Our neighbors to the North, population 36 million, have 7 million guns, and only 200 gun deaths per year. Why? The FBI estimate there's probably one gun for every man, woman, and child in this country of 310 million people. It's hard to wrap our minds around 310 million firearms in the U.S. Why are we awash in firearms? Is it a source of pride, of American "exceptionalism"?
Yemen, an Al Qeda terrorist haven and teetering failed state, comes second. Does this mean that by our standards of American exceptionalism, Yemen must be exceptional too? The United States is among the leading nations (top 10) in the world in gun violence. Its gun suicide rate per 100,000 people is off the charts at 7.35, although this statistic from a 1998 study is a bit dated.
Arizona has the most permissive gun laws in the nation and is the 2nd deadliest gun death state. (Sure puts the lie to the gun lobby propaganda that lax gun laws somehow reduce the level of gun violence.) Consider the top five GUN DEATH states and what they have in common: #1, Mississippi, Gov. Haley Barbour (R), red state; #2, Arizona, Gov. Jan Brewer (R), red state; #3, Alaska, Sean Parnell (R), PALINSTATE; #4, Arkansas, Gov. Mike Beebe (D), red state; and #5, Louisiana, Gov. Bobby Jindal (R), red state. Four of the top five (the Dems, incredibly weren't shut out of this dubious "honor") GUN DEATH states are led by Republican governors, and all five are predominantly GOP-controlled.
In this compelling segment from Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine the filmmaker directly influences a change in Wal-Mart's policy of selling firearms ammunition. It can be done. Passing rational gun control laws is not beyond our power as citizens. Here is Rachel's interview with Michael:
As Michael recites the Canadian model, which regulates but doesn't restrict responsible gun ownership, the message is clear: Rational gun control laws that keep weapons out of the hands of criminals and unstable, mentally ill individuals, do actually work. If not for the powerful Gun Lobby in this country we would have passed rational gun control laws in the United States a long time ago. In fact we did; but the Democratic Party's profiles in courage allowed the assault weapons ban to expire — because they did not want it to become a Republican campaign issue; also their reasoning for running away from healthcare. That worked out really well.
And still the polls consistently show the American people favor "STRICTER GUN CONTROL LAWS" by solid majorities:
THE OTHER American tragedy is that the people's will cannot be enforced in matters of LIFE AND DEATH, e.g., healthcare and gun control, because here the people DO NOT rule. Here, the multinational corporations and special interests rule. What is worse: that people have to die, or that we can't seem to be able to do anything to stop it? Will this circle of death ever be broken, or do we enjoy the tragedy and pointless self-examination too much?