'The Bell and the Cat and The Mice in Council.'' The case of 270 million guns! Answer to Fareed Zakaria 'The solution to gun violence is clear.'
Dear Mr. Zakaria, the road map you have suggested does not lead to solution of the gun violence, it is just tapping of the surface without dealing with the core issues. You seem to be bent single mindedly on 'Guns' just for curiosity, I was watching some of these games and movies and I think that it is not the guns alone, an unstable mind plus constant gaming that popping of opponents 'killing look so easy' helps the whole crime to brew in mind that graduate to the execution stage and to the ultimate carnage.
These movies and video games institute and preach violence though not from a pulpit, yet as strongly as Taliban schools in Akora Khattak institute the medieval dogma in minds of the most vulnerable suicide bombers. It is the mind of the suicide bomber we are trying to change, if the mind is sick nothing can help. 7/7 killers made fertiliser based bombs; there were no guns or sophisticated explosives involved.
My 2 cents worth you ask:
@The U.S. gun homicide rate is 30 times that of France or Australia, according to the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime, and 12 times higher than the average for other developed countries. So what explains this difference?
So what explains this difference? It is US Gun facts that explain the difference.The gun distribution pattern is very unique.
The case of 270 million guns! It is correct if you compare the data of US, Australia , UK and Japan for Number of Gun Homicides annually US is 9146, Australia 30, UK 18 and Japan 11. What underpins this staggering high rate in US is a gun culture entrenched, promoted and protected by the founding fathers and the constitution. As of December 1, 2012, the United States had a total resident population of 314,964,000. If you take out 0-14 years age group, the gun ownership between 15-64 years age group is nearly 122 guns /100 adults. The entire population across the board is part of it, in such a gun rich culture to tackle gun control needs very honest self introspection and evaluation not hyped up judgement that has very little considerations of the ground realities. Such tragic incidents can only be avoided if across the board evaluation of governmental and self responsibilities is carried out, you just cannot dump everything on legislation, there are issues that relate to individual conscientiousness also.
The cat that needs to be belled is not the Gun owners! This is not about guns alone please! How are you going to legislate ''parental accountability and decency?'' There are four delicate failures here that need immediate addressing the social collapse, unstable mind with apparently little medical intervention, extra concentration on video games and unhindered access to guns; all these significant features present a lethal blend and combination of causes leading to a tinder waiting to blow up.
Rate of Civilian Firearm Possession per 100 Population is staggering 88.8. The estimated total number of guns held by civilians in the United States is 270,000,000. Average household size is 2.59/ household, each household has potentially minimum of 3 guns. In a comparison of the number of privately owned guns in 178 countries, the United States ranked at No. 1. In a comparison of the rate of private gun ownership in 179 countries, the United States ranked at No. 1. The defence forces of the United States are reported to have only 3,054,553 firearms. Police in the United States are reported to have paltry 897,400 firearms.
You highlight @The Japanese are at the cutting edge of the world of video games. Yet their gun homicide rate is close to zero!
Japanese do not venerate and glorify violence and promote Rambo-Arnie mania. This whole idea of 'goodies beating the baddies' and Rambo-Arnie taking over the world with the merciless killing of Far Easterners with super weapons will take a toll on the minds of youth.
'' My brother has always been a nerd,” and added “he still wears a pocket protector”. Don't forget when we as humans fail we fail as a society too, let's not turn away from the fact that we have some responsibility of any future carnage on our hands if we continue to 'glorify' violence and killings the way we do in Hollywood films and our video games.
Add power guns with all this Rambo- Arnie Sega maniac games, these video games glorify killings. What is modern video gaming? It is veneration of violence this ''unlicensed killing education'' that every child in the home is exposed too needs to be tackled now. Parents have to do it, just don't let them play these dangerous killing games, no one man can conquer any world, wherever there has been an intervention it has cost US 5 trillion and the bill is still running, war and killing is a dirty expensive business. Why children adrenaline levels are toyed with in field of violence. Why to show them that war can be won by one person? A killing machine that goes on killing a 1000 without being terminated. Will Adam mind would not have made the connection between those video games and the shooting spree he was about to embark on?
On a side note by the way broad brush generalisation is not good ever, every tradition and culture has its own particularities and soft belly, in the United States, annual suicides by any means total 2005: 32,559 and 2001: 29,898 in Japan for 1/3rd of the population of USA it is staggering 23,502, suicide is entrenched culturally like guns in USA.
In face of entrenched culture habits legislation rarely helps. Japanese government reported the rate for 2006 as being the ninth highest in the world. 71% of suicides in Japan were male, and it is the leading cause of death in men aged 20-44. In Japanese culture there is a long history of honourable suicide, such as ritual suicide by Samurai to avoid being captured, flying one's plane into the enemy during WWII, or charging into the enemy fearlessly to prevent bringing shame on one's family. Factors in suicide include unemployment (due to the economic recession in the 1990s), depression, and social pressures.
You question @Is America’s popular culture the cause?
Nuclear family and acute individualism: Mr Lanza had moved out in 2009, remarrying a University of Connecticut librarian in January 2011. He last saw his son Adam in June. But the devastatingly shy young man had taken the divorce poorly. Peter Lanza was ready to pay the money as much as they wanted but not his time, the boy was totally wrecked and broken; he wanted some love and care. Individualism is of no good, if you cannot pay attention and give time to your progenies. Money rarely will solve any problem; it is caring and continuous attachment to your children post divorce that is most important. What a calamity, how low significance of life has descended too. Where is the veneration and reverence of life? Where is the poise and composure required for the sanctity of our broods? If we are separate let's spend some more time and listen to our children closely, hear them well. This requires no legislation but self sacrifice and our responsibility towards fellow beings.
Unhindered access to guns. Guns are bad particularly these powerful guns are only good for war and offence or shooting and big game but beyond that the purpose is limited. Automatic weapons accelerate killings, they also gives a sense of control to a feeble personality. An unhinged mind or a loner provided with accurate target training with these lethal weapons will give him a false sense of weight and power; a calm before the storm appeared, as the boy looked at his innate insecurities he got help from other extenuating factors too. Unstable mind that needed an immediate medical care but the family delayed it, the stigma of going to the shrink. "Adam had a lot of mental problems." A family insider said. " autism or Asperger's syndrome, and a personality disorder. (Asperger's syndrome, is a type of autism which is more usually diagnosed in those with higher than normal intellect.) A study suggests that 50 per cent of the prison population in the US meet the criteria for the diagnosis. Those with such disorders are more likely to embark on impulsive, risk-seeking behaviour, in an attempt to escape feeling empty or emotionally void.
You claim @The number of deaths by firearms in the United States was 32,000 last year. Around 11,000 were gun homicides.
Please recheck your numbers in the United States, annual firearm homicides totalled 2009: 9,146, 2008: 9,484, 2007: 10,129, 2006: 10,225,2005: 10,158, 2004: 9,382, 2003: 9,6597, 2002: 9,369, 2001: 8,890,1999: 8,259, 1998: 9,257.
Have you heard of the fable* ''The Bell and the Cat and The Mice in Council.'' The cat that needs to be belled is not the Gun owners! This is not about guns alone please! How are you going to legislate ''parental accountability and decency?'' There are four delicate failures here that need immediate addressing the social collapse, unstable mind with apparently little medical intervention, extra concentration on video games and unhindered access to guns; all these significant features present a lethal blend and combination of causes leading to a tinder waiting to blow up. The President and the Vice President and the Congress face an uphill task, who is going to bell the cat. A nation that has guns part of its traditions and culture cannot be expediently compared with other nations. This whole exercise needs across the board evaluation of risks and needs addressing of the issues that will seriously impact future generations.
*The Fable concerns a group of mice who debate plans to nullify the threat of a marauding cat. One of them proposes placing a bell around its neck, so that they are warned of its approach. The plan is applauded by the others, until one mouse asks who will volunteer to place the bell on the cat. All of them make excuses. The story is used to teach the wisdom of evaluating a plan not only on how desirable the outcome would be, but also on how it can be executed. It provides a moral lesson about the fundamental difference between ideas and their feasibility, and how this affects the value of a given plan.
Bare capitalism takes soul out of relationships, a capitalism that puts our ordinary self at the centre of all of this is the precise arrangement, talk with people who need your support and find solutions, sacrifice even if wronged, reach out. It is not a legislation issue, it is a human tragedy and it needs to tackled by all of us, let's not throw our 'own thrash and rubbish' at someone else's door step, but rather start from our home, to our neighbourhood, to our district and city and the nation and the whole world.This 'nuclear family' based 'me and her' does not work; it has to include the reaching out to those who need our attention. To meet on a single set day is wrong, to cut your own children out of your life as if they never existed is a sin, to ignore pain of others is banality personified. We all need to grow out of ‘father's day and mother's day obsession’ we need to think that these children need us more than they need our money they need our call every week if not every day, we need to talk to them and guide them.
If we are consumed with the respect of human life we will instil that in lack of belligerency towards others, all these extraordinary weapons need to be addressed and this continuous education of violence needs to stop, not by legislation but by choice. Can’t we regret and drop a tear when collateral damage happens due to our war and drone hit/efforts? Why not? Children are children if the criminals are using them as covers, it is not a bad idea to shed a tear or two, it is humane to see POTUS weeping for children, but if he sheds a drop for others too; more benevolence will transpire greater universal goodwill and love.
We have raised violence to the pedestal of idol worship, dethrone it, every aspect of our life should highlight the importance of our sentient status and raise our connective and collective consciousness. Lets cool down the intrinsic aggression on all levels. That will be the best national therapy.