That's incredibly wrong.
This is precisely the day we need to start talking about why the United States has so many gun deaths compared to the rest of the world.
After every mass shooting I roll out the same plain fact: more guns means more gun violence. Today Vox updated their excellent explanation in "Gun violence in America, explained in 17 maps and charts."
America is an exceptional country when it comes to guns. It’s one of the few countries in which the right to bear arms is constitutionally protected. But America’s relationship with guns is unique in another crucial way: Among developed nations, the US is far and away the most violent — in large part due to the easy access many Americans have to firearms. These charts and maps show what that violence looks like compared with the rest of the world, why it happens, and why it’s such a tough problem to fix.
The whole piece is well worth reading. Here's the first chart and commentary.
This chart, compiled using United Nations data collected by Simon Rogers for the Guardian, shows that America far and away leads other developed countries when it comes to gun-related homicides. Why? Extensive reviews of the research by the Harvard School of Public Health’s Injury Control Research Center suggest the answer is pretty simple: The US is an outlier on gun violence because it has way more guns than other developed nations.
The second chart shows that the United States has 4.4% of the world's population, but 42% of the civilian-owned guns in the world. So more guns aren't making us safer. They're killing us -- mainly by suicide, but also by a much higher homicide rate than in advanced countries with fewer guns.
"Thoughts and prayers" are completely useless after a mass shooting. So are vigils.
Every single freaking time a significant mass shooting happens, our politicians, first responders, and local officials call for thoughts and prayers. Which, obviously, don't do a thing to prevent the next mass shooting. Also predictable is the NRA and its backers claiming that if more people carried guns around, mass shootings would be prevented.
Well, in this Las Vegas shooting it took well over an hour for the shooter to be dislodged from his 32nd floor hotel suite. He started firing on people shortly after 10 p.m. and he was found dead by a self-inflicted gunshot just before midnight.
No matter how many guns the concert goers might have been carrying, it wouldn't have made any difference in this mass shooting.
What I found most irritating about today's news coverage was the self-congratulatory tone of local and state officials regarding the response to the shootings. Amazingly, I even heard the Lieutenant Governor of Nevada say this was the state's "finest hour." No one, absolutely no one, had the guts to tell the truth.
The one and only reason so many people were killed was because the shooter was able to buy so many guns, some of which apparently were turned into fully automatic weapons.
After a mass shooting killed 35 people in Australia, that country instituted strict gun control laws. An Atlantic story says:
My colleague Uri Friedman wrote about the impact of the Port Arthur massacre in the wake of the shooting in San Bernardino, California in 2015. He noted that, among other things, the Australian government “banned automatic and semiautomatic firearms, adopted new licensing requirements, established a national firearms registry, and instituted a 28-day waiting period for gun purchases. It also bought and destroyed more than 600,000 civilian-owned firearms, in a scheme that cost half a billion dollars and was funded by raising taxes.” The entire overhaul, Friedman pointed out, took just months to implement.
And the result was many lives saved.
The number of mass shootings in Australia—defined as incidents in which a gunman killed five or more people other than himself, which is notably a higher casualty count than is generally applied for tallying mass shootings in the U.S.—dropped from 13 in the 18-year period before 1996 to zero after the Port Arthur massacre. Between 1995 and 2006, gun-related homicides and suicides in the country dropped by 59 percent and 65 percent, respectively, though these declines appear to have since leveled off. Two academics who have studied the impact of the reform initiative estimate that the gun-buyback program saves at least 200 lives each year, according to The New York Times.
So. please, American politicians, don't spout any more "thoughts and prayers" bullshit. Strong gun control legislation at both the federal and state level is the only way our country has a chance of preventing more mass shootings and needless gun deaths.
Guns are the problem in this country, not people. Almost certainly we don't have a higher proportion of citizens who are homicidal and suicidal than other advanced nations.
Our problem is too many guns that can be purchased too easily. Anyone who believes otherwise is ignoring the facts I shared above.