Now that I have your attention, lets talk about guns. At the time of this writing there have been 2,536 firearm-related deaths in America this year as per statistics from the Gun Violence Archive (a nonpartisan, nonprofit website). We're barely 3 months into 2018.
We have got to do better.
The 2nd Amendment of the Constitution reads: "A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."
Note the "well-regulated" part. The Constitution was written at a juncture where America required the peacekeeping services of militiamen, far before we were the gargantuan military superpower that we are today. Add to that the fact that firearms have evolved considerably since the composition of the Constitution and you have a ridiculously antiquated law. Semiautomatic rifles such as the AR-15 are designed for military application, not home defense. The sole purpose behind those weapons is to kill people.
No wonder they too-often tend to make an appearance at mass shootings.
The issue with gun control is that it's not solely a debacle related to guns nor solely one entailing mental health; too many people would rather take one side to downplay the other. The debate is a multifaceted beast that will only continue to rear its ugly head unless America makes some pretty radical changes from sensible firearm reform to mental health care accessibility to placing heavy caps on lobbying and campaign contributions from certain corporations.
It saddens me that the survivors of the Stoneman Douglas shooting are displaying far ballsier behavior than the lot of our collective governing body.
Breaking down some numbers, America has 29.7 firearm-related homicides per million people. By comparison, the rates of countries such as Australia (1.4 per million), New Zealand (1.6 per million), and Germany (1.9 per million) are spectacularly lesser.
One thing all three of these mentioned countries have in common is stringent gun policy as opposed to America whose politicians are largely purchased by the conglomeration of incendiary bullies that comprise the National Rifle Association (who contributed, based on data from Politico, $5.9 million to Republican campaigns during the 2016 election cycle).
Another factor that comes into play is the ranking of the United States in terms of accessibility to health care services. According to the World Health Organization, we currently rank 37th in the world as far as efficiency, quality, and accessibility are concerned.
I think it's pretty easy to ascertain that perhaps there's a correlation to be found in our lousy healthcare and our rate of incidents involving guns.
Restricting access to assault weapons, placing caps on Congressional lobbying and campaign contributions, and improving access to mental health care services are all ways, as demonstrated by other countries, that will aid in reducing firearm violence here in America.
We don't need thoughts and prayers.
We need policy and change.