When the funerals in Orlando are over, the memorial candles have died out and the Facebook posts have faded, your interest in this issue will wane - as it did in Columbine, Sandy Hook, Aurora, San Bernadino, VA Tech and Charleston before that. The NRA and Congressional conservatives are counting on that.
Although they receive publicity because they are sensationalistic, there are about 25 mass killings every year in this country, and that has been true for decades. Every year there are about 150 to 200 victims of mass murder in the U.S. And that is not to take anything away from tragic events like Sandy Hook or the Pulse nightclub, but those numbers pale in comparison to the 12,000 homicides and 22,000 gun suicides that occur every year in America. And we should add to those numbers the 84,000 non-fatal injuries that occur every year from guns. That's where the real gun problem to society lies.
Let’s accept one thing, a gun is an instrument of violence. The purpose of a gun is to kill. It has no other purpose. In his NY Times column, Nicholas Kristof pointed out that, "More Americans have died from guns in the United States since 1968 than on the battlefields of all the wars in American history.”
The modern gun’s lethality combined with our refusal to provide meaningful help to the many angry, depressed and otherwise troubled or hopeless people in society has made gun violence the focal point of a perfect storm. Whether it be depressed housewives, troubled students, overstressed business executives or ghetto kids who feel they have no other future, easy access to guns make the 34,000 lives lost each year truly tragic.
The only way to ultimately solve the problem is to ban guns, as every other civilized nation has done. The facts are incontestable - homicides and suicides drop dramatically wherever guns are banned. It isn’t that suicidal people, for example, just find other ways, those suicides just don’t happen. Same with homicides. Homicide rates in domestic violence cases escalate dramatically when a gun is present. Guns simply make the taking of a life, yours or someone else’s, just too easy. but in the meantime, there are steps we can take.
I have researched the situation at length and have written two articles that address the problems and propose some solutions. If you are interested in more than the current sensation, you might want to read them: