In the wake of the Sandy Hook shootings, a conversation on gun control has begun. Some states like New York have already instituted new gun control laws prohibiting assault rifles or gun clips that hold more than seven bullets. The NRA has proposed an idea to give all school teachers guns or, failing that, providing more security at schools around the nation. People are asking what needs to be done about the gun violence in this country. Some are wondering what needs to be done to curb gun violence. However, in light of certain recent reports, there is another question that needs to be asked
The data table was compiled by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. If you looked at the data, you'd notice that 60% of all U.S. homicides are committed with guns. You should also see that the majority of the countries that top this number are 2nd or 3rd world countries with Honduras, Guatemala, and Colombia topping the list of foreign countries that have more gun-related homicides than the U.S. The nations that top the U.S. in gun violence also have fewer guns, like WAY fewer. The U.S. leads the world in gun ownership, yet it doesn't lead the world in gun violence.
Here's some data on global homicide (gun-related or otherwise), also from UNODC. That one's color-coded so you can easily see that the continent of Africa leads the world in homicide. Europe has less guns and less homicide, while Africa has less guns and more homicide. Honestly, looking at these bits of data, I don't see a direct correlation between guns and homicides.
Now this is not a rant about gun rights. I, personally, do not own a gun. There are no guns in my home. I believe they are too dangerous to have around my daughter. My wife, however, is a former member of the NRA, and has a firm faith in guns. I'm not going to start a debate I won't even argue in my own house. What I want to do is propose some questions. Having looked at the data, it's clear that guns aren't the problem. People are. Guns don't make nations safer or turn them into dens of murder. So if there is a rise in violence in America, we need to look at what's wrong with the people. What's wrong with Americans?
I will offer an observation on this question. The nations that have more homicide than the U.S. tend to be poorer than the U.S. The nations that have less homicide than the U.S. seem to have stronger economies than the U.S. Thus a rise in violence here in America could be connected to a rise in poverty. More jobs, less death. Less jobs, more murder.
Then again, there are poorer nations that have less homicide than the U.S. What's their secret? What are they doing in India that's so special? America does have a very violent culture. I was reading an interview with Jeta Amata, the Nollywood director, about how he was told that Black Americans prefer to watch movies with violence in them. He didn't believe that. I do. It's not confined to Black Americans either. It's America. We like violent movies, TV, and video games. Is this our problem? What is wrong with us?
"Squirrels & Puppies: Dark Morality Tales"- Available now!