Debunking the myths and scare tactics
Ban guns. All guns. Get rid of guns in homes, and on the streets, and, as much as possible. Every time a tragic event happens, we start to panic. Our first reaction is to call for more laws; then after a few months, you hear; why am I being harassed by police? “Congress continues to criminalize at an average rate of one new crime for every week of every year” (1). How many laws until we have no freedoms whatsoever? Below I am going to show you why guns are not as scary as people think. Once you start to believe, we can brainstorm and find a solution that appeases both sides. Why continue to lobby ourselves into bankruptcy?
When the media has an agenda, it can lay it on real thick. According to the Pew Research Center, “the vast majority of Americans believe their use of the web helps them learn new things, stay better informed on topics that matter to them, and increases their capacity to share ideas and creations with others” (3). However, it can also be a sensory overload and trigger the exact opposite effect.
We need to separate fact from fallacy. Just because rifles are easy to blame, doesn’t mean they should take the brunt of it. “According to crime statistics from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, you are six times more likely to be killed by a knife than a rifle. Think we should ban knives? You are three times more likely to be killed by a human hand or foot than a rifle (2). I don’t think we can ban a body part.
According to Crime Prevention research center, even though we have one of the highest guns owned per capita we are pretty even with other countries who have stronger gun legislation.
Even the frequency of mass shooting is steady compared to other Countries:
In the absence of guns, a motivated killer would easily find other means to get the job done. Russia, while having a low gun incident rate has very high bomb incident rate:
Or how about China, where gun laws are very strict.
Below is just some of the mass killings by knife alone:
Knife Attack at Xinjiang Coal Mine Leaves 40 Dead, Injured
August 25th, 2015: 9 killed in latest attack at China school. An attacker with a cleaver hacked to death seven children and two adults at a kindergarten in Northwest China.
March 28, 2014: 7 injured, with 2 (a woman and four-year-old boy) seriously injured. The attack occurred on the outskirts of Qinzhou city, in the Guangxi province.
March 27, 2014: 6 were stabbed to death and 7 injured over a property dispute in Beijing.
March 14, 2014: Knife attack in Changsha market leaves 6 dead.
March 1, 2014: 33 people killed and 143 wounded by a group of knife-wielding men at the Kunming Railway Station in Yunnan province.
August 26, 2013: 4 dead and 11 injured by a single attacker along Chengdu’s Caojia Alley.
August 20, 2013: 3 killed and at least 12 injured in a knife attack on a bus in the central Henan province.
July 31, 2013: 11 were injured in a knife attack on a bus in Hong Kong.
July 29, 2013: 3 people stabbed to death, 5 injured in Shenzhen, in the Guangdong province. Killer randomly attacked people along the line the side of a road.
July 26, 2013: 5 people killed and 3 wounded in a knife attack in Luohe city in Henan province. After first stabbing people in the village the attack continued in a furniture shop where two more people were killed.
July 22, 2013: Knife attack in a store in Beijing’s Xicheng district leaves 1 dead, 3 wounded.
July 19, 2013: A knife-wielding man killed two people at a shopping mall in downtown Beijing. This was probably reported because one of the two murder victims was an American.
May 22, 2013: 7 injured (six primary school students and a woman) with a cleaver at a primary school in the Maoming city government in the southern province of Guangdong.
December 14, 2012: Stabbed 23 children and an elderly woman at the village’s primary school as children were arriving for classes
August 2, 2012: Teenager killed 9 and wounded 4 in Yongling town.
January 20, 2012: Seven people were injured, two seriously, in a knife attack Thursday in the city of Zhongshan in south China’s Guangdong Province.
September 14, 2011: 6 killed (two young girls and four adults) near a nursery in Gongyi.
August 30, 2011: 8 children injured at a child-care center in Minhang District, Shanghai.
August 4, 2010: 4 killed (3 children and one teacher) and about 20 other children wounded at a kindergarten in Zibo, Shandong province.
May 12, 2010: Seven children and two adults were killed and 11 other persons wounded with a cleaver at a kindergarten in Hanzhong, Shaanxi.
April 30, 2010: 28 students, 2 teachers, and one security guard were wounded in a knife attack in a Jiangsu province kindergarten.
April 29, 2010: 16 students and a teacher were wounded at an elementary school in southern Guangdong province.
March 31, 2010: “A man killed a young woman and injured two other people in a knife attack at a university campus in southwest China’s Sichuan Province, officials said Wednesday.”
March 23, 2010: 9 children murdered with a knife at an elementary school in Nanpign, Fujian province (5).
Australia tried to curb violence by severely restricting gun ownership in 1996 but that also failed.
If you think that this chart is just another correlation, think again. Wang-Sheng Lee & Sandy Suardi of the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research Working Paper conclude that “[u]sing a battery of structural break tests, there is little evidence to suggest that [the NFA] had any significant effects on firearm homicides and suicides. In addition, there also does not appear to be any substitution effects – that reduced access to firearms may have led those bent on committing homicide or suicide to use alternative methods.” Finally, the authors state that “[a]lthough gun buybacks appear to be a logical and sensible policy that helps to placate the public’s fears, the evidence so far suggests that in the Australian context, the high expenditure incurred to fund the 1996 gun buyback has not translated into any tangible reductions in terms of firearm deaths.” (7)
Now I can drone on about how Switzerland has one of the highest rates of gun ownership in the world (8) but has one of the lowest homicide rates in the world (9) or I can mention the “league of shame (chart below)” (10) but I have proven my point.
If you read this far, you might think that I am a gun nut or even a gun owner but I am not. I own no weapons what so ever. I just hope that before we decide to restrict each other’s freedoms, we do so while being impartial and with an open mind. It pains me to see money and time being wasted in a lobbyist stalemate. Can we not find a solution to curb violence without laws?
Death penalty (11), lawsuits, street justice, zero tolerance (12), have all been shown to be ineffective in stopping violent felonies. Laws do not work unless they deter opportunity.
One solution is to start policing others harsher for lower level crimes such as “instigation, harassment, bullying and simple assault”. The broken window policy is shown to be effective (13). Many who commit suicide or do harsh acts have been pushed to the edge. We seem to only get involved after blood is shed.
But we can’t just leave it to the scarcity of police resources. We need to let the criminals know they will be caught. The police work for us, we need to start taking the lead and utilizing them when we see a crime. We should all start wearing micro cameras or a least utilize our cell phones more for the purpose of publishing, ridiculing and prosecuting people who commit actual criminal acts. Instead, we use them to make fun of others, promote bad behavior or post it for views.
Yes, we have security cameras and they do work (14) but only when someone is manning them. We need more programs that encourage and compensate people for footage leading to an arrest of any crime. People make thousands of dollars on prank videos, twerking, or just showing how stupid we can be but nothing for catching someone doing graffiti, bullying or assault on video?
Why do we call for more laws but put the burden on police to investigate? Why not utilize the power of the people? More laws especially vague ones mean more ways a law abiding citizen can get jammed up. Why not utilize our existing laws before making more? Do you really think the police can actively enforce, or even remember the millions of laws already on the books?
We already know from the Orlando shooting that the vile man cased other places, told his wife and probably others. He probably slipped once or twice but nobody cared. I bet if he picked his nose in public, it would have been all over the net.
A program to incentivize videotaping crimes would be a start. “A good deed is its own reward” doesn’t seem to hold water anymore.
I have many more ideas but I would rather hear your thoughts and comments.
(1)Vespa, M. (2016). – How Many Federal Laws Are There Again?. Townhall . Retrieved 18 June 2016, from http://townhall.com/tipsheet/mattvespa/2015/06/06/how-many-federal-laws-are-there-again-n2009184
(2) Expanded Homicide Data Table 8. (2016). FBI. Retrieved 20 June 2016, from https://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2014/crime-in-the-u.s.-2014/tables/expanded-homicide-data/expanded_homicide_data_table_8_murder_victims_by_weapon_2010-2014.xls
(3) Purcell, K. & Rainie, L. (2014).Americans Feel Better Informed Thanks to the Internet. Pew Research Center: Internet, Science & Tech. Retrieved 19 June 2016, from http://www.pewinternet.org/2014/12/08/better-informed/
(4) UPDATED: Comparing Death Rates from Mass Public Shootings and Mass Public Violence in the US and Europe – Crime Prevention Research Center. (2015). Crime Prevention Research Center. Retrieved 19 June 2016, from http://crimeresearch.org/2015/06/comparing-death-rates-from-mass-public-shootings-in-the-us-and-europe/
(5) A note on mass victim knife attacks: a single, very small 16 year old was able to wound at least 24 people with a knife in just 5 minutes – Crime Prevention Research Center. (2014). Crime Prevention Research Center. Retrieved 19 June 2016, from http://crimeresearch.org/2014/04/a-note-on-mass-victim-knife-attacks/
(6) List of massacres in Australia | Open Access articles | Open Access journals | Conference Proceedings | Editors | Authors | Reviewers | scientific events. (2016). Research.omicsgroup.org. Retrieved 19 June 2016, from http://research.omicsgroup.org/index.php/List_of_massacres_in_Australia
(7) Firearms-Control Legislation and Policy: Australia. (2016). Loc.gov. Retrieved 19 June 2016, from https://www.loc.gov/law/help/firearms-control/australia.php
(8) Switzerland guns: Living with firearms the Swiss way – BBC News. (2016). BBC News. Retrieved 19 June 2016, from http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-21379912
(9) Comparing murder rates and gun ownership across countries – Crime Prevention Research Center. (2014).Crime Prevention Research Center. Retrieved 19 June 2016, from http://crimeresearch.org/2014/03/comparing-murder-rates-across-countries/
(10) Britain the most violent country in Europe and even worse than South Africa and U.S.. (2016). Mail Online. Retrieved 19 June 2016, from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1196941/The-violent-country-Europe-Britain-worse-South-Africa-U-S.html
(11) NCCADP, A., Use, A., Injection, L., Crime, F., Victims, F., & Illness, I. et al. (2016). Failure to Deter Crime Archives – NC Coalition for Alternatives to the Death Penalty. NC Coalition for Alternatives to the Death Penalty. Retrieved 19 June 2016, from http://nccadp.org/death-penalty-issue/failure-to-deter-crime/
(12) Doesn’t Work. (2016). Verywell. Retrieved 19 June 2016, from https://www.verywell.com/does-zero-tolerance-work-in-schools-620855
(13) Broken Windows Policing | Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy. (2016).Cebcp.org. Retrieved 19 June 2016, from http://cebcp.org/evidence-based-policing/what-works-in-policing/research-evidence-review/broken-windows-policing/
(14) BARAM, M. (2016). A City’s Eyes: Do Cameras Reduce Crime?. ABC News. Retrieved 19 June 2016, from http://abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=3360287&page=1