Some Thoughts On Gun Control

So.  We Americans are a violent people, there’s really no arguing that.  This country was colonized, founded, expanded, and is, to this day, maintained with violence.  And we love our guns, most of us.

I don’t.

I don’t believe I’ve ever written about my feelings on gun control before.  On my more reasonable days, I think gun control is a good idea.  On days like today – the day after twenty children were murdered in Newtown, CT – I’m more of an advocate for gun abolition.  I realize that’s going to come off as a bit polarizing, and you’ll just have to deal with that.  I believe guns are bad.  I don’t require that anyone else agree with me.  I have some excellent friends – good, honest, intelligent people – who think gun control is tantamount to treason.  Fair enough.

A lot of people are of the opinion that it’s offensive to talk about gun control the day after something like this happens.  And I’ll go so far as to say that I’d agree that injecting politics into the conversation that’s going to take place in the wake of twenty children dying is impossibly tasteless and offensive.  But, from where I’m sitting, this isn’t a political debate.  From where I’m sitting, this is really just a matter of simple math:  There are too many guns in this country, and, agree or disagree, this is exactly the right time to talk about that.

I decided to start out by saying I’m pro gun control because I didn’t want to hide behind false platitudes like, “I’m just thinking about the children,” or, “Hey, I’m not making a statement one way or the other, I’m just sayin’.”  That would be a lie.  I really don’t like guns.  Just so we’re all clear that there’s totally a bias here and I’m totally advocating for it.

What I won’t do, however, is engage in any of the standard arguments you always hear about gun control.  Yes, people kill people.  Sometimes they do it with guns.  Whatever.  Don’t care.

What I will do, is present you with some numbers for your consideration.  These numbers were provided by gunpolicy.org.  Please check them out and decide for yourself whether or not they’re a credible source.  I’ve decided they are, but you may disagree.  The numbers I’m going to show you are some gun-related statistics for Scotland and for the United States.

We’re more violent and we own more guns than pretty much any other country on earth.  I chose Scotland because of the Dunblane school massacre, where sixteen children were killed by one man, armed with four handguns, back in 1996.  The national outcry that followed resulted in the Firearms Amendment Act of 1997, which effectively banned the possession of all handguns in the UK.  As an American, the question that immediately came to mind after hearing this was, “Did that law actually do anything to reduce the number of gun-related deaths in Scotland?”  The short answer is, “Yes.”

Other than all of the above, the only thing I have to say about the slaughter of those children in Newtown yesterday is this:  Every time something like this happens, we react in a variety of ways, none of which seem to take steps toward preventing it from happening again.  The sadness and the frustration that I feel as a result of this is just overwhelming, and I really wish it would stop.  Here are the numbers:

SCOTLAND
Gun Ownership Per 100 People
The rate of private gun ownership in Scotland is 5.52 firearms per 100 people

Homicide Per 100,000 People (Any Method)
In Scotland, the annual rate of homicide by any means per 100,000 population is:

2009: 1.9

Gun Homicide Per 100,000 People
In Scotland, the annual rate of firearm homicide per 100,000 population is:

2009: 0.04
1994: 0.19

Gun Suicide Per 100,000 People
In Scotland, the annual rate of firearm suicide per 100,000 population is:

2001: 0.14
1994: 0.33

Unintentional Gun Deaths
In Scotland, the annual rate of unintentional shooting death per 100,000 population is:

2001: 0.00
1994: 0.02

Gun Deaths From Undetermined Cause
In Scotland, the annual rate of unknown-cause shooting deaths per 100,000 population is:

2001: 0.02
1994: 0.04

UNITED STATES
Gun Ownership Per 100 People
The rate of private gun ownership in the United States is 88.8 firearms per 100 people

Homicide Per 100,000 People (Any Method)
In the United States, the annual rate of homicide by any means per 100,000 population is:

2009: 4.96

Gun Homicide Per 100,000 People
In the United States, the annual rate of firearm homicide per 100,000 population is:

2009: 2.98
2008: 3.12
2007: 3.36
2006: 3.42
2005: 3.43
2004: 3.20
2003: 3.30
2002: 3.25
2001: 3.12
1999: 2.97
1998: 3.37
1993: 7.07

Gun Suicide Per 100,000 People
In the United States, the annual rate of firearm suicide per 100,000 population is:

2005: 5.75
2001: 5.74
1993: 7.35

Unintentional Gun Death Per 100,000 People
In the United States, the annual rate of unintentional shooting death per 100,000 population is:

2005: 0.27
2001: 0.27
1993: 0.59

Rate of Gun Death From Undetermined Cause
In the United States, the annual rate of unknown-cause shooting deaths per 100,000 population is:

2003: 0.11
2001: 0.02
1993: 0.22

About

Tim Hatch lives in a secret volcano headquarters somewhere in the South Pacific, where he controls the world economy and writes confessional poetry about his disappointing childhood.

His poetry has been published in MungBeing, East Jasmine Review, The Pacific Review, The Vehicle, Touch: The Journal Of Healing, Apeiron Review, and he is the recipient of the 2014 Felix Valdez Award.

He finds writing about himself in the third person to be an overtly seductive invitation to tell lies.

He once captured a French Eagle at Talavera.

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