Joe Randazzo: They are not assault rifles; it is despair. Guns are just the method
This commentary is from Joe Randazzo from South Burlington, writer and former case resolution specialist for ICE.
The failure of the US Senate to pass gun control measures arouses a great deal of outrage. In response, President Biden is attempting to initiate controls through executive action. The Justice Department is moving quickly to hold the country’s police departments accountable for their abuses.
These efforts are necessary, but ultimately the legislative approach will not end the violence.
If you look at the mass murders in this country, they are only a small part of our total. There were 38,390 gun deaths in 2018, the latest year for full statistics; 337 were part of mass shootings.
But if we also factor in casualties (28,233) and defensive gun deaths (1888), the total jumps to 68,511 people shot dead in the United States.
Our lawmakers believe that insisting on background checks at gun shows, or limiting the capacity to a 10-round magazine, or banning assault rifles or a particular pistol stock, will ensure a somehow our security. It is false security.
So far this year, as of April 20, 177 people have been killed in Chicago, 32 more than in 2020. More people are killed in this city, in a year, than in all of Scandinavia or in many countries Europeans.
It was not a mass murder in Chicago. These people died one or two at a time, often in gang-related crimes. Shooters who obtain these weapons will still be able to find them. There are millions of them in circulation and they simply cannot be confiscated. If they are banned, a thriving black market will be created.
There are thousands of guns on the streets of New York City, despite Sullivan’s Law, one of the toughest anti-gun measures in the U.S. The same is true of Boston: Massachusetts has one some of the country’s toughest gun laws, yet Boston gang members can get any handgun they want.
In 2020, there were 393 million guns in the United States for 328 million people. We are number one in the world for the possession of civilian weapons per capita, with 120 weapons per 100,000 inhabitants.
Out of 230 countries studied, Canada ranks very high in seventh place for per capita gun ownership with 34.7 firearms. The United States is twice as numerous as the Falkland Islands (62) and four times as many as the violence-torn Iraq, 19th (29.6).
Vermont ranks 16th in the United States in per capita gun ownership, but we are last in gun homicides. Why don’t Vermont and Canada have high gun murder rates? A .22 caliber farm rifle or shotgun can be loaded and fired fast enough that anyone can commit mass murder.
No, it’s not just the availability and type of guns: it’s our quality of life. We have a culture that glorifies violence. Watch the video games our kids are playing. Have you ever stopped to examine the level of violence present? The fundamental cause of many school murders is the exposure of young people to these games.
In our large cities, unwarranted police violence against people of color is unprecedented. Our police services are now militarized and our national ethics are based on military domination. Ninety-five percent of all military bases on earth are American.
Is it any wonder then that all this is flowing in the streets? This problem does not concern a lone terrorist sympathizer who shoots a nightclub in Orlando, or a mentally disturbed Federal Express employee and the gun he was carrying.
This is an entire culture immersed in violence, and our violence begins at the top. Our military / industrial / government complex is too powerful. Yes, laws are needed to prevent military firearms from falling into the wrong hands, but it is a distraction and a partial solution at best.
French pediatrician Dr Jérôme Lejeune said: “The quality of a civilization can be measured by the respect it has for its weakest members.
When our national policy calls for drones to be sent around the world that kill innocent civilians in “collateral damage”, and people like Trump talk about building walls and racial profiling as if that wasn’t a big deal, it is no wonder that we are in a state of despair.
The murder will stop when it stops on its own. You cannot legislate against it. If we pass laws against gun ownership, magazine capacity, or any other false security method, it will not end the violence. Our country is full of weapons and they will not go away.
Rather, our lawmakers should create universal health care, affordable housing and tuition fees, raise the minimum wage to livable levels, and tackle drug epidemics in our inner cities. Our social infrastructure is crumbling and we are in decline.
We cannot create a permanent, poor underclass that has no hope and then wonders why there is violence. If we don’t realize that all Americans have the right to a happy life, the killings will never stop.
Guns are only the method, not the cause.