FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Fostering a Culture of Violence in America

The recent shooting rampage that left 50 people dead in Orlando, Florida, is just the last, but by no means the only incident taking the lives of dozens of people. Florida, where the event occurred, has also the sad distinction of being the first state to issue one million permits to carry concealed guns.

Although violent incidents occur in other countries, they are not as frequent –or as lethal- as in the U.S., which has the highest homicide-by-firearms rate among the world’s most developed nations. Gun ownership is particularly relevant in the U.S., where civilians own an estimated 300 million guns, making Americans the most heavily armed people in the world on a per capita basis. In comparison, police in the U.S. has approximately one million guns.

A report by the Swiss-based Small Arms Survey states that with less than five percent of the world’s population, the U.S. has approximately 35 to 50 percent of civilian-owned guns, and it ranks No.1 in firearms per capita.

The question of gun ownership in the U.S. centers on the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: “A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” Opponents of gun control stress the last part of the sentence: “the right of people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” They neglect to consider the first part, which describes a “well-regulated militia” as the holders of this entitlement.

The National Rifle Association (NRA) has become one of the country’s most powerful lobbies, and its influence continues to grow. According to the Washington Post, the NRA has helped elect four out of five candidates it has endorsed in a congressional election, and is continuously trying to overturn gun-control laws in the courts of justice.

At the same time, landmark Supreme Court rulings in 2008 and 2010 dramatically curtailed the authority of state and local governments to limit gun ownership. To make matters even worse for gun control advocates, approximately half of the 50 states in the U.S. have adopted laws that allow gun owners to carry their guns openly in most public places.

Although self-defense is often cited to justify the people’s right to bear arms, research has shown that a gun kept in a home is 43 times more likely to kill a member of the household or a friend than an intruder. In addition, using firearms to resist a violent assault increases the victim’s risk of injury and death. The number of teenagers who die from gunshot wounds in the U.S. is greater than for all other causes combined.

In a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine, Dr. Arthur Kellermann states that -excluding factors such as previous history of violence, class, race, to name the most important three- a gun-holding household is 2.7 times more likely to experience a murder than a household without one. His findings have been severely criticized by opponents of gun control legislation.

It is estimated that the gun market of $2 to $3 billion a year has experienced an extraordinary boom since President Barak Obama’s election in 2008, despite his emphatic position for stricter gun control laws. According to a Gallup survey, 47 percent of American adults keep guns, a figure that is the highest since 1993.

Peter Dreier, Distinguished Professor of Politics at Occidental College in Los Angeles, CA, states that among modern democracies the U.S. has the most guns per capita and the weakest gun control laws. President Obama has indicated that Congress has failed to pass “common sense gun safety reforms”.

From 2011 through the first three quarters of 2012, the NRA spent more than ten times as much as gun control interest groups in its lobbying efforts.

After the Orlando tragedy, two of the U.S. biggest gun companies, Sturm, Ruger & Co and Smith & Wesson, have substantially increased their share prices. We cannot decry the consequence of our actions if we foster a culture of violence in the country.

More articles by:

Dr. Cesar Chelala is a co-winner of the 1979 Overseas Press Club of America award for the article “Missing or Disappeared in Argentina: The Desperate Search for Thousands of Abducted Victims.”

Weekend Edition
July 20, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Paul Atwood
Peace or Armageddon: Take Your Pick
Paul Street
No Liberal Rallies Yet for the Children of Yemen
Nick Pemberton
The Bipartisan War on Central and South American Women
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Are You Putin Me On?
Andrew Levine
Sovereignty: What Is It Good For? 
Brian Cloughley
The Trump/NATO Debacle and the Profit Motive
David Rosen
Trump’s Supreme Pick Escalates America’s War on Sex 
Melvin Goodman
Montenegro and the “Manchurian Candidate”
Salvador Rangel
“These Are Not Our Kids”: The Racial Capitalism of Caging Children at the Border
Matthew Stevenson
Going Home Again to Trump’s America
Louis Proyect
Jeremy Corbyn, Bernie Sanders and the Dilemmas of the Left
Patrick Cockburn
Iraqi Protests: “Bad Government, Bad Roads, Bad Weather, Bad People”
Robert Fantina
Has It Really Come to This?
Russell Mokhiber
Kristin Lawless on the Corporate Takeover of the American Kitchen
John W. Whitehead
It’s All Fake: Reality TV That Masquerades as American Politics
Patrick Bobilin
In Your Period Piece, I Would be the Help
Ramzy Baroud
The Massacre of Inn Din: How Rohingya Are Lynched and Held Responsible
Robert Fisk
How Weapons Made in Bosnia Fueled Syria’s Bleak Civil War
Gary Leupp
Trump’s Helsinki Press Conference and Public Disgrace
Josh Hoxie
Our Missing $10 Trillion
Martha Rosenberg
Pharma “Screening” Is a Ploy to Seize More Patients
Basav Sen
Brett Kavanaugh Would be a Disaster for the Climate
David Lau
The Origins of Local AFT 4400: a Profile of Julie Olsen Edwards
Rohullah Naderi
The Elusive Pursuit of Peace by Afghanistan
Binoy Kampmark
Shaking Establishments: The Ocasio-Cortez Effect
John Laforge
18 Protesters Cut Into German Air Base to Protest US Nuclear Weapons Deployment
Christopher Brauchli
Trump and the Swedish Question
Chia-Chia Wang
Local Police Shouldn’t Collaborate With ICE
Paul Lyons
YouTube’s Content ID – A Case Study
Jill Richardson
Soon You Won’t be Able to Use Food Stamps at Farmers’ Markets, But That’s Not the Half of It
Kevin MacKay
Climate Change is Proving Worse Than We Imagined, So Why Aren’t We Confronting its Root Cause?
Thomas Knapp
Elections: More than Half of Americans Believe Fairy Tales are Real
Ralph Nader
Warner Slack—Doctor for the People Forever
Lee Ballinger
Soccer, Baseball and Immigration
Louis Yako
Celebrating the Wounds of Exile with Poetry
Ron Jacobs
Working Class Fiction—Not Just Surplus Value
Perry Hoberman
You Can’t Vote Out Fascism… You Have to Drive It From Power!
Robert Koehler
Guns and Racism, on the Rocks
Nyla Ali Khan
Kashmir: Implementation with Integrity and Will to Resolve
Justin Anderson
Elon Musk vs. the Media
Graham Peebles
A Time of Hope for Ethiopia
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Homophobia in the Service of Anti-Trumpism is Still Homophobic (Even When it’s the New York Times)
Martin Billheimer
Childhood, Ferocious Sleep
David Yearsley
The Glories of the Grammophone
Tom Clark
Gameplanning the Patriotic Retributive Attack on Montenegro
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail