Before I start writing this, I’d like to mention that I am sitting in a “gun-free zone”, my city centre library. Gun yahoos claim that a leading cause of gun homicides is not the presence of a gun, but the presence of a “gun-free zone”. I assert that that is bunkum, but we shall see.
I got home from work last night and logged on to the news. There was news from America of a shooting, but, in a country that averages roughly one shooting per hour, this one was pretty noteworthy. A news reporter and a camera man had been shot dead – pretty much on live television.
And, as usual, I went to Facebook to see what the gun yahoos were saying. And as usual they were saying pretty much the same as they were in December 2012, when more than two dozen people were massacred in Connecticut. They were trotting out every excuse under the sun. ne person wrote the shooting off as a “normal” piece of “workplace drama”. Well, my boss will testify to the fact that I personally ignite about three workplace dramas a day. And so far, no one has been shot. Could this happy result be due to the absence of a gun? And another person said that all of America’s shootings occurred because of the “sin” in the world. Hmm, I’m pretty sure that I “sinned” this morning, but nobody got shot.
Then the writers stated writing their pieces. Scott Lemieux wrote the piece linked above, in which he asserts that as well as the overabundance of guns needing to be on the agenda, the marginalisation of black people needs to be added if there is to be a settlement. He is wrong. I say, and many other people agree, that the overabundance of guns should be the first and last item on the agenda.
No one can doubt that African Americans are (typically) marginalised in American society and less wealthy than their white citizen-brothers. I’d like you to consider a comparison with France. France too has a large and marginalised black community. But France does not have the level of homicides that America has. France has !.0 homicides per hundred thousand head of population. In America, that figure is 4.8.
The whole world was shocked in January this year when they read of the shootings at a newspaper office in Paris, France. Once again, during and after the event, there were excuses made by the rather ill-informed American gun lobby. They pointed to the fact that there isn’t a “culture” in France of having a “good guy with a gun” everywhere to counter the bad guys (though, since America’s homicide rate is four times that of France, the “good guy” approach is surely a failure). They said that with guns it is impossible to defend oneself.
Then in France this month came a report of a gun incident on a train. It appeared that a terrorist was moments away from launching a devastating attack on the Amsterdam to Paris Express. But, fortunately, around a half dozen people had successfully raised the alarm and captured the criminal. Not one of those heroes was armed. How can that be possible, if the only way to defend oneself is with a gun?
The plain fact of the matter us that the only item that needs attention is the overabundance of guns in America. These guns are used to shoot youths innocently walking along the sidewalk, people in movie theatres, and even recently an armed man attacked a police station in Texas (surely no one would be stupid enough to assert that the police station was a gun free zone?). When gun yahoos learn that I am in Europe they point to how “dangerous” Britain is. They highlight the murder of Lee Rigby, but can’t explain how in a country with 100 million “good guys with guns” a similar homicide was allowed to happen in New Jersey. They say that criminals simply use other weapons (they don’t; the evidence of the lower homicide rate says that criminals simply don’t resort to violence. Could this be because Europe does not have America’s culture of violence?) They say…they say anything possible, even attacking my right to free speech, rather than what they actually should be saying. That gun homicides do not occur in locations where there are no guns.
Well, that’s seven hundred odd words…and still no gun fire in this “gun-free zone”.