America’s Deadly Gun Obsession

Guns, more popular in our country than the iPhone and a Big Mac combined yet responsible for the deaths of scores of our innocent civilians every single day across this great nation. They are so popular that people value them over the lives that they take and that includes our elected leaders, they defend guns over the people impacted by those guns and that is shameful.

My fellow Americans love their guns and their 2nd amendment “rights” and will do anything to convince you why you should too. I put rights in quotations as these people will remind us in a loud and often volatile way that we cannot do anything about gun violence as it’s their “Constitutional right”. We will get into my thoughts on that complex and often annoying part of the gun debate later in the book as it is certainly a major factor in how we got where we are and what we can do to bring change regarding guns and gun violence.

What was it that I was saying?

Ah yes, Americans love their precious guns and have a strong bond to them, they openly admit this time and time again. This love and affection that they have for firearms is nowhere more evident than in the southern states of the United States where guns truly are in every hand of these “patriots”. The south is probably the place in this country that has the greatest love affair with these inanimate objects, it is truly part of their culture, right along with biscuits and gravy and confederate flags. However, the love of guns goes much deeper than in the deep south, it has spread from region to region and state to state over the years and does not seem to be slowing down anytime soon. This begs the question, why do my countrymen love these weapons so much that they would choose them over their wives, children, or even their own lives? Yes, I said over their own lives as they often say they will die before they give up their precious firearms, and they mean it as
scary as that is.

So, again … why does this country have such a disturbing obsession with guns? To understand this, perhaps it is worth noting that guns have been a part of the American experience pretty much since the “birth” of this nation, although can we really call what we did the Native American people as “birth”? The answer is very simple, no we can’t but that is an entirely different topic for a different day, and a different post. Back to this gun obsession, I know that I get sidetracked at times so my apologies. This gun obsession that Americans have comes from the pesky and often misunderstood 2nd amendment and the “right to bear arms” that was written into the bill of rights more than two centuries ago. Yes, we are to blame for this obsession with guns and the consequences of that obsession. When I say “we”, I do not mean you and we as citizens but our founding fathers take the blame for America’s addiction to guns and everything that goes with it. The fathers were not clear in writing that amendment and used very vague language in its creation, but how could they have known what was to come?

Despite repeated statements by the gun lovers, the founding fathers did intend for single shot muskets when they drafted this document, not the destructive weapons being used today. They did not want people to be able to have the ability to shoot 13.3 rounds per second like many of these guns are capable of today and they certainly did not think we would find ourselves in a nation where guns make us less free and less safe, not more.

They wrote the 2nd amendment with the goal of protecting against a takeover of their newly founded independent nation and from the potential tyranny of that time.I don’t know about you but do you see our government in the year 2017 becoming “tyrannical” and killing us all? Wait, if you are one of the gun extremists then you most likely do, hence why we have the massive firestorm of push back when we mention gun control at all. Most of us do not believe our government would do this, it is just not plausible in our current nation and has not been for quite some time.

I am sure that you can get some idea where this obsession came from, the men who wrote the Constitution did have our best interests in mind but should have been more specific in their wording or at least left it open to discussion, they created the gun culture and obsession with guns and caused a lot of harm in doing so. More than an obsession with guns, many Americans have an obsession with the bill of rights, but not every one of those rights, just amendment #2. They seem to be perfectly fine with LGBT people being denied the right to marry and have equal protection under the law, prisoners held without due process in detention camps, or women being denied equality in the workplace and with control of their own healthcare choices. Just don’t try to take away their guns, if you do these people truly go into psychotic breakdown mode. I am sure that you can see how this is not a healthy obsession, it is a dangerous and borderline insane preoccupation that has well documented deadly consequences.

Anytime people bring up the issue of gun laws and how we can reduce gun violence this obsession kicks in and the usual talking points begin. They will go into the usual myths and repeat what the gun lobby tells them to believe and in doing this they try to force these beliefs on you and me. They go into a state of mania similar to those whom bipolar and will go on and on for hours with how the 2nd amendment is “untouchable’ and their right to bear arms is written in stone.

This obsession with guns and the founding documents is unique to this country as most countries do have gun rights enshrined in the constitution and the ones who do certainly do not have a population who is fixated on 200 plus year old words and policies or obsessed with an object, let alone an object responsible for the death of tens of thousands of their fellow citizens. I have travelled all around the world and the number one question I am asked is why are people in my country so obsessed and in love with guns. They ask why we love guns more than anything else and what is so great about these weapons. Of course these are sensible questions to ask, for a sane person.

I usually cannot answer these inquiries as it even baffles me, and I was born here and have lived here most of my life. People in other countries cannot believe and even grasp this passion for guns that many have in the U.S., especially with the record number of mass shootings and gun violence we experience on a daily basis. In order to understand America’s obsession with guns and our insane gun culture we must look at the gun culture (or lack) in other nations, it is truly eye opening. Let’s compare the U.S. and the U.K. for example, the vast difference in guns owned as well as gun fatalities tells the story. According to the CIA world fact book as well as sources like Everytown for Gun Safety research and Gun Violence Archive, the following numbers show us how this obsession we have as Americans has deadly outcomes.

In the United Kingdom, a nation of 65+ million people they have a total of 4.06 million legally owned firearms while here in the United States, a country of 315 million people we have over 275 million guns in the hands of civilians, not to mention the illegal ones owned. That equates to 88.9 guns per 100 U.S. residents and only 6.2 guns per 100 people in the hands of our U.K. friends. The pro-gun people like to compare the population of these nations to ours as one of their myths but you cannot compare as even nations with a lot of people have low gun violence, take Japan for example. In the nation of Japan they have less than 20 gun deaths per year yet have a population of 118-120 million people, this proves that more guns equal more death, every single time.

Population isn’t the number we need to focus on, that number  is the firearms owned per 100 citizens of the two nations. That number clearly shows citizens of the U.S. have an obsession with guns while our allies do not. It should be noted that nations with a high gun civilian ownership rate naturally have a high rate of gun homicides and other deaths, more guns equal more death. This goes without saying as we look at those numbers, they are truly astounding. Some 13,286 people were killed by guns (excluding suicide) by guns here in the United States in 2015 while our British friends had just 144 deaths involving guns the last year a study was conducted (2013) while having an astonishingly low 23 gun murders.

We know what the deadly toll of U.S. gun violence is and we compare it to our peer nations time and time again to get the facts, I believe that it is important to look at this as a factor in America’s gun obsession. Our obsession with these deadly weapons plays a major role in the gun violence problem we face year after year, these other nations are not enamored with guns and therefor do not have even close to the amount of gun violence that we do here in the USA. The facts are clear that if we have less guns as well as a nation that is not obsessed with them then we will have less gun violence and live in a much safer country that works for all of us.

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