GUNS and GUN Violence .... Awareness and Reality! ...
Guns, gun violence, awareness and reality. In order to properly discuss any topic, we must ALWAYS be objective, not subjective. Personal opinions are fine, but first you have to have the facts. This not a political post nor is it a topic that should be about politics or political parties. However, we all know that politics doesn't work that way. Not to suggest they don't care, they do, but it's in how they approach it. We know that politicians DO NOT always take the path of what their constituents want. Let's face it. No matter what the issue, no one can please everyone. The fact is, that many times to get the votes they need for one Bill they support, they may have to vote for a Bill that someone else is supporting. That's why it's called politics. I will concede that it's the standard negotiating tactic. The real question to be answered is this. Is it right way to handle every issues, and is it always in the best interest of society as a whole?
The gun debate gets quite in depth and complicated, but when taken down to basics, it really has only two sides. Those that want to ban guns, and those that do not. Why complicate the issue with all the grey areas? Oh I forgot, you need that grey area in order to reach a compromise. Silly me. Some facts. Refer to the chart below. You may or may not know this information. The chart is courtesy of http://www.gunviolencearchive.org/, and I believe is updated daily. When you look at all the numbers, it brings to the surface that this is a reality that is a real problem in our society. When we see it periodically on the news, or read about it on social media, we tend to quickly forget. However, over the years these numbers have increased, so it's doubtful that without some type of change those numbers aren't going to decrease.
Gun Violence Archive 2018
Total Number of Incidents 7,697
Number of Deaths1 2,117
Number of Injuries1 3,621
Number of Children (age 0-11) Killed or Injured1 81
Number of Teens (age 12-17) Killed or Injured1 401
Mass Shooting2 34
Officer Involved Incident Officer Shot or Killed2 47
Officer Involved Incident Subject-Suspect Shot or Killed2 334
Home Invasion2 320
Defensive Use2 221
Unintentional Shooting2 246
Gun violence and crime incidents are collected/validated from 2,500 sources daily – incidents and their source data are found at the gunviolencearchive.org website.
1: Actual number of deaths and injuries 2: Number of INCIDENTS reported and verified 22,000 Annual Suicides not included on Daily Summary Ledger
Numbers on this table reflect a subset of all information collected and will not add to 100% of incidents.
Data Validated: February 22, 2018
The real question to be answered is "Why," and what changes are needed? This problem will NEVER go away until the word "WHY is clearly defined. It needs to be addressed and answered. Any death by any weapon is a tragedy at any age, however, we do take it more to heart when it involves children. And those numbers are staggering. The one fact that can not be disputed is, guns don't kill people, people kill people. No more than a car kills people, rather the driver. Inanimate objects are just the mechanism of the act. You do not have to agree with the data presented here, but you can't run from the facts. No gun, no knife, no bow and arrow, will ever got up off the table on it's own and release it's horror. Forgetting about it after you read about it or see it on the news, does NOT make it go away. For the past few years both sides of the aisle, meaning the Democrats and Republications, as well as the hard left and right and others, have argued ridiculous points. Especially now when we have a political system that DOES NOT support our President. That in itself is an embarrassment to our political system. No matter who you like, or who you voted for, our system MUST support our President. PERIOD! If not. we have what you see today in our political arena.
So some laws were passed. Has it changed anything since Sandy Hook? Hell no. Things have gotta worse. Clearly, that's not the answer. Nothing they have done has curbed the problem, nor will it. Look at some of the things argued. And this is just a small list:
Our 2nd. amendment rights.
Banning assault weapons
Limiting magazine capacity sizes
Background checks (on a limited basis)
NOTHING about better education
The list can go on and on. However, with the exception of one thing on that short list I've mentioned, the other items WILL NEVER fix the issue. In an article posted in 2015 by insightcrime.org, an estimated 2000 illegal weapons cross the US-Mexico border per day. Even if that number has increased, or even decreased, is closing every gun shop, not selling one gun in the US, going to stop people who want a gun from getting one? ABSOLUTELY NOT, and if you believe that, you are only fooling yourself. If anything, that will cause a great increase of illegal guns coming into the USA. In the Chicago Crime Lab Study, it was determined that 2 -2.9 percent of crimes where a gun was involved was purchased legally in a gun shop. That leaves about 97% of crimes committed guns being executed with the use of illegal guns. In another article by bustle.com in October 2017, http://bit.ly/2Bzdmh0, the ATF estimated between 1986 to 2013 there were already 40 million more guns than the number of people in this country, and that didn't take into account illegal gun activity.
So as not to belabor this point, the fact that guns are illegally available has been well established and the majority of the cause of this violence. Keep in mind, you only hear about the tragedies, the mass causalities that make the news. You don't hear about the shooting that occur on a daily basis. Therefore, your opinion is based solely on partial information. KNOW THE FACTS. The chart above doesn't lie. Any person that is "INNOCENTLY KILLED" with any weapon, by any means, regardless of their age is unacceptable, but is a reality and there will always be some. However, as I stated earlier, the impact on use as a society is far worse when it affects children. But you already know all of this right? Or maybe you don't.
Let me tell you why. There is a condition called "cognitive dissonance." Basically it means that people will hold on to their own beliefs even when faced with overwhelming evidence to the contrary. In other words, they don't face the truth. Here is reference to a good article about this subject. http://bit.ly/2EN2DSb. Based on this human condition, many will "NOT "accept or believe what is written in this post, or any other article regardless of the references, or factual science based evidence that provides the reality and truth. The reason for these varies. Some don;t want to face that it exists, if they ignore it, it doesn't exist. Until it hits their world. Other simply don't care, are others are just plan stubborn and think they know it all. So where does that leave us?
It leaves us with the facts, the proof, the reality and awareness. Here are some hard cold facts for you to think about:
1. There is no bill that is passed with regards to specific types of guns that will work. At this time, they can't be effectively enforced across the legal and illegal spectrum.
2. Any bill or law is only as good and effective as the "resources" you have available to enforce it.
3. To enforce anything takes time, personnel,and costs money.
4. People do NOT want to pay higher taxes.
5. Without these resources, the problem will never get solved, and only get worse.
Seems hopeless doesn't it? It's not. It will just take our society and our politicians to remove the political line in the sand, put the political party line agendas aside, and come up with, and implement, the "CORRECT" solutions. I do not claim to be an expert or have the answers, nor am I a politician. What I am is an American Citizen born and raised in a country I love. A country that I see doing more arguing than solving. A divided political system that publicly can be an embarrassment at times because they can;t come together and support one person. Our President. Who pays that bill, we do all do. That in itself is another political disaster because now very little or ext to nothing gets accomplished. It turns into a media press show for those in politics to take the stage. My philosophy on that is, don;t tell me what you can and will do, show me and do it. You do not have to be a Harvard graduate to figure out certain things that MUST happen.
1. Reduce or stop the number of illegal weapons coming into this country. PERIOD!
2. DO NOT take the rights of law abiding citizens to own or carry a weapon away. However, GREATLY increase the depth of background checks for those who purchase a weapon.
3. FIX THE GAP. Anyone holding a permit should have to agree to have their medical records open for review. Certain medications that a gun owner may be placed on should be red flagged and the continued validation of their permit evaluated. (I am referring to certain psychotropic medications that can hinder a persons ability to make an rational decision. You may be fine when the permit is issued, but over the next five years before renewal, many things can change, and at renewal, these things are not re-evaluated.)
4. This should be a federal initiative and not a state one. The states simply can't afford to do it. If you meet the qualifications to be issued a permit, , an individual should be able to carry their weapon in any state. Not just the one you live in.
5. Mandatory and random drug testing for anyone who holds a permit to carry a weapon should be put into place. As a USCG licensed Master Captain, my medical records and mandatory random drug testing is required in order to maintain my license due to the number of lives that may be under my direct responsibility. Therefore, that process is already in place on a federal level. It would just have to be extended to people holding permits. Another reason why this should be handled at the Federal level. But it costs "MONEY."
6. EDUCATION, EDUCATION, and more EDUCATION. A more in depth course should be required to obtain a permit.
AUTHOR's OPINION: It will not take just one of the things mentioned to fix this problem, it will take all of them, and maybe more. I am a weapons instructor, NRA member, and a gun permit holder. Therefore, I believe that carrying a weapon is a serious responsibility, not one to be taken lightly. I believe in some points from both sides of the aisle. Nothing is ever one-sided. My years as a prehospital health care provider has provided me the unfortunate experience to see what some of you only read about, or see on the news. When it's up front, close, and personal, when you experience it first hand, it has a far greater impact and meaning.
With that said, it is easy for me to be biased. I would like to believe I am intelligent enough to know that bias is NEVER the answer. Being "Objective" and not "SUBJECTIVE" is paramount in solving any problem. I started this blog by saying these are the facts. The hard cold truth. They are, and are not disputed. Only the correct solutions will solve this ever growing problem which will get worse if not corrected, for many reasons. As sick as these reasons may seem, they are real. Reasons such as fame, publicity, notoriety, making a name for one's self, copy cats etc. All sad but truthful reasons that "some" additional events can and will occur. It will take the joining of all political sides, supplying the required resources and for once, doing it right. That is the only way to solve this ever growing problem. In closing. I ask anyone who is reading this to do one thing. I believe, as I hope you do, that this has reached a critical level in our society. No matter what social media link you took to get here here, please share or retweet the link if you would. So many things rely on awareness. Thank you. ... CJR