America the Beautiful? I Don’t Know About That
6 months ago
I’ve lived to see so much gun violence that I question the greatness of our nation
Since the mid-1990s, the number of civilian firearms has outpaced the U.S. population, Mother Jones reports. There are 300 million privately owned handguns stashed around the U.S. In 1995, there were an estimated 200 million. Mass shootings, often carried out with assault rifles, ones for which a federal ban expired in 2004, have increased in recent years, according to Mother Jones’ analysis of crime data since 2006.
But that isn’t nearly as concerning as the number of laws passed in recent years to increase the likelihood that you are sitting in a bar, in a church, or at school with an adult carrying a legally concealed firearm, the types of firearms with which the Trayvon Martins and Jordan Davises of the world might be killed every day in “one-off” killings. This week, Florida will issue its 1 millionth concealed carry permit. A federal court in Illinois last week invalidated the state’s ban on carrying concealed firearms – this in a state that encompasses Chicago, from where the president hails and which by early fall had seen its 438th homicide. According to estimates by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, nearly 270 people are shot every day in the U.S.
The idea circulating on social media sites that “America is No. 1” in the world when it comes to gun violence is not completely accurate. We actually rank third among industrialized countries with the most gun homicides, according to Politifact, which, in July, fact-checked the notion after the Aurora, Colo., movie theater massacre that left 12 dead and nearly 60 injured.
But you don’t need much analysis to gather that the U.S. likely ranks first in deadly school shootings. We might be the only industrialized country where you can become obese without trying, can leave public schools without reading at college level, can live in the most-free nation without voting -- and be mowed down by a firearm when you've done nothing to deserve it.
There’s nothing great about that. Nothing at all.