America stands tall in the committee of nations. Its leadership position and opportunities are outstanding. No wonder many will do everything to live in America. American dream is fascinating with lots of juicy offers. Yet the same nation also stands tall in many negative vices.
America has issues of homelessness, any big nation does. There are also issues of various forms of violence despite its liberalism and human rights freedom. A major concern in this piece is a focus on gun violence. Almost every week if not everyday there are reported cases of gun violence. There is police to civilian attack as well as civilian to civilian attacks. How many can we mention, a journalist was murdered on the screen while covering news in March 2015. In the last seven days there had been various news coverage of gun violence in California and other major cities/states.
One keeps wondering if the government, Law makers in the USA are actually incapacitated in doing the needful. Those who profit in the sales of guns and firearms will rather not say anything while a few who can talk against this are afraid because they do not want to loose face within their constituencies. One wonders which is more important, saving life or being ‘politically correct’. In one of the statistics we checked, it was estimated that at least 68% of death through violence in the USA is traceable to firearms.
According to Wikipedia analysis of US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention report “in 2013, firearms (excluding BB and pellet guns) were used in 84,258 nonfatal injuries (26.65 per 100,000 U.S. citizens) and 11,208 deaths by homicide (3.5 per 100,000),21,175 by suicide with a firearm, 505 deaths due to accidental discharge of a firearm, and 281 deaths due to firearms-use with “undetermined intent for a total of 33,169 deaths related to firearms (excluding firearm deaths due to legal intervention). 1.3% of all deaths in the country were related to firearms’’
According to another statistics, in term of gun ownership, USA has 289 millions guns in civilians’ hands with about 4.5 millions sold annually, while an estimated 2 Million second hands gun are also sold each year.
The report continued, more than 30.000 people are killed yearly in America and about 30 people are killed everyday. On gun injury “Everytime a gun injures or kills in self-defense, one is used: 11 times for a completed or attempted suicide. 7 times in a criminal assault or homicide,4 times in an unintentional shooting death or injury”
A business insider article also state “more people will die through gun related violence than Motor cycle in the USA”. A cursory look at death, violence in America also show that the more guns are available to many civilians the increase in the level of untimely death through violence. A clue to assault and violent death, violence shows that there are more outbreak of gun violence in the south than in the west. This is not out of place as there are more guns in those states because the gun control is likely to be loose in those states also.
Because of all these factors, it is not out of place to see that USA has more death per capital than any industrialized world.
The current Presidential hopefuls as well as President Barrack Obama have been speaking about guns. While some of the hopefuls have been speaking through both mouths, in order not to offend electorate, a few like Hilary Clintons has nailed the issue. USA President cannot single handedly made the law. The national law makers and indeed American Citizens have a lot to say. Citizen can force their law makers to support the control if they really want as they can put pressure on them. There is also avenue of meaningful protest and demands for a change as we have seen when Police shot civilians or vice versa.
Why are the Americans silent in the face of daily gun violence. Two days ago, a couple went to holiday party and killed about 14. A report flying around stated either of them had been radicalised. One other issue is the international Media with origin in the USA itself. When there is a related gun violence outside USA or in the developing countries, it is easier to call perpetrator ‘terrorists’; the ‘maximum’ word there is that can be used. But when it happens within the USA, it is easier to use softer words on these ‘suspects’. We have watched with keen interest how this coverage biases can really harm the control of gun use. if it is easy to be soft with unlawful use of guns for violence in the US in terms of language, style, demeanour while opinion are shaped to discourage this in the developing world. In a way that is helping the developing world as that help to become bitter towards gun related violence.
We do know President Obama’s hands are tight as he had made this known in many of the incidences and he had called on Americans and Parliament members to act. But it appears there is no political will as some powerful people’s sources of funds may become dried.
How long will be too long for Americans to ac?. Each time there is gun violence, there seems to be outrage and outburst which are often short-lived especially if the individual or perpetrators are brought to book. But this seems like a palliative measure, until America deals with the evil from the root, removing the leave will not much good. As developing nations do have their problems so is America. But leadership entails setting right standards. It is a demand which cannot be overlooked.
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