- Posted December 8, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Re: Fareed Zakaria on America's Gun Violence
Gun violence in American is not an issue of guns or gun laws. We have gun laws and almost all homicides committed in this country, by firearm, are committed with people who have already violated our current firearms laws to obtain the firearm. What we need are stiffer penalties for violating the laws that are already on the books. Say, if someone committed a homicide with an illegally possessed firearm, a minimum of 50 years in jail with no chance for parole. Something like this could seriously decrease homicide by firearm in this country. Fareed seems to skip this step and suggest that we need to ban firearms, or at least certain types of firearms like Australia did.
My response to Fareed would have to be that banning semiautomatic firearms would negate the purpose of the second amendment to the Constitution. Here Fareed falsely represents the purpose of the second amendment as only applying to a "well regulated militia". What Fareed fails to mention is what a "well regulated militia" was during the writing of the Constitution. It was, in fact, every able bodied male over the age of 16 who were REQUIRED to own a firearm for use as a member of the militia. Additionally, if that same law were to be written today, it would necessarily have to include women. This means that the second amendment's "well regulated militia" statement applies to the people of this country, all of whom make up the militia. While there is no requirement today to own a firearm, in most counties, the second amendment still applies to the people of this country who will be the militia. That is all of us. If one were to have doubt, this subject was debated by the states before ratification of the Constitution. In several states the question of what a "well regulated militia" was, was brought to the floor. The answer in every last case was that a well regulated militia was the people of this country. It was debated and answered before the Constitution was ratified, so why is Fareed Zakaria trying to represent the words of our Constitution as something else? In his article he says that this applies to only organized militia and the army. This is 100%, absolutely false and the SCOTUS has already ruled on it. Our law, as written and handed down by our founders, was intended to ensure that every able bodied person in this country could defend this nation from any enemy. This includes the United States own government, as WWII Germany proved that your own government can become the enemy. For the second amendment to fill it's purpose, the people of this nation need to have access to firearms of equal quality as those in the US military. This means AR-15's and semiautomatic firearms. If we look at our own history, we had a difficult time breaking away from England because or founding fathers didn't have the same quality firearms that the British had. It wasn't until the French helped supply us that our armies and militia's actually had equality in firearms. But this thought couldn't possibly have gone through our founding fathers heads when they penned the second amendment, could it?
The last subject Fareed seems to leave out is that we did, in fact, have a ban on "assault weapons" and high capacity magazines. During the time this law was implemented in the US, homicide by firearm actually INCREASED in the US. Now, Fareed, if your conclusion were true we'd have seen a reduction in homicide by firearm and in mass shootings. In fact, the opposite happened. Gun violence in the US didn't start decreasing again until this law was lifted. In addition I could quote the statistics in Chicago, a city in the US with some of the toughest gun control laws in the nation. Yet they have one of the highest homicide by firearm rates in the US. Like the national assault weapons ban, the laws in Chicago have done nothing but increase the violence by firearm rate. If Fareed's, conclusions were accurate, this could never have happened. However, history has shown Fareed's conclusions about gun violence in the US to be false. We can't compare ourselves to European nations or to Canada. Our country allows way more freedoms than those countries. Our country was founded because we believed in the power of the individual over the power of government. We actually broke away from those other countries because we didn't want to be like them. Why, now, should we attempt to emulate them?
Yet another assertion that Fareed makes is that, "Every time there is a serious gun massacre in the United States – and alas these are fairly common – the media focuses on the twisted psychology of the shooter and asks why we don't pay more attention to detecting and treating mental illness." First of all, Mr. Fareed, gun massacres are not at all common in this country. Less than 1% of all homicides by firearm are related to mass shootings. The real fact is that 80% of all firearms related shootings (8,900 out of 11,100 according to the CDC's latest data) is gang related. That leaves just 2200 non-gang related homicides by firearm in the US per year. That's a small number when you consider that we have over 315 million people in this country. Now, also consider that a large portion of that 2200 homicides by firearm is police involved shootings. I can't seem to locate the specifics today, but I looked them up at one point and I seem to recall that something like 30% of this number was police related justified homicides. Additionally, you have civilian justified homicides in this number. This easily makes up another 10% of the 2200 homicides by firearm not committed by gang members each year.
Another thing I noticed in Fareed's article is that he discusses the "homicide by firearm rate" and discusses how it is 12 times higher in the US than some other countries he hand picked. He goes on to add specific numbers like 10,000 versus 500 and other such numbers failing to mention that the US has ten times the population of the country with only 500. What he fails to mention is that the simple "homicide rate per capita", regardless of weapon, is only two to three times higher in the US. So what does this mean? It means that many of the homicides committed would be committed 3 out of 5 times even if a firearm is not present. Therefore, banning firearms for a non-firearms related problem is just crazy. The root of the problem is violence in the US, specifically in major cities. Most of this violence is because of gang activity.
Fareed's conclusions were all wrong. I submit that if we were to address homicide by firearm in the US from a statistical point of view, banning semiautomatic firearms is pointless. Especially attacking the AR-15 which has had almost no influence on the homicide by firearm rate. Rather, we should address the problem by looking at who is committing the homicide. We should go after and eliminate gangs that use firearms. As I asserted earlier, anyone caught in this activity should be in jail for a minimum of 50 years, perhaps even life. No chance for parole before 50 years, no loopholes. After a few years, the number of gang members actually committing these crimes would reduce simply because they don't want to go to jail that long. For US gang members, it's almost a badge of honor to have been in jail for 5-10 years. Let them see their friends go to jail for life with no chance of parole and never come back and perhaps they'd change their mind. Also, after a few years, many of the dangerous gang members would simply be in jail for extended periods of time. This alone would reduce violent crime rates in any major city. In addition to this we should try any gang member as an adult, always. If the person being tried is old enough to make the decision to become a gang member, they are old enough to be tried as an adult, and treated like one. This would deter young kids from joining gangs. Especially after they see some of their friends tried as adults, and word gets around that gang members are always tried as adults. At a minimum it would get the young gang bangers off the streets for longer periods of time, thereby reducing violent crime rates over the long term. If we could eliminate 2/3rds of gang related homicide by firearm, our national homicide rate would fall to that of any of the countries you listed. Instead of our homicide rate being 2-3 times that of other countries, we would become a model for them. We could show the world that you can allow your law abiding citizens to own firearms and not have a high homicide rate (notice I didn't say homicide by firearm).