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Why does America lose its head over 'terror' but ignore its daily gun deaths?

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Why does America lose its head over 'terror' but ignore its daily gun deaths?

The marathon bombs triggered a reaction that is at odds with last week's inertia over arms control

A man chooses a gun at the Gun Gallery i
A man chooses a gun at the Gun Gallery in Glendale, California. Photograph: Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images

The thriving metropolis of Boston was turned into a ghost town on Friday. Nearly a million Bostonians were asked to stay in their homes – and willingly complied. Schools were closed; business shuttered; trains, subways and roads were empty; usually busy streets eerily resembled a post-apocalyptic movie set; even baseball games and cultural events were cancelled – all in response to a 19-year-old fugitive, who was on foot and clearly identified by the news media.

The actions allegedly committed by the Boston marathon bomber, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his brother, Tamerlan, were heinous. Four people dead and more than 100 wounded, some with shredded and amputated limbs.

But Londoners, who endured IRA terror for years, might be forgiven for thinking that America over-reacted just a tad to the goings-on in Boston. They're right – and then some. What we saw was a collective freak-out like few that we've seen previously in the United States. It was yet another depressing reminder that more than 11 years after 9/11 Americans still allow themselves to be easily and willingly cowed by the "threat" of terrorism.

After all, it's not as if this is the first time that homicidal killers have been on the loose in a major American city. In 2002, Washington DC was terrorised by two roving snipers, who randomly shot and killed 10 people. In February, a disgruntled police officer, Christopher Dorner, murdered four people over several days in Los Angeles. In neither case was LA or DC put on lockdown mode, perhaps because neither of these sprees was branded with that magically evocative and seemingly terrifying word for Americans, terrorism.

To be sure, public officials in Boston appeared to be acting out of an abundance of caution. And it's appropriate for Boston residents to be asked to take precautions or keep their eyes open. But by letting one fugitive terrorist shut down a major American city, Boston not only bowed to outsize and irrational fears, but sent a dangerous message to every would-be terrorist – if you want to wreak havoc in the United States, intimidate its population and disrupt public order, here's your instruction booklet.

Putting aside the economic and psychological cost, the lockdown also prevented an early capture of the alleged bomber, who was discovered after Bostonians were given the all clear and a Watertown man wandered into his backyard for a cigarette and found a bleeding terrorist on his boat.

In some regards, there is a positive spin on this – it's a reflection of how little Americans have to worry about terrorism. A population such as London during the IRA bombings or Israel during the second intifada or Baghdad, pretty much every day, becomes inured to random political violence. Americans who have such little experience of terrorism, relatively speaking, are more primed to overreact – and assume the absolute worst when it comes to the threat of a terror attack. It is as if somehow in the American imagination, every terrorist is a not just a mortal threat, but is a deadly combination of Jason Bourne and James Bond.

If only Americans reacted the same way to the actual threats that exist in their country. There's something quite fitting and ironic about the fact that the Boston freak-out happened in the same week the Senate blocked consideration of a gun control bill that would have strengthened background checks for potential buyers. Even though this reform is supported by more than 90% of Americans, and even though 56 out of 100 senators voted in favour of it, the Republican minority prevented even a vote from being held on the bill because it would have allegedly violated the second amendment rights of "law-abiding Americans".

So for those of you keeping score at home – locking down an American city: a proper reaction to the threat from one terrorist. A background check to prevent criminals or those with mental illness from purchasing guns: a dastardly attack on civil liberties. All of this would be almost darkly comic if not for the fact that more Americans will die needlessly as a result. Already, more than 30,000 Americans die in gun violence every year (compared to the 17 who died last year in terrorist attacks).

What makes US gun violence so particularly horrifying is how routine and mundane it has become. After the massacre of 20 kindergartners in an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, millions of Americans began to take greater notice of the threat from gun violence. Yet since then, the daily carnage that guns produce has continued unabated and often unnoticed.

The same day of the marathon bombing in Boston, 11 Americans were murdered by guns. The pregnant Breshauna Jackson was killed in Dallas, allegedly by her boyfriend. In Richmond, California, James Tucker III was shot and killed while riding his bicycle – assailants unknown. Nigel Hardy, a 13-year-old boy in Palmdale, California, who was being bullied in school, took his own life. He used the gun that his father kept at home. And in Brooklyn, New York, an off-duty police officer used her department-issued Glock 9mm handgun to kill herself, her boyfriend and her one-year old child.

At the same time that investigators were in the midst of a high-profile manhunt for the marathon bombers that ended on Friday evening, 38 more Americans – with little fanfare – died from gun violence. One was a 22-year old resident of Boston. They are a tiny percentage of the 3,531 Americans killed by guns in the past four months – a total that surpasses the number of Americans who died on 9/11 and is one fewer than the number of US soldiers who lost their lives in combat operations in Iraq. Yet, none of this daily violence was considered urgent enough to motivate Congress to impose a mild, commonsense restriction on gun purchasers.

It's not just firearms that produce such legislative inaction. Last week, afertiliser plant in West, Texas, which hasn't been inspected by federal regulators since 1985, exploded, killing 14 people and injuring countless others. Yet many Republicans want to cut further the funding for the agency (OSHA) that is responsible for such reviews. The vast majority of Americans die from one of four ailments – cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and chronic lung disease – and yet Republicans have held three dozen votes to repeal Obamacare, which expands healthcare coverage to 30 million Americans.

It is a surreal and difficult-to-explain dynamic. Americans seemingly place an inordinate fear on violence that is random and unexplainable and can be blamed on "others" – jihadists, terrorists, evil-doers etc. But the lurking dangers all around us – the guns, our unhealthy diets, the workplaces that kill 14 Americans every single day – these are just accepted as part of life, the price of freedom, if you will. And so the violence goes, with more Americans dying preventable deaths. But hey, look on the bright side – we got those sons of bitches who blew up the marathon.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/apr/21/boston-marathon-bombs-us-gun-law

by on Apr. 23, 2013 at 2:10 AM
Replies (41-50):
kailu1835
by Ruby Member on Apr. 24, 2013 at 3:45 AM
I'm talking crimes, dear, not self inflicted accidental injuries. See the difference?

Quoting turtle68:

maybe they do....I know of a person who fell over and hit the side of their head on the corner of the table, a boy around the corner fell off his skateboard, got concussion fell asleep and died.  I dont doubt people die all the time from a blunt object.

How many kids find a blunt object and accidentally kill themselves?  How many stressed out mothers use a blunt object to bludgeon their kids and husband and then beat themselves to death?

Have you got numbers on them?  Im betting that the numbers arent higher than those who use a gun to meet those ends.

Too many kids DIE from guns.  No gun, no death

Quoting kailu1835:

You know that more people die every day from blunt objects than from guns, right?



Quoting turtle68:

Its mundane and all so yawnable ...because guns are a right and stupid people kill themselves and others.  We live in a country with 315 million...this is a trickle, hardly a blip.  because sucide people will kill themselves with a knife anyway so lets dismiss them.  Bad people have guns so we MUST have them.  Good law abiding citizens are careful with their guns, they train their 3 year olds well and its all good that they shoot bb guns at traffic.

Remember...if they died from gun shot, its because they are bad criminal people.  Good people dont do that shit, well trained members of society dont do that shit and kids from 2 to 15yo KNOW how to be responsible with a gun, cause mommy and daddy taught them well.

Oh wait....


mom2the.rescue
by Bronze Member on Apr. 24, 2013 at 6:27 AM

I'd compare it to "I can talk bad about my loved ones but I'll kick anyone's butt who does the same"...kwim? 

Carpy
by Ruby Member on Apr. 24, 2013 at 6:47 AM

There is certainly a right to defend ones self.

Quoting MsDenuninani:

 There's no right to shoot people, either.


Quoting talia-mom:

because there is no right to blow people up in the constitution




Carpy
by Ruby Member on Apr. 24, 2013 at 7:03 AM

And we still suffer today, the results of prohibition.  Hmmm. that ban worked well.

Quoting TranquilMind:

 THIS!  The same people squawking that constitutionally protected weapons should be eliminated or restricted further (even though that would not affect criminals, of course) have nothing to say about why alcohol, one of the most destructive elements we have, is legal, because in that case, they understand that some abuse it but others do not.  They can properly focus on the people there, instead of the alcohol. 

Quoting NutHouseMomma:

The same reason alcohol is legal but not an issue for discussion. Innocent people are killed all the time from the use of alcohol by another person - yet, it still is legal. **shruggs** I don't see the connection with gun debates really...there were plenty of reasons presented to flag these terrorists, but yet again the ball was dropped. Maybe they freaked out because they realized their slip up. Pretty amazing how quickly they found these guys too. I'm on to how things are being handled....sadly their game of chess is predicatable...check mate!

 


Carpy
by Ruby Member on Apr. 24, 2013 at 7:05 AM

Lets not forget the two high profile events where mothers DROWNED their children.  Lets ban water.

Quoting kailu1835:

I'm talking crimes, dear, not self inflicted accidental injuries. See the difference?

Quoting turtle68:

maybe they do....I know of a person who fell over and hit the side of their head on the corner of the table, a boy around the corner fell off his skateboard, got concussion fell asleep and died.  I dont doubt people die all the time from a blunt object.

How many kids find a blunt object and accidentally kill themselves?  How many stressed out mothers use a blunt object to bludgeon their kids and husband and then beat themselves to death?

Have you got numbers on them?  Im betting that the numbers arent higher than those who use a gun to meet those ends.

Too many kids DIE from guns.  No gun, no death

Quoting kailu1835:

You know that more people die every day from blunt objects than from guns, right?



Quoting turtle68:

Its mundane and all so yawnable ...because guns are a right and stupid people kill themselves and others.  We live in a country with 315 million...this is a trickle, hardly a blip.  because sucide people will kill themselves with a knife anyway so lets dismiss them.  Bad people have guns so we MUST have them.  Good law abiding citizens are careful with their guns, they train their 3 year olds well and its all good that they shoot bb guns at traffic.

Remember...if they died from gun shot, its because they are bad criminal people.  Good people dont do that shit, well trained members of society dont do that shit and kids from 2 to 15yo KNOW how to be responsible with a gun, cause mommy and daddy taught them well.

Oh wait....



Goodwoman614
by Satan on Apr. 24, 2013 at 11:09 AM

Lol, as usual the...Usual Suspects are here, with their faulty reasoning (as usual)

LuvmyAiden
by on Apr. 24, 2013 at 11:20 AM
1 mom liked this

 There is no perfect data one way or the other but most of the data supports not working. The AWB had NO effect except strengthening the black market. Crime did not change in those years, mass shootings still happened and I have listened to convicted felons testify that guns were easier to get illegally in those years. One look at Chicago will tell you what you need to know about going after guns instead of root causes. Crime rate is huge and most of it is criminal oriented NOT legally bought weapons of any sort. Obama opened the door for federal dollars to campaign against guns, his side of that fence could care less about research. That has been made very obvious in the past few months. I am committed to solutions as well. Have you looked at numbers of people alive due to defensive use of a firearm? If you enact stricter gun laws or mess with carry laws then what? What is 10 MORE kids die per year? My point is that examining gun laws to stop violence is pointless. FIND THE CAUSE and work out how to fix that and we will have less death from ALL weapons. Isn't that what this should be about?


Quoting MsDenuninani:

 I don't think we have enough data to come to a conclusion that it's "proven to likely not work."

Just look at the qualifiers you had to use. . ."likely not work"  suggesting that you don't actually know for sure.

We don't have the data.  In some places, certain gun control laws are correlated to less crime, in other places it's not.  We don't have meaningful data -- one thing that President Obama did in his Executive Orders was to take some steps so that we can actually get it.   (Sidenote:  The NRA's lobbying efforts have played a sizable role in keeping us from the data; they repeatedly introduce measures in various bills that prevent data from being collected.)

I remain committed to finding solutions, and being experimental in the process.  I don't believe there will ever be a perfect solution, but I believe that if we even are able to reduce deaths by 10%, that would be two more children who would've celebrated Christmas with their families, and I think that's worth it. 

Quoting LuvmyAiden:

 

So wait a minute dismissing imperfect law that is proven to likely not work is bad? What about addressing the causes? What about making things better for real and not a bandaid? We are disregarding policy that hurts more than it helps. 70-75% is the commonly used stat because that is the best firgure criminologists can come up with. Some polics departments report way more but most don't report a whole lot less. The point is that at best it is more than half criminial on criminal. While the ATF does need more funding and agents to enforce current laws there is plenty of regulation already there. What we need to violence legistlastion and action not gun legistlation.

Quoting MsDenuninani:

I'm not arguing that we should eliminate guns, anymore than I am that we should eliminate pools.  I'm arguing, though, that when an item is dangerous, then it calls for more regulation.  Thus, I'm perfectly happy with regulating both pools and guns.  And as I said, there's loads of regulation and effort being put into mitigating the effects of diabetes and cancer; and the agencies that do so have a lot more leeway and funding than does the ATF.

But really, at the end of the day, what I want is for people to decide that there is a solution to reducing gun violence worth finding.  Right now, we're casually discarding actual policy that might help because it's not good enough to be perfect.  That makes no sense to me. 

Where do you get your 75% statistic? To my knowledge, there have been very little reliable studies/data as to gun deaths in this country.

Quoting LuvmyAiden:

 Despite all that deaths are still on the rise for diabetes and cancer because people CHOOSE to make bad choices, period. Cars are something like 10x more likely to kill you as are swimming pools. Are we going to outlaw pools because people make stupid choices and their kids drown?

More than 75% of gun deaths in this country are perpetrated by criminals! Criminals who we release from jail early due to budget issues! Do you see the cycle here? Reducing violence ACROSS the board should be the agenda here. Leave guns alone and go to the root. Don't change gun laws, change the way we handle criminals. Address gang violence and what causes it. Address immigration while we're at it. There are CAUSES that need to be addressed here NOT the weapons used as a result of the causes. That's like giving a cancer patient pain meds but nothing to cure the cancer. The result is NEVER a cured patient.

 

Quoting MsDenuninani:

 Right now, there are huge federal organizations devoted to preventing death from diabetes and cancer (the NIH being one).  Lots of money into research and treatment.

We have donated huge amounts of resources of time and money into making cars safer, and this has resulted in a decrease in automobile deaths. (in several states, you are more likely to die by a gun than you are in a car).   Licensing laws, and mandatory courses on driving safety help, as do keeping people who have misused a car from behind the wheel.  These kinds of things help us "legislate the stupid."

Personally, I believe that if we were to donate that kind of energy to reducing gun deaths, we would see a reduction in gun violence, without a loss in the ability to own a gun by law-abiding citizens.  There have been 3,500 lost lives to guns since Newtown -- that's more than 1,000 a month.  If anything else besides gunshot was the cause of the death, the country would be in complete unity as to prevention.

 

Quoting LuvmyAiden:

 It's funny you mention that since gun crime is on a decline but other types are not yet we still attack guns. To lawmakers the people killed with knives or fists don't matter, only those killed with guns. Only those that fit their agenda. Why is it that when progun groups try to bring up combating violence as a whole they are shot down? Why is looking at our problems as a society NEVER the answer? And since we are talking preventable deaths, what about deaths from diabetes and cancer being on the rise? Why are we not up in arms about that? You cannot legistlate stupid, that's why. Beyond that it is not the govt.'s job to keep everyone safe and they have proven they cannot. The ONLY way to prevent your untimely demise is to be aware and take your safety into your hands(however you are comfortable doing so) and even then there are no guarantees.

 

Quoting MsDenuninani:

 

 

It is a surreal and difficult-to-explain dynamic. Americans seemingly place an inordinate fear on violence that is random and unexplainable and can be blamed on "others" – jihadists, terrorists, evil-doers etc. But the lurking dangers all around us – the guns, our unhealthy diets, the workplaces that kill 14 Americans every single day – these are just accepted as part of life, the price of freedom, if you will. And so the violence goes, with more Americans dying preventable deaths. But hey, look on the bright side – we got those sons of bitches who blew up the marathon.

 That's pretty much it.

It's fine for us to kill eachother. But if a foreigner does it?  Hell, no.

And we'll suffer all kinds of inconveniences to prevent terrorist acts, but any obstacle that keeps you from purchasing a gun a little bit quicker?  Unacceptable.

It's completely irrational; and it tells us that the value we place on saving 8 year olds is dependent on how he died. 

Legal pressure cooker?  Bad.  Let's do something about it.

Legal gun? Oh, that's fine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Goodwoman614
by Satan on Apr. 24, 2013 at 11:25 AM

Because we all know that guns aren't the reason for all the ...gun violence. 

That is just a misnomer! Silly us, calling it gun violence!! 


kailu1835
by Ruby Member on Apr. 24, 2013 at 11:29 AM
1 mom liked this

Precisely.  I would like to know why so many Americans lose their heads over a TOOL.

Quoting Carpy:

Lets not forget the two high profile events where mothers DROWNED their children.  Lets ban water.

Quoting kailu1835:

I'm talking crimes, dear, not self inflicted accidental injuries. See the difference?

Quoting turtle68:

maybe they do....I know of a person who fell over and hit the side of their head on the corner of the table, a boy around the corner fell off his skateboard, got concussion fell asleep and died.  I dont doubt people die all the time from a blunt object.

How many kids find a blunt object and accidentally kill themselves?  How many stressed out mothers use a blunt object to bludgeon their kids and husband and then beat themselves to death?

Have you got numbers on them?  Im betting that the numbers arent higher than those who use a gun to meet those ends.

Too many kids DIE from guns.  No gun, no death

Quoting kailu1835:

You know that more people die every day from blunt objects than from guns, right?



Quoting turtle68:

Its mundane and all so yawnable ...because guns are a right and stupid people kill themselves and others.  We live in a country with 315 million...this is a trickle, hardly a blip.  because sucide people will kill themselves with a knife anyway so lets dismiss them.  Bad people have guns so we MUST have them.  Good law abiding citizens are careful with their guns, they train their 3 year olds well and its all good that they shoot bb guns at traffic.

Remember...if they died from gun shot, its because they are bad criminal people.  Good people dont do that shit, well trained members of society dont do that shit and kids from 2 to 15yo KNOW how to be responsible with a gun, cause mommy and daddy taught them well.

Oh wait....




babiesbabybaby development

Hi!  My name is Jenn!

kailu1835
by Ruby Member on Apr. 24, 2013 at 11:31 AM
1 mom liked this

Guns are not the reason for gun violence, violent people with guns are the reason for gun violence.  A gun can not be responsible for anything as it is an inanimate object.

And again, I would like to point out that more people are killed with blunt objects than guns every year, so guns are obviously not "the reason" for violence in general.

Quoting Goodwoman614:

Because we all know that guns aren't the reason for all the ...gun violence. 

That is just a misnomer! Silly us, calling it gun violence!! 



babiesbabybaby development

Hi!  My name is Jenn!

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