It popped up again on Facebook the statistics of gun deaths in the United States vs. in other countries. I took the time this morning to search the internet for other statistics and the findings were quite consistent. In the U.S. there are 10.2 deaths per 100,000 people per year. The next highest nation is Austria with 3 per 100,000. Our neighbor to the north has 2.3 per 100,000. When comparing the United States with nations we would assume to have more, such as the those in the middle east, I found that Afghanistan, a nation at war, has 13 per 100,000. Iraq has 6. As far as death by gun violence it is safer to be in Iraq than here.
I am not at all surprised. Years ago, I didn’t know anyone with a handgun though I knew many with hunting guns. I can’t even say I am shocked. That feeling has been watered down by exposure to news of gun violence and even by fiction media in which murder and violence are common feed. I have to confess that Bernie and I watch several TV shows that are violent and far more explicit than in former years. I don’t wince as much as I used to. I continue to react with sorrow and pain when I see violence of any kind in the news, however. I guess I am still able to distinguish between reality and fiction though the link between the two doesn’t escape me.
Here is the reason I think we have more gun violence than other nations of the world – we have a gun lobby that uses every means possible to increase the sales of firearms which include pouring money into political campaigns and using all forms of media to lie to the American people. When faced with dire statistics about the deaths of children or the fact that guns continually get into the hands of known criminals, they deny the facts. I believe the gun industry’s tentacles go out further than our own borders. Over and over again it has been found that attacks in foreign countries, even against our own, are done with guns manufactured in the US.
All of this makes me angry, though thankfully the feeling doesn’t linger. Worse is the feeling I get when I realize that my grandchildren are at least 3 times as likely to die from gun violence than if we were living in another country. People talk about the rights of gun owners. I feel my own right has been taken away – the right to be safe.
I don’t know what to do with all of this. I drop a note to a legislator now and then and forward statistics on Facebook hoping they will change someone’s mind about hand guns. I wore orange on June 2. I am not afraid to go about my life because I am not really afraid to die. But the increasing danger to the lives of my grandchildren eats at me. If I could swoop them all up and transport them all to Canada, I would. My love for my country doesn’t hold a candle to my love for them.