Originally published in TalkFrank, June 1, 2019
On this morning’s CNN program Smerconish, the host, Michael Smerconish, asked a survey question: Will America’s Gun Problem* ever change?
My simple answer was a resounding NO — at least not in the foreseeable future.
And, my reasoning is this — America doesn’t have just a gun problem, we have a VIOLENCE problem. We can pass all of the gun legislation that we can conceive of, and although it will certainly help, it will NOT solve the problem until we deal with our obsession with violence, as well.
Think about it.
Although the US earns its title of the world’s greatest gun loving country (with 2x’s as many guns per capita as the 2nd place finisher), other countries, like Norway, for example, have a culture that honors gun ownership, too. However, none of these other countries suffer the type of wanton gun violence that we experience here in the United States.
From the research I have done, the answer appears to be two-fold:
1. Other countries strictly control what type of guns you may own and WHO gets to own them. Generally, the process to even apply to own a weapon is often long and tedious. Background checks are thorough and there are no loopholes. Safety courses into the proper use and safe storage of weapons are usually required.
2. While other so-called gun cultures appreciate their weapons as part of their heritage and often a component of everyday life, i.e. hunting, they don’t seem to view them in the same light as Americans do. It would not be hyperbole to claim that we worship them.
Let’s review some history.
Our very creation as a nation came about through the violent over-throw of a monarchy. We even enshrined our “right” to own a gun in our most sacred document of existence, i.e. the Constitution. Our western expansion was accomplished by the merciless military suppression of our native population. We slaughtered each other, our fellow Americans, by the hundreds of thousands in a brutal Civil War just to keep our country united. We have initiated coups abroad and supported them militarily to suit our best interests. No war seems to too big OR too small for our consideration. In fact, in our Country’s 243 years of existence, we have been at war for 226 of them — that’s nearly 95% !!
Most of our heroes have become legend through some type of military conquest. Even Actor Clint Eastwood’s character, “Dirty Harry”, master of the .44 caliber magnum handgun, has become part of America’s mythology.
To put it simply, we are awash in blood — and, always have been.
So, when you think about it, we can pass all the gun legislation we want. In a sense, that trite, NRA rationalization for the mindless addiction to gun violence can actually be seen as making some perverse sense: Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.
Unless and until we change our ethos and learn to solve our problems without the use of guns and violence, their effectiveness will remain limited and we are condemned to an endless cycle of gun carnage.