Sometimes I don’t understand American culture or their love of guns. I know not all Americans love guns, but it seems like no matter how many times its citizens are shown that guns equal gun violence, they continue to say the answer is more guns.
For example, I read a blog today that said exactly that:
This is a classic case of people needing more of their second amendment rights. There is something that happens to everyone when citizens are armed as far as attitude. Firstly, police handle potential situations far differently. They don’t feel empowered to just do as they will to stop a situation. I doubt very much the officer in question would have acted as he did if he though it might be possible that both he men walking could be carrying guns. Secondly, some of this might have never happened. Would Brown have gone into the store he robbed and robbed it if he felt the owner, his employees and perhaps some of the shoppers were carrying guns? Not a chance. Thugs and bullies thrive in an environments where they can do as they please, a gun is a big NO to you can just do as you please.
So the answer to gun violence: more guns. Also, whether Brown robbed the store or not is irrelevant, since the officer that did the shooting didn’t know about it.
Of course, thinking more guns is the answer flies in the face of reality:
The United States has more guns and gun deaths than any other developed country in the world, researchers found.
A study by two New York City cardiologists found that the U.S. has 88 guns per 100 people and 10 gun-related deaths per 100,000 people — more than any of the other 27 developed countries they studied.
Japan, on the other hand, had only .6 guns per 100 people and .06 gun-related deaths per 100,000 people, making it the country with both the fewest guns per capita and the fewest gun-related deaths.
I know, I know, why let a few statistics get in the way of owning more guns.
Look, if you’re an American and you think citizens don’t own enough guns, you’re clearly not looking at the facts – you already own plenty of guns. There’s nearly a gun per person in the U.S, yet you still struggle with gun violence.
In Ferguson you have police officers that look more like military personnel than law enforcement officers. The first sign of unrest and they’re rolling on you with armored vehicles and sniper rifles cocked and loaded. They have tear gas, automatic weapons, and all sorts of other military toys at their disposal. Let’s just pretend every citizen in the protest crowd had a gun.
What’s that going to solve? Do you think they should start firing at police? Could you imagine the crack-down that would happen if they did?
This idea that armed Americans could take on the US military if they decided to go crazy is pure fantasy. Your small arms aren’t a match for the highly trained, technologically advanced, well financed US military. Your military spends more per year on war than the next ten countries on that list do combined. Billions and billions of your tax dollars are spent on technology and killing. Your rifle just doesn’t cut it, friend.
Most of your citizens are armed, yet the police force alone in Ferguson (with the newly arrived National Guard) is able to scatter you like leaves on the wind using tear gas alone, not to mention their Long Range Acoustic Devices.
So far we’ve seen an unarmed 18 year old get gunned down in the street; protesters get targeted by those same police, riots, journalists being arrested and tear gassed etc.
Like Jake Tapper said:
“I want you to look at what is going on in Ferguson, Missouri, in downtown America, OK? These are armed police, with semi-automatic rifles, with batons, with shields, many of them dressed for combat. Now why they’re doing this I don’t know, because there is no threat going on here, none that merits this. There is none, OK? Absolutely there have been looters, absolutely over the last nine days there’s been violence, but there is nothing going on on this street right now that merits this scene out of Bagram. Nothing! So if people wonder why the people of Ferguson, Missouri are so upset, this is part of the reason. What is this? This doesn’t make any sense!”
Of course it doesn’t make sense. It also doesn’t make sense to think more guns is the answer. Not only are police able to use military grade force against you, they’re able to violate your rights at will, such as your freedom of speech, freedom of the press and the right to protest. They can make you walk around in circles while protesting to discourage your involvement:
Missouri Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson defended the new rule that protesters cannot stand and congregate in one place, saying it would protect community members from criminal elements who were trying to hide in their midst and cause trouble.
They can demand you don’t protest at night, because the time of day you’re protesting should influence your right to protest:
But remaining protesters — chanting “No justice! No curfew!” — refused to leave the area. As five armored tactical vehicles approached the crowd, officers spoke through a loudspeaker: “You are in violation of a state-imposed curfew. You must disperse immediately. Failure to comply, may result in arrest.”
What might have prevented this nightmare from escalating would have been less guns and less gun use. The officer might not have shot Michael Brown if he’d been better trained in the use of force. If the police force didn’t have armored vehicles and military grade hardware, you might see less tear gassing and harassment of journalists:
Journalists found themselves targeted in Ferguson once more on Monday night. Members of the media were again arrested, detained, hit with tear gas and shoved around by officers in the Missouri town, which has erupted in the weeks following the killing of Michael Brown.
I guess those journalists should have been packing.
Arming more people clearly isn’t the answer, in my opinion. Regardless of whether or not the protesters are armed or not, using those arms will only escalate the situation. Even if you believe that every American should own 10, 20, 50 guns, how would that change anything?
Regardless of whether you believe the armed citizens of America could fight and win versus the US military, what would be the cost of doing so?
A lot more bloodshed.
What are your thoughts about the militarization of the police and do you think more guns would solve gun violence?