Consequences of the Gun violence in the US

By César Chelala

An epidemic is hitting the US and ordinary citizens are unable to stop it. The reason is simple: the laws protect the killers. And those responsible for making the laws have abdicated their responsibility. The US Gun Violence Archive reports that mass shootings increased from 269 in 2014 to 693 in 2021. The victims often include children, engulfed in a wave of violence and death that is increasingly targeting schools.
Lawmakers — mostly Republican — systematically refuse to enact legislation that will effectively control arms sales. This frustrates most Americans, who support stricter gun controls. In the meantime, kids go to school in constant fear that they will be the next victims of a mass shooting spree. According to Education Week, which has been tracking school shootings since 2018, there were 27 school shootings between the 1st January and 25th May 2022.
About 40,000 Americans die each year of gun homicides, suicides or accidental shootings, in contrast, Japan, a country of 127 million people, on average reports approximately 10 gun-related deaths per year. One reason is that Japan has more effective gun control laws. While buying guns in the US is as easy as buying chewing gum, in Japan applicants must pass a long list of checks and tests. They comprise of a background check that includes interviews with friends and family and a thorough mental health evaluation carried out by a certified hospital.
One cannot disregard the role of gender and race when confronting the issue of mass killings in the US, since practically all mass shootings are carried out by white males.
The young men who commit these acts of violence are sometimes suffering from overt trauma, including childhood neglect which manifests as depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts and attempts; social isolation despite a desire to belong to a community of peers or others; and a feeling of powerlessness. They have nothing to lose and these violent acts can be understood as manifestations of self-hate and a desire to appropriate power.
“Most young shooters have been the victims of ACE — Adverse Childhood Experiences. These are the result of situational issues such as parental abuse, a violent community life, problems at school and poverty. While these issues may surface at schools, there are severe limitations on what school personnel can do. Parental consent is always needed for interventions. Self-referral is unusual and unlikely in cases with familial problems. Many schools do not have psychological or social work services at all,” says Dr. Barbara Kantz, a retired college professor who taught Human Services at the State University of New York.
Local authorities often feel powerless at the lack of federal guidance to curb the universal accessibility of guns. Americans bought almost 20 million guns in 2021, the second busiest year on record. The Small Arms Survey of 2017 estimated that there were more guns than people in the US, somewhere around 393 million firearms in a country of 326,474,000 inhabitants. Since not every person in the US owns a gun, it means that many people own more than one.
President Biden has proposed several important measures including a ban on assault weapons, expansion of background checks, obligatory safe storage of weapons, a ‘red-flag’ law and a repeal of the liability clause that shelters gun manufacturers from being sued.
They should be complemented, however, by enacting federal legislation aimed at stricter enforcement of gun registration; effective control of the manufacture, sale and import of firearms; and harsher penalties for violating these rules. In addition, severe penalties should be imposed on parents and other adults whose children have access to firearms, or adults who give them as presents to children.
Gun violence is also an economic problem, since lack of employment opportunities increases the risk of gun violence.
As Reverend Gregory Boyle, who works on this issue in East Los Angeles, has said “nothing stops a bullet like a job.” One Summer Chicago Plus, a jobs program designed to prepare youth from some of the city’s most violent neighborhoods, saw a 43 percent drop in violent-crime arrests among its participants.
The widespread sale of guns is almost without any restrictions and the right to bare them is becoming a step backwards in controlling violence.
–The Daily Mail-China Daily news exhange item