Reasonable controls

Scarcely a day goes by in America without a news report that some individual, driven by motivations that one often can only imagine, has used a firearm to take the life of another. A gun is, far and away, the weapon of choice for anyone bent on deadly violence – whether it be to take one’s own life or to kill another fellow human being.

America has 4.4 percent of the world’s population but almost half of the civilian-owned guns throughout the world. So it’s hardly surprising that our nation has a firearm homicide rate six times that of Canada, 15 times as high as in Germany. The reason is simple. The more guns, the more gun homicides. Guns allow people to kill much more easily than do other weapons. According to the Mass Shooting Tracker database, there is a mass shooting (four or more victims, including the shooter) in the United States every day.

In addition to being the country that feeds three-quarters of the world’s arms trade, we are the country that supplies most of the world’s violent entertainment. A major factor in our disturbing culture of violence is – and has been for decades – its constant portrayal by various entertainment media.

The almost limitless array of video games for both children and adults is every bit as desensitizing. Children play those games day after day – 13 hours a week for boys and five hours for girls. Content analysis by the research organization Children Now shows that a majority of video games include violence and about half of such incidents would result in serious injury or death in the “real” world. And all of this violence is void of any consequence or moral reflection.

The concerted effort by millions of Americans to bring about reasonable and responsible gun controls should continue. But until we place a similar emphasis on addressing our underlying culture of violence, there can be little hope that the senseless and wanton killings now a part of our daily experience will be diminished in any meaningful way.

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