In the United States, we like to be number 1. Unfortunately, we are a world leader in gun deaths, if you don’t count active war zones. The U.S. has already had at 39 mass shootings so far this year. The Gun Violence Archive reports that at least 70 people have been killed and 167 wounded — and we haven’t even reached February. NBC reports: “those figures mark a historically quick start for mass shootings.”
California Gov. Gavin Newsome said:
“Only in America do we see this kind of carnage, this kind of chaos, this kind of disruption of communities and lives and confidence and sense of safety and belonging.”
Newsome is right. Here are some sobering stats:
• In 2021 a record 48,000 Americans were killed by firearms.
• Since 1977, more Americans have died from domestic gun violence, than died in all the wars in United States history combined, going back to the Revolutionary War
So, how do Americans respond these facts. We stupidly buy more guns:
• Since 2020, an additional 57 million guns have been sold in the United States. America now has more guns than people.
The love affair with guns is literally killing our country. Yet, we’ve bought the delusion that guns make us safer. This is because the Republican Party has turned firearms into a fetish –so their buddies at the NRA can profit. Some of it is racism – conservatives stocking up on ammo for that new Civil War that rages in their twisted minds.
It’s also the greedy local news industry. Before FOX preyed on the fears of its viewers, by incessantly highlighting minority crime, local news stations perfected the art.
A 2003 study, “Television News and the Cultivation of Fear of Crime” appeared in the Journal of Communication. The study presciently said:
Crime coverage may not only condition viewers’ fears of victimization but may also affect perceptions of places where crime is likely to occur, and the persons stereotyped as typical perpetrators.
Fear of crime may also engender increased suspicion of neighbors and of African Americans and other non-White residents who are featured disproportionately in crime coverage as perpetrators of violence. These unintended effects of crime coverage could also contribute to the decline in community cohesion and to tensions between racial and ethnic groups.
That warning was in 2003. But doesn’t that sound like America in 2023? Maybe we should take a step back, ignore the sensationalized news coverage and realize that buying firearms to sooth our fears, has only made our lives more dangerous. America is flooded with guns. But do you feel safer today?