Letter: Americans are being killed by Americans

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Something is bad wrong here. Another month, another mass shooting in America. This time, as with so many other times, the shooter was an American. And yet, neither the government nor the president call this terrorism, as they do when someone of Arab descent kills Americans within our borders.

This is interesting because according to Politifact, deaths due to all jihadist attacks on U.S. soil from 2005 to 2015 are 71, while total gun deaths during the same decade are 301,797. And that’s the point: Americans with guns have killed many more Americans here than terrorist attacks have – 4,250 times more.

How can we justify this? How can we be so afraid of foreign terrorism – to the point of giving up essential freedoms – yet allow ourselves to become numb to the death and destruction caused by home-grown extremists carrying deadly firepower? And how can we believe for a minute that this isn’t tearing apart the fabric of our nation?

Something is bad wrong here.

Ted Markow
Brunswick

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  • EdBeem

    And how can anyone possibly believe that easy access to millions of guns has nothing to do with the epidemic of gun violence?

    • Ted Markow

      Some interesting stats from Vox:
      1) America has six times as many firearm homicides as Canada, and nearly 16 times as many as Germany.
      2) America has 4.4 percent of the world’s population, but almost half of the civilian-owned guns around the world.
      3) There have been more than 1,500 mass shootings since Sandy Hook.
      4) On average, there is more than one mass shooting for each day in America.
      5) States with more guns have more gun deaths.
      6) It’s not just the US: Developed countries with more guns also have more gun deaths.
      7) States with tighter gun control laws have fewer gun-related deaths.
      https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/10/2/16399418/us-gun-violence-statistics-maps-charts

      But wait, there’s more from CNBC (10/2015):
      $13.5 billion – Annual revenue of gun and ammunition manufacturing industry, with a $1.5 billion profit.
      $3.1 billion – Annual revenue of gun and ammunition stores, with a $478.4 million profit.
      10,847,792 – The number of pistols, revolvers, rifles, shotguns and miscellaneous firearms manufactured in the U.S. in 2013, the latest full year available.
      270-310 million – Estimated of number of guns in the U.S.
      $229 billion – The cost of fatal and non-fatal gun violence to the U.S. in 2012, representing 1.4% of total gross domestic product.
      https://www.cnbc.com/2015/10/02/americas-gun-business-by-the-numbers.html

      Denial is a powerful force, Ed, and it doesn’t seem to matter whether it’s the result of a salary or an ideology. Denial will probably be the undoing of us all.

      • Little crow

        It only follows that the U.S. has more murders than Canada and Germany, as we have more people than they do. We may have half of the civilian-owned guns in the world, but I think that’s a good thing. According to your logic, shouldn’t the fact that we have half of the civilian-owned guns mean that our murder rate should be 10 times higher than it is? Most of the rest of your “facts” run counter to everything I’ve read about the subject. The world’s leading expert on firearm statistics is John Lott, and are documented in his book “More Guns, Less Crime”.

        Even if all these statistics you mention were true, which they are not, it doesn’t change the fact that the right to bear arms is a right that belongs to us, and if you want to forfeit your constitutional rights that’s your problem, but leave ours alone.

        • Ted Markow

          The statistics I mentioned have multiple sources, which gives the whole picture a lot more credibility than your one source, Joh Lott…whose study and book have been questioned, if not, debunked.

          ‘…Lott is the de facto talking head for the pro-gun community on news programs such as Fox News. He has also testified numerous times in front of Congress and state legislatures, having been a critical voice in the expansion of Right-to-Carry (RTC) laws.

          ‘Yet his daunting resume fails to tell the entire story. While his initial research was groundbreaking, further examination revealed numerous flaws. Today the “more guns, less crime” hypothesis has been thoroughly repudiated.’
          https://www.armedwithreason.com/shooting-down-the-gun-lobbys-favorite-academic-a-lott-of-lies/

          ‘A 2001 study in the Journal of Political Economy by University of Chicago economist Mark Duggan did robustness checks of Lott and Mustard’s study and found that the findings of the Lott and Mustard study were inaccurate.[28]’
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Lott

          ‘John Lott is a right-wing author who has made claims about the benefits of guns using fabricated evidence. To support his points on the Internet, he adopts various pseudonyms (known as sock puppets) who write in supporting John Lott and giving his books good reviews.

          Lott is Resident Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank, where he “studies crime, antitrust, education, gun control, campaign finance, and voting and legislative behavior”. [1]’
          https://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/John_Lott

          ‘But Lott’s recent successes belie a far more shadowy past. A little over a decade ago, he was disgraced and his career was in tatters. Not only was Lott’s assertion that more guns leads to more safety formally repudiated by a National Research Council panel, but he had also been caught pushing studies with severe statistical errors on numerous occasions. An investigation uncovered that he had almost certainly fabricated an entire survey on defensive gun use. And a blogger revealed that Mary Rosh, an online commentator claiming to be a former student of Lott’s who would frequently post about how amazing he was, was in fact John Lott himself. He was all but excommunicated from academia.’
          https://thinkprogress.org/debunking-john-lott-5456e83cf326/

          ‘During the October 2 broadcast of CNN Newsroom with Carol Costello, host Carol Costello said, “I don’t really want to have a debate this morning, I actually want to have a conversation, so I’ve invited John Lott.” Lott, whose infamous research linking permissive gun laws to lower crime rates has been thoroughly discredited, then proceeded to use the segment as an opportunity to push numerous falsehoods about the October 1 shooting at Umpqua Community College (UCC) where a gunman killed nine people and wounded seven others.’
          https://www.mediamatters.org/blog/2015/10/02/cnn-allows-discredited-gun-researcher-john-lott/205944

          This is no longer a 2nd amendment issue – this is a moral issue that threatens to further tear this nation’s fabric into thin strips. And as for the 2nd amendment, it was written in a much different era and needs to be revised…soon!

          Very few people that I’ve spoken with or read are calling for a total repeal of all guns in the USA, but instead, a more robust law to make it harder to acquire guns and ammunition. But as you mentioned, all the laws in the world probably won’t prevent more mass shootings – we are already awash in human-slaughtering firepower. The use of robust background checks and waiting periods and a change to the 2nd amendment are needed.

          • Little crow

            Most of your sources are left-wing statists who have have no respect for the Constitution, and yet dominate the media, who will not tell you of the numerous cases where guns have saved lives and prevented tragedy.

            I’ll ask the same thing of you that I did of Mr. Beem: Do you want to enforce existing law?, because that’s not happening. Wouldn’t that be a good place to start before you strip your neighbors of their Constitutional rights? And please tell me how more laws are going to stop people who have contempt for the law.

            Would you like your right to free speech curtailed because there are those who were irresponsible with their First Amendment rights? There are movements right now to get commentators taken off the air by people who don’t like what they are hearing. Our rights to privacy and property and protection from illegal searches have been badly eroded.

            You write that you know few people who want a repeal of all gun rights. That may be true, but there are plenty of people in positions of power who do not trust average citizens, and they are eager to virtually outlaw guns, as they have in England, Australia and to some degree in Canada.

            The 2nd Amendment is based on a timeless principle that is the same now as when it was written: it is our right to self defense and our insurance policy against tyranny where the people are sovereign, not the government.

            This right is for you as well. Don’t you want the right to defend yourself if attacked? But if you are really grimly determined to disarm your neighbors, circulate a petition to repeal the 2nd Amendment.

          • EdBeem

            You do understand, don’t you, that the 2nd Amendment is not absolute? There are many constitutional limitations on the right to bear arms.

          • Little crow

            Yes, I do. I also understand that the right’s original intent as well as its interpretation is that is is an individual right, as laid out in the Federalist papers as well as Bill of Rights.

          • EdBeem

            A lot of gun rights folks seem to believe that the Constitution does not allow any limitations on the 2nd Amendment. But the US Supreme Court has said that the right to bear arms is an individual right subject to restrictions on who may possess firearms and what kinds of firearms a citizen can own.

          • Little crow

            Of course. It has been well established.

          • Ted Markow

            I have contacted my representatives in Congress telling them that I believe it is time to amend the 2nd Amendment so that it can no longer be used as cover for mass slaughter.

            No, I’m not holding my breath.

          • Ted Markow

            “Most of your sources are left-wing statists who have have no respect for the Constitution…”

            No, I’m not going to let you squirm out of this with a canard such as that. Many of the sources are not left-wing, and who are you to decide who respects the Constitution and who doesn’t? Total BS.

            As for curtailing free speech, that already happens, and should continue in certain cases. Saying outright defamatory lies about people is…well, defamation and is subject to prosecution. Same with libel and threatening someone’s life. All of these curtail speech, as well they should.

            Look, you and I are not going to agree…that’s clear. However, when I read defenses for the indefensible, as the mounting mass shootings/murders resulting from a nation awash in firearms are, my esteem for the defenders goes very low. And it just goes to show that you can’t raise the consciousness by lowering the bar, as we are seeing.

          • Little crow

            When I refer to left wing statists I mean almost all of the mainstream media as well as most in academia and Hollywood actors and producers: basically those who drive the modern culture. I think the Constitution means what it says, and when people say it means something else because they don’t like what it says I say they are disrespecting the Constitution. We have, for example, four Supreme Court judges who repeatedly disrespect the Constitution (Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayer and Kagan).

    • Little crow

      Because it doesn’t. Look at the living laboratories that we have: the places that don’t restrict the law-abiding citizens access to guns are the safest places to live, Maine being a good example. The most dangerous places to live are the ones with strict gun control laws. As of last week, Chicago had 601 murders since January. It is almost impossible to legally buy a gun in Chicago. And while we’re on the subject, why hasn’t the media made a fuss about the murder rate in Chicago? Aren’t 601 murders in ten months a lot more than all the mass killings combined?

      You wouldn’t know it to follow the media, but the crime rate nationally has been going steadily down since 1990, the big cites being the only exception. So whatever “epidemic” there is of gun violence is actually a problem with our failure to deal effectively with criminals.

      • EdBeem

        Criminals don’t by guns in Chicago. Just as guns used in crimes in Massachusetts often come from Maine, where it is easier to buy a gun. To argue that the number of gun in the US and the relative ease in acquiring them does not contribute to gun violence is naïve at best. From FactCheck.org:

        As for Chicago, the Pew Research Center published a report in 2014 that found that while Chicago had seen a lot of murders in raw numbers, smaller cities had a higher rate, adjusted for population. Using FBI data — with the caveat that it is reported by local police agencies and not always consistently — the Pew Research Center determined that the top cities in 2012 for the murder rate were Flint, Michigan; Detroit; New Orleans; and Jackson, Mississippi. Chicago came in 21st.

        An August 2013 CDC report looked at rates for gun homicides in the 50 most populous metropolitan areas. It found that for 2009-2010, the top gun murder rate areas were, in order: New Orleans, Memphis, Detroit, Birmingham, St. Louis, Baltimore, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Philadelphia and Chicago.

        Six of those cities are in states with poor scores for their gun laws, while the other four get a “C” or better. Chicago, which placed last in the top 10, had a ban on handguns at the time. There’s no discernible pattern among those cities, nor clear or convincing evidence in these statistics that shows more gun laws lead to more or less gun crime.

        • Little crow

          You are correct that criminals don’t buy guns in Chicago. They steal them or buy them illegally. If they are a convicted felon, they can’t buy a gun legally anywhere, as they must pass the background check. I feel like I’m repeating myself, but if you pass gun control laws, the only people to obey them will be the law-abiding citizens, and law abiding citizens are not the problem.

          We have federal gun laws on the books now that have not been enforced for the last 8 years. Are you in favor of enforcing those laws now, or would you rather let 45,000 federal gun crimes go unprosecuted every year, as it was during the Obama administration?

          If you don’t like the 2nd amendment and you want to deprive your fellow citizens of their Constitutional rights, then why don’t you start a petition to repeal it?