“As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison,” – Nelson Mandela, proof that the final form of love is forgiveness.
It is rare that one soul can impact all of ours – and make us more patient, more powerful and more human. Mandela was such a soul. And he will never leave us.
Monday, January 7, 2013
Twenty-three days ago...
President Obama promised action on tightening gun control laws.
I'm posting this to keep the issue in front of our noses.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.)–author of the federal assault weapon and large ammunition magazine ban of 1994-2004–has said for weeks that she will soon introduce an even more restrictive bill. Leaders in the U.S. Senate have stated that January 22 will be the first day on which new Senate legislation can be proposed, so that is the most likely date for the new, sweeping legislation to be introduced.
As that date approaches, we need to keep in mind these facts:
Shooting sprees are not rare in the United States. Mother Jones has tracked and mapped every shooting spree in the last three decades. “Since 1982, there have been at least 61 mass murders carried out with firearms across the country, with the killings unfolding in 30 states from Massachusetts to Hawaii,” they found. And in most cases, the killers had obtained their weapons legally.
15 of the 25 worst mass shootings in the last 50 years took place in the United States. Time has the full list here. In second place is Finland, with two entries.
The myth of Israel and Switzerland gun ownership and violence:
Janet Rosenbaum: First of all, because they [Israel and Switzerland] don’t have high levels of gun ownership. The gun ownership in Israel and Switzerland has decreased. For instance, in Israel, they’re very limited in who is able to own a gun. There are only a few tens of thousands of legal guns in Israel, and the only people allowed to own them legally live in the settlements, do business in the settlements, or are in professions at risk of violence. Both countries require you to have a reason to have a gun. There isn’t this idea that you have a right to a gun. You need a reason. And then you need to go back to the permitting authority every six months or so to assure them the reason is still valid. The second thing is that there’s this widespread misunderstanding that Israel and Switzerland promote gun ownership. They don’t. Ten years ago, when Israel had the outbreak of violence, there was an expansion of gun ownership, but only to people above a certain rank in the military. There was no sense that having ordinary citizens [carry guns] would make anything safer. MORE HERE.
Of the 11 deadliest shootings in the US, five have happened from 2007 onward. That doesn’t include the shooting in Sandy Hook, Connecticut. [The death toll is 27, which makes it the second-deadliest mass shooting in US history.]
The South is the most violent region in the United States. In a subsequent post, Healy drilled further into the numbers and looked at deaths due to assault in different regions of the country. Just as the United States is a clear outlier in the international context, the South is a clear outlier in the national context.
More guns tend to mean more homicide. The Harvard Injury Control Research Center assessed the literature on guns and homicide and found that there’s substantial evidence that indicates more guns means more murders. This holds true whether you’re looking at different countries or different states.
States with stricter gun control laws have fewer deaths from gun-related violence. Last year, economist Richard Florida dove deep into the correlations between gun deaths and other kinds of social indicators. Some of what he found was, perhaps, unexpected: Higher populations, more stress, more immigrants, and more mental illness were not correlated with more deaths from gun violence. But one thing he found was, perhaps, perfectly predictable: States with tighter gun control laws appear to have fewer gun-related deaths. The disclaimer here is that correlation is not causation. But correlations can be suggestive.
America has a gun and violence problem:
I've been following discussions online at other blogs on this subject. I've read comments saying people don't know the answer to the gun and violence problem here in the US. The best way to find answers is to find what the facts are, then to come together to find solutions.
Gun violence is a man-made problem; we will be able to solve it.