The Pathos of Politics (112-3) US Civilian Firearms

 US Civilian Firearms

To tackle gun violence where it is overwhelming communities with the extraordinary loss of lives at an alarming pace, we must deal with it as a social disease and health issue. ~ American sociologist Ronald Holt

Though there is no excuse for brutality, the ability of the citizenry to strike a lethal blow at law enforcement affects the rapidity of police violence, at least according to the police.

The United States is unique among the most-developed democracies for its proliferation of firearms among the populace. There are more guns in the US than there are residents. With less than 5% of the world’s population, Americans possess nearly half of the world’s civilian-owned guns: well over 360 million.

This is a political choice that we make. We collectively are answerable to those families who lose their loved ones because of our inaction. ~ President Barack Obama about civilian gun ownership

Despite the ongoing slaughter owing to the ease of owning firearms, the National Rifle Association gun lobby in the US has thwarted effective attempts to staunch the blood flow. This successful intimidation by lobbyists poignantly illustrates American tyranny of the minority: how democracy dysfunctions in the face of a well-moneyed force. Politicians everywhere serve their own perceived self-interest, not those of society at large, or even their constituents.

While most guns in the US are owned by ostensibly law-abiding citizens, their abundance makes it easy for the criminally inclined and insanely angry to be packing heat. It is no wonder that US police are skittish about confronting someone who looks to be committing a crime. The fear inherent in racism makes police especially trigger-happy in this gun-toting land.

A primary factor driving gun violence aimed at strangers is economics: a lethal expression of frustration. This is particularly true of mass shootings at schools.

Consider how important schools are to American ideas about economic opportunity and upward mobility. Schools are focal points of violent responses to increased unemployment. ~ American sociologist John Hagan

Despite the plethora of firearms in the US, other countries take the cake when it comes to gunning people down. Men in the Caribbean islands, and Central and South America, tend to be especially murderous. The macho culture of violence in those countries has much to do with it, as the does the ready availability of firearms.

Urban violence is socially regressive because it mostly affects the poor, and fighting crime devours a portion of the public budget, which could instead be invested to eradicate poverty. ~ Columbian politician Rodrigo Guerrero Velasco