Guns

This awful killing in Orlando appears to have cracked another chasm into the porous crust that is American society.  Back with the Columbine shooting it was bullying, films and computer games that made them do it.  The Virginia Tech and Sandy Hook massacres brought to light mental health issues and the lack of support vulnerable individuals received.  The San Bernardino shooting raised the issue of Islamist extremism, as did the atrocity at Pulse nightclub in Orlando.  Then we have the shooting in Killeen, Texas in 1991 when George Jo Hennard killed 23 people and wounded 27 others, because he hated women.  What about Binghampton in 2007, where 13 people died at the trigger fingers of Jiverly Antares Wong, whose motives included being degraded for his poor English skills.  Dylann Roof killed 9 people in a Charleston church last year because he was trying to incite a race war.  The Orlando shooting was a hate crime too, this time solely aimed at the LGBT community.

It appears that with every awful incident, a new discussion is dredged up.  Homophobia, Islamophobia, Xenophobia to name a few.  The motives change, the discussion changes, but the results remain the same.  Large-scale death in a country that is A) largely at peace and B) the wealthiest nation on Earth.  I’m not a scientist but it would appear fruitful to attempt to dilute the emotion that quite expectedly pervades these post-massacre discussions and try to distill some common factors on all these mass-shootings.  What is quite obvious is that motive is largely irrelevant.

When your country has had 133 mass shooting incidents THIS YEAR (as of only June 13th),  it’s time to approach the problem not case by case but as an overall trend.  What is the common factor in all these massacres?  It’s not terrorism.  It’s not religion.  It’s not race.  No, nearly all the massacres are committed by men and every single massacre is undertaken with a gun.

Why is it nearly always a male?  Testosterone?  Societal pressures to be macho?  Late development of impulse control and the awareness of consequences?  Probably these and loads more.  But 98% of all mass-killings in America are committed by males.  Not sure how even Trump would succeed in justifying a ban on all men in America, so this may be the trickier side of the coin to address.

The gun issue is surely the most straight forward.  Right?  RIGHT?  Here is the gun that was used in the Orlando killing spree:

Not sure it’s what the founding fathers had in mind when they scribbled down every citizen’s right to bear arms.  This was the gun of choice in 1777:

On average, it fired 3 rounds a minute. The AR-15 Assault Rifle on the other hand (the first picture if you’re wondering)…..

Its firing speed is dependent on how quick your trigger finger is, but it’s capable of firing 800 rounds a minute.  So 13.3 bullets A SECOND!  Seeing as the magazine only has 30 bullets, this greatly reduces the number of shots you’ll get, especially considering you could finish off a magazine in under three seconds.   It seems peculiar to have a gun on the market that can fire more bullets than you can humanly carry in less time than Usain Bolt takes to run a lap.  I mean how many quail are you trying to kill when you’re out hunting with Hank and the boys?

The AR-15 Assault Rifle was the gun of choice to kill 20 children and 6 adults at Sandy Hook.  James Holmes used it as his predominant firearm when shooting up the cinema in Aurora, killing 12 and injuring 58 (motive largely accepted as insanity).  It was one of the guns used in the San Bernardino atrocity.  The Orlando killer, Omar Mateen, bought the rifle legally one week before his rampage.

Now, politicians in the US seem stricken by some sort of NRA-funded paralysis on the issue so it seems like it’s down to the citizens of America, those who the Founding Fathers wrote the Second Amendment for in the first place, to stand up, have a word and get the most bleeding obvious factor to gun crime off their streets.  Namely, guns.  And if we have to start somewhere, specifically automatic assault rifles like the AR-15.