I have been fairly disgusted with the human race the majority of the weekend. If you are wondering “Why Jeff? Why have you backslidden to your misanthropic ways? You were doing so good?” Then you obviously haven’t seen anything on a TV screen, the Internet, Reddit, Twitter or in a newspaper in the past 72 hours regarding Orlando, FL.
If this is the case, then I actually envy you.
Other than the senseless & tragic loss of life that occurs when these events happen, I loathe another vile event that always occurs when some deranged religious zealot decides to take up arms. That is the launch of the political vehicle.
This juggernaut of misinformation, bigotry, uselessness, and selfishness roars forth and leaves a trail of slime behind it wherever it goes and the truly horrible thing is that there isn’t just one. There are at least 2. They are cheered on by worshippers who shout out the words that fuel the political vehicles and the whole thing is delivered to you via broadband.
Now, hyperbole aside, we all (hopefully) know what I am talking about. When the Aurora shooting occurred, this argument sprouted up. When Sandy Hook occurred, again this argument sprouted up. Now with Orlando, we have this argument here again and the political vehicles charge forth.
What do we do about the gun violence in America?
You have all of the Conservatives saying “MORE GUNS!” and you have all of the LIberals saying “NO GUNS!”. Then the media comes in with people on both sides and facts and figures fly left and right like cannon fire and then…
No laws get passed to prevent this type of thing. People just end up unfriending each other on Facebook. People hate a certain candidate more and strengthen their resolve to vote this way or that. People’s xenophobia gets strengthened, their religious belief get confirmed, and people mourn.
Personally, I am fucking tired of hearing “Our thoughts and prayers go out to…” when this type of thing happens. I am also tired of hearing mental illness being blamed for every fucking tragedy that occurs in this country, or being Muslim, and I am tired of nothing getting done.
In 2015, according to the Gun Violence Archive, 36 Americans were killed by guns per day. That figure excludes suicides. In 2015 there was an epidemic that toddlers were accidentally shooting themselves or others at least once per week. Globally, we are half the population of all the other 22 high-income nations and we account for over 80% of all the gun related deaths worldwide. We are 10 times more likely to die from a gun related death than people from these other countries and our gun related murder rate is 25 times higher. Matter of fact you can go to this site and see an up to date map and breakdown of the gun related death toll in America!
Now, there’s the data that I was talking about. Some of it is solid, but old. Some it (the stuff from the GVA) also includes incidents including Airsoft guns.
We collect incidents where Airsoft or BB guns are used AS weapons, not where they are used in general vandalism or delinquency. Those collected ARE NOT included in our Incident Totals on the Daily Summary Ledger
However, even though their data may be a little “padded” I still think it’s fairly accurate or as accurate and up to date as you are going t get and I do applaud their transparency. The other side also has data that it throws. Conservatives and the NRA would have everyone believe that we “have a violence problem” and that it is mental illness that is the real issue and not guns.
…people with mental illness are more likely to be the victims of violence.
According to NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) fewer than one-third of adults and half of children with a diagnosed mental illness receive mental health services in a given year and acts of violence by people with mental illness are usually the result of lack of needed mental health services. NAMI also grades states on their contributions towards their mental health care budgets and to expanding medicare/medicaid. To my shock I saw that Texas and quite a few other states was in the green. Then I read the “fine print”:
This is NAMI’s third annual report on state legislation enacted during the course of the year. The reports (2013-2015) have coincided with recovery from a devastating economic recession in which states cut $4.35 billion from the overall mental health care system. At the same time, public awareness of mental illness increased dramatically…
The reason mental illness awareness increased dramatically was because of its demonization through mass shootings and celebrity deaths. Because of these, States starting spending more money on their health care instead of cutting their budgets. But, the Conservative’s have a plan to “restore sanity” to our mental illness care system.
Return the primary responsibility for such services to the states.
Yeah, return the power over my mental health care to the States that cut 4.3 billion from their combined budgets is a great idea! Also, the governor of my state takes advice on mental health care legislation from Scientology, so I think I would like someone as an overseer for the state level. Thanks.
Then there is the other horn of the conservative argument: MORE GUNS!
Donald Trump gave an interview with Alisyn Camerota of CNN and actually said that the mass shooting wouldn’t have happened if the people at the club were armed with guns (despite the fact she tries to tell him that there was an armed security guard in the club). Despite the arming of the populace, there is only one city that has not had a mass shooting since 2013 (and I was shocked when I read where it was): Austin, Texas. I was also kind of shocked when I found that since 1993, we actually had a sharp decline in gun violence, by 50%!
“Researchers have studied the decline in firearm crime and violent crime for many years, and though there are theories to explain the decline, there is no consensus among those who study the issue as to why it happened,”
I can understand the lack of consensus. In 1993 The Brady Bill was passed that requires background checks making sales of firearms more difficult through gun stores; however between 1991 and 1996 and additional 16 states passed legislation allowing the sales of concealed handgun permits, theoretically putting more guns in the hands of citizens. So, we restricted guns and also made guns more accessible at the same time and the rate of gun related violence dropped 50%.
Now gun related violence has maintained its stats since 2009, and you can now get a concealed carry permit in all 50 states.
So, what do we do? Get rid of all of the guns? Get rid of all of the mentally ill people? Continue the war on terror? Continue to create buzz words like assault rifle?
Apparently, no one knows.
No matter what data you see on TV, the Internet, this blog or wherever, it doesn’t erase the fact that people died in a senseless horrible manner for a stupid reason and that’s the part that really matters and that’s the part that gets me mad and makes it to where I don’t enjoy going outside anymore.
Hopefully, things will get better eventually.