The victims of gun crime and their family and friends are in my thoughts and prayers.
I am astounded by Donald Trump’s belief that gun control is not the issue “We are committed to working with state and local leaders to help secure our schools and tackle the difficult issue of mental health.”
It is reported that “One in six U.S. adults lives with a mental illness (44.7 million in 2016).” Source link.
In the UK mental health precedence is slightly higher according to statistics from the government and also from MIND, the national mental health charity. “One-in-four adults and one-in-ten children experience mental illness during their lifetime, and many more of us know and care for people who do.” Source link
The USA has the highest rate of gun homicide in the developed world, 16 times higher than Germany.
“In the developed world, these levels of gun violence are a uniquely American problem.” Source link
This despite the reality that the mental illness rates per capita are similar, and some countries have a higher prevalence of mental illness. Clearly, mental illness is not the problem.
Since 1968 more Americans have been killed by other Americans as a result of fire arms, than have been killed in all of the wars the US has been involved in since the founding of America. “Since 1968, when these figures were first collected, there have been 1,516,863 gun-related deaths on US territory. Since the founding of the United States, there have been 1,396,733 war deaths. That figure includes American lives lost in the revolutionary war, the Mexican war, the civil war (Union and Confederate, estimate), the Spanish-American war, the first world war, the second world war, the Korean war, the Vietnam war, the Gulf war, the Afghanistan war, the Iraq war, as well as other conflicts, including in Lebanon, Grenada, Panama, Somalia and Haiti.” Source link
The death rates are horrific. In 2015 over 13,200 US citizens were murdered by a gun “All shootings: Some 13,286 people were killed in the US by firearms in 2015, according to the Gun Violence Archive, and 26,819 people were injured [those figures exclude suicide]” Source link
In 2015, four times as many Americans were killed by their fellow US citizens than had been killed by terrorists between 2001 and 2013, a twelve year period. “According to the U.S. State Department, the number of U.S. citizens killed overseas as a result of incidents of terrorism from 2001 to 2013 was 350.
In addition, we compiled all terrorism incidents inside the U.S. and found that between 2001 and 2013, there were 3,030 people killed in domestic acts of terrorism.* This brings the total to 3,380.” These statistics include the horror of those killed in September 11th. Source link
In the UK, in between April 2014 and March 2015, 19 people were murdered with a firearm. “There were 19 fatalities resulting from offences involving firearms in the year ending March 2015; 10 fewer than the previous year and the lowest since the series began in 1969.” Source link
Despite having similar rates of mental illness, the gun crime and death rates are significantly higher in The United States.
This is a tragedy. It is also shameful.
The Bill of Rights Second Amendment right of the people to keep and bear arms was signed on December 15th 1791. This right was granted as a means of protection by a regulated militia to protect the state. Source link
This Right is outdated and is no longer a protection for the State nor the citizens of The United States. The second amendment has become the number one means by which Americans can kill Americans.
It saddens me to know that there is too much personal and political pressure to maintain the right to gun ownership. How many more American individuals, families, friends, communities, colleagues will have to tragically be killed and suffer and grieve before Americans realise that mental illness does not cause gun crime, access to guns causes gun crime.
With many thanks to Shaneka, and all at The Sociological Mail for publishing my essay.