This subject is one of the concept that I have the most difficulties to understand: The attitude of people in the US towards its Second Amendment. What I cannot get is that such a vast majority of US citizens can protect such a right in view of the damages it makes in their society. The second amendment has been written into the US bills of rights in 1791. Every one has the right to bear arms for self-protection. Come on! We are in 2015. The time of the wild wild west is over. Billy the kid has long gone! What good it was to have a weapon on yourself at the time of Oklahoma City’s bombing or on 9/11/2001? None. Sorry it offered no self-protection. Why spend money on the army, the FBI or the police departments if there is no need for them to protect the citizens?
In view of the gun violence related figures of 2015, 52 000 incidents so far this year, including 329 mass shooting*, 90% of the world mass shootings since 1975. 13 232 people were killed so far in 2015 another 26 681 were injured. 693 children** have been killed by guns in 2015 and another 2 662 teens*** have died in the same way. Finally 20 000 people kill themselves with fire arms every years (source: GunViolenceArchive.org). These figures do not include gang related incidents, terrorist attacks, criminal underground affairs or police shootings. This makes it the 5 or 6th cause of death every year. It does not even make it in the top ten either in the UK or France!
Events such as Columbine’s, Aurora’s or Sandy Hooks or the figures above have absolutely no influence on the US population’s psyche. This Christmas, the sales of weapons as presents has shown an increase of 24% compare to last year (which showed a 17% increase from 2013). 41% of all publicly owned weapons in the world are owned by US citizens. There are over 300 million guns in the US. Only 1/3 of them are hand guns!
In vue of such events and such figures, I believe that in most countries in the world legislations to control and/or prevent the possession of fire arms would be brought in. The pressure of the street would win over any weapons lobby! In the US the consensual solution is always more guns: Guns on campuses, in schools, in public places. Guns to protect yourself from guns!
At first I though that the weapon industry had such a power over the political class because of its prevalent position in the US economy that it made it very difficult to change the legislation. I was wrong. It is true that the US is the first exporter of weapons in the world with $33 billions in revenue and a about 210 000 jobs, but it is far behind the oil industry, the agro-farming lobby or the tech business! So, why does the weapons lobby has such an influence on politicians and the population in general.
It is through its powerful lobby: the NRA (National Rifle Association). When it was created in 1871 this association had the purpose of “promoting and encourage rifle shooting on a scientific basis.” It is far from its original goals, now! With over 5 million members, it has become one of the most powerful political lobby in the Capitol. It has a budget of $256 million. It has spent a mere $10 million on promoting and defending the second amendment during the last presidential election. Furthermore, it is said that 60% of the population would say no to any changes to the second amendment. So, it is fair to say that if you do not support the NRA and the second amendment, you will not get into office.
Even with such a powerful lobby such as the NRA. The incredible cost of gun violence to the US society: $229 billion, more than six times what it brings into the US economy, should have an incidence on US politicians and the public in general. But, no, the spending on a fair universal health care system, costing $251 billion is more controversial in the eyes of most US people or politicians. And I don’t even want to mention the budget of defense…
No one seems to care about the welfare of people in this country. An universal welfare system does more for a society than the right to bear a weapon! I don’t get it, the right to kill is more important to most US people than the right to live a decent, healthy life! How can you live in such a society? Guns are not freedom!
How can you in your own mind let this happen?
* Mass shootings: 4+ people per incidents. ** Age: 0 to 10 years old. *** Age: 11 to 18 years old.