My metaphor for the past year involves an empty champagne bottle I indulged in to celebrate its beginning. This theoretical bottle of champagne, for some wondrous and miraculous reason slowly filled up during the year based on the events that occurred. This past year’s bottle of champagne would be over-flowing, as 2012 was.
Some memorable events include: the seemingly endless presidential election … the tragic shootings in Newtown and Aurora … Psy’s hit “Gangnam Style”…the Penn State scandal…Hurricane Sandy… and the dreaded “fiscal cliff” to mention only a handful among many, many others.
Two of the most tragic events of the year were the shootings in Aurora, Colorado and Newtown, Connecticut. While I was reviewing blog posts for last year, I came across numerous posts on other shootings, such as the shooting at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin. There were also frequent debates and concerns from across the country on gun control. In case you’re interested, the following article lists the shootings that occurred across the country in 2012. A sobering read, to say the least: http://www.thenation.com/blog/171774/fifteen-us-mass-shootings-happened-2012-84-dead#.
Without a doubt, we will see more talk about gun control this year.
In an article titled For 2013, Let’s Ban Cars and Guns from the Huffington Post, the author makes what is perhaps an obvious point that both “people driving cars” and “people shooting guns kill people.” But he points out that no one is suggesting that we ban cars, or guns (although banning guns or not might be a debatable point for some). Cars reportedly kill almost 33,000 people per year and guns supposedly kill around 30,000 American’s a year. Although with regards to that particular gun statistic, I find that factcheck.org is a more accurate source reporting 11,078 gun homicides in 2010: http://factcheck.org/2012/12/gun-rhetoric-vs-gun-facts/. Being accurately informed is a must people, check your sources.
The U.S. also has the highest gun ownership of any country and the most homicides among similarly developed countries. Factcheck.org also reports that 88.8 out of 100 American’s own a gun/s. That is a higher number than I would have guessed. Also mentioned in the article was a Harvard study which essentially found that more guns is a recipe for more homicide. I’m sure someone somewhere is ready to dispute that, despite the fact that this is a pretty reliable source.
One important point being made in the article is that more gun regulation is necessary just as we regulate cars. The comparison is after all, a good one. The author suggest implementing regulatory measures such as: “licensing with written and practical tests, frequent renewal including updated photo and medical questionnaire, product registration and mandatory liability insurance policy, effective enforcement of product safety and use regulations”, and “industry or publicly funded awareness and safety campaigns” among a number of other regulatory measures. What should also be mentioned more clearly as a regulatory measure are adequate background checks and reviews into those with reported mental illness. I would imagine that if we did indeed have better regulatory measures for guns, perhaps gun violence would go down. However, without proper research on this subject the appropriate measures, if there are any, can’t be taken. Thanks to the gun lobby, research on gun violence and safety has been practically non-existent in recent years.
Since guns will clearly never magically disappear from our country and as long as people continue to be people, some gun violence seems inevitable. Right now, I would argue that some of the best preventative measures against this are better regulation as is pointed out in the aforementioned article For 2013, Let’s Ban Cars and Guns. Whether this is done at a national or state level remains to be seen, after all, it seems Washington is having a hard time accomplishing anything these days.