crime took control of the distribution of alcohol. In essence, a black-market sprang up to quench the needs and desires of those who couldn't get the alcohol legally. We see a city like Chicago, Illinois with the strictest gun-control laws in the nation still have record crimes and homicides. Criminals don't care about laws. That is why they are criminals. Much like the prohibition era, the criminals will get their guns if you ban all guns and the law-abiding citizens will be vulnerable to assaults and attacks on themselves and their properties.
So if we can see that guns are not the problem in America looking at the data and using common sense then what is the issue here? We need to take a hard look at our culture. In a culture where kids play video games that glorify violence and death to score points it begs the question just how much that desensitizes our youth? Movies that glorify death and songs and lyrics that do the same from certain artists are worth noting as well. We have pushed God further and further away from us and we wonder why we have incidents like this. Moral relativism is the prevailing theme in our republic. There is no right or wrong in our current culture. Kids are taught there are no absolutes. If you feel like a girl today then you can use the ladies restroom even if you are a boy with male genitalia. This might make many uncomfortable to hear but we have become a less religious nation and a more secular one. That is just a honest truth. The further we push away God the more we push ourselves to chaos and anarchy.
So let's finish up with looking at some real and genuine solutions to these mass shootings. We need to do a better job of identifying individuals who pose a risk. We need better communication between law enforcement agencies, parents, schools, and counselors. We need to arm more teachers and administrators with guns to carry in a concealed manner and give them intense training to certify them through state and local police agencies. There was one officer at the high school in Parkland for a student population of over 3,000. That is clearly not enough for a school that large. The average response time from police to a call is roughly 3-5 minutes. Most shooters have finished their killing spree by the time the police arrive. Common sense and wisdom tell us that having several trained and certified people at each school to confront an attacker and take him out is the best way to limit mass killings. We need to do a better job of assessing mental health issues and restricting those people from access to guns. Lastly, we need to eliminate these gun-free zones and the signs that are posted. They are flashing lights for criminals who intend to do serious harm. A gun-free zone is an easy-target zone as we have seen time after time.
We can't let emotion cloud logic and common sense. Emotion tells us to ban guns and pass more gun-control laws. Logic, facts, common sense, and truth tell us otherwise. We don't have a gun problem in America. The truth is we have a logic and common sense problem. We have a culture problem that needs to be addressed. If we continue to go after guns and target them as the problem here we miss the core issues and we will continue to see this repeated in our republic. Hopefully, we can have an open and honest debate on this and put the politics aside. My fear is that once again emotions will continue to cloud judgement as those with a particular agenda take advantage of grieving families and use them as pawns to work on chipping away at the Second Amendment. That would just add to this tragedy and fail to honor those defenseless people who lost their lives in Parkland.
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