Violence in America – A followup
(this is a followup post to the gun post below and a response to its comments here and at The Impolitic)
Gun posts certainly do seem to elicit emotional interest. In the post below, I was careful not to mention gun control. I simply reported an incident, the type that seems to be occurring with increasing frequency, and propose a few “what ifs” hoping for some answers. None have been submitted thus far.
I am not so idealistic as to believe that meaningful gun control is even a remote possibility in the US either for criminals or the law abiding. Indeed, gun ownership is so pervasive, so very much a part of American culture, and their availability is so hugely widespread and encouraged, that the only sound prediction is that the saturation of guns in America has not and will probably never peak. Gun control is nothing but a cliche, a hollow utterance by some politicians looking for votes based on their non existent ability to protect the public from cirme.
Statistics are a wonderful tool that can certainly be used to prove that the number of murdered and wounded citizens is really quite small, even acceptable, except perhaps to those who are victimized by it. And the numbers of those seems especially tiny when comparing it to the total number of people in the country. However, the ratio of violent crime to the “population” might increase a little if one did not include newborns, babies, toddlers and say, children under 10, groups that rarely shoot other people and certainly don’t own guns. It might also be increase if we eliminate the totally feeble and those who are institutionalized and have no access to guns. Add to that the people who, for whatever reason, don’t believe in guns and thus don’t and won’t use them.
In other words, what are the numbers of gun crimes and victims when compared to just that part of the population that actually owns guns? Statistics are a wonderful tool.
We are still horrified about the 58,000 dead and hundreds of thousands wounded in Vietnam. Yet, when compared to the total population of the country at the time, that number is miniscule. Does that make it acceptable or less horrific? And certainly the number of dead Americans in the Iraqi war is not worth even mentioning when compared to the entire population of the US.
There is no doubt that as poverty becomes more pervasive and desperation becomes more acute, the number of violent crimes, including those crimes involving fire arms will increase. As more and more of the wealth is sucked from the society by the very few ultra rich, those left behind will use whatever means are available to survive. And herein, lies the future of America.
Ultimately, a society is judged, not by it’s tag lines or its famous quotes or its declarations of freedom and equality. History judges a society by its behavior, its civility and its morality. How will history judge us? Will history look only at the words in our Constitution or the endearinig poem engraved on our lady of liberty? Will history talk about Truth, Justice, and the American Way and leave it at that? Will it call the US a bastion of world freedom and say no more? I think not.
An accurate history of the US will ultimately include its pervasive corporate and political corruption, its greed, its rampant consumption and waste of natural resources, its unquenchable thirst for drugs and its lust for power and position. It will include its racism and its assumption of being better than anyone else. It will include the increasing plight and numbers of the poor and their desperate struggles to survive. It will include the increasing level of violence and the startlingly cruel methods people use to inflict it upon each other. And it will include the state’s inability and unwillingness to control it.
Do I believe in gun control? Yes. Do I think there are countries in which banning or controlling guns can be successful? Yes – already happening. Do I believe that the United States is one of those countries? Absolutely, positively not.
cross posted at The Impolitic