Originally Posted by MaryO
Regardless of the "right to bear arms" it is still important to make sure that this conversation comes down to so much more than whether or not a citizen should be allowed to own guns. We must remember to keep the mental health issues, safety of our schools. community involvement, etc. in our conversations.
I wholeheartedly agree with you, Mary. However issues such as mental health are far harder to tackle in the immediate future than that of small arms. I'm not saying that they should be completely ignored, but not enough countries in the world have adequate health care systems - let alone one that can provide proper mental health care - for all their citizens. If one is fortunate and affluent enough to have access to accurate diagnosis and necessary treatment then that is a blessing. The business of improving the mental health and general well being of the poor, disaffected, and misguided members of any society - some of whom may wish to do harm to others - is a long-term goal and certainly one that we all should be headed towards.
Yet whilst we're doing that is the idea of having fewer firearms in the world and fewer people able to access those arms inconceivable? Would not such an idea be considerably easier and quicker to achieve? To quote from that IANSA publication
I linked to earlier:
"Guns may not be the root cause of violence, but they multiply it dramatically. Poverty, unemployment, injustice, frustration, fear, jealousy or depression can kindle the spark of violence; adding guns to such a volatile environment is like throwing petrol onto a fire.
When guns replace fists - or knives - the outcome is far more likely to result in death. So a mundane case of road rage turns into a homicide. An alcohol-fuelled argument leaves behind a corpse. Faced with the breakdown of personal relationships, such as and act of infidelity, a gun can turn a moment of blinding anger into a lifetime of regret. A dispute between neighbouring communities can erupt into a war once the first shots ring out.
The power to transform tension or anxiety into tragedy in an instant is a design characteristic of small arms. Guns are designed for the purpose of killing. Gunshot wounds are particularly severe compared with other injuries, because of the extensive damage to surrounding tissue. Guns, unlike knives, can kill at a distance, whether by direct aim or by a stray bullet. The presence of a gun also reduces the likelihood of bystanders intervening to assist the victim or to pacify the assailant."
"All societies are affected by gun violence but poor countries suffer the brunt of the impact. Poor people are the most likely to be shot, yet they are the least likely to receive treatment and rehabilitation. An estimated 3000 people a day are left severely injured by guns - that's three for every person killed [. . .] Because the direct victims of gun violence are overwhelmingly young and male, the death rate can have a serious impact on a country's workforce, especially in regions where women are traditionally occupied with bringing up a family."
I think that last paragraph highlights the crux of the problem: when prosperous nations hear about influenza or malaria having such an affect on a poorer country's mortality rate then they do not hesitate to rush over and help. Yet someone somewhere is surely profiting from the manufacture and trade of small arms and it is the ones that can least afford to acquire them - both in terms of financial cost and the cost of human life - who suffer the most for it.