What’s the truth behind “gun” violence?
The United States is an enormous territory with different cultures, geographies, histories, climates, cuisines and many other aspects which differentiates a region from its neighbors. Claiming America has a gun violence issue is an incredibly vague statement that in most parts of the country lacks zero evidence, yet in other regions might just be an understatement.
When looking at numbers on a state-by-state basis homicide rates vary from 1.3 per 100,000 residents in New Hampshire, to 11.8 per 100,000 residents in Louisiana. New Hampshire, Vermont, Idaho, and Oregon, all of which have among the lowest homicide rates in North America, get Brady Campaign score of D-, F, F, and D+. The US has a murder per capita rate of 5.3 deaths per 100,000 residents, Mexico is about 16 per 100,000, despite the fact that on average Mexico has 15 guns per 100 residents and the US has 101 guns per 100 residents. Last year in St. Louis, the murder rate was 50 per 100,000 residents — more than three times Chicago’s during the same period.
What all these metrics say is laws don’t matter and the number of guns owned isn’t relevant, what matters is culture and how we choose to respect each other. Culture is why Mexico has a murder rate that is three times that of the USA, despite only have 14 percent as many guns per 100 residents. Culture is why New Hampshire has a homicide rate that is just 2.6 percent of St. Louis.
Cultures which promote human respect and the acceptance of differing values will find themselves more harmonious, prosperous and with less violence than cultures which don’t value those same principles. It’s hard to advocate respect and find peace when we are constantly trying to force our personal values on others by voting for a politician to control the actions of society. Just because one may not find value in a gun, doesn’t mean someone else won’t. Peaceful and respectful individuals don’t hire mobsters, hitmen or politicians to force their personal values upon others.
In 2016 1600 people were killed with knives, yet where is the outcry for knife control? There isn’t one because most people find an everyday use for knives, knives have a universal purpose to help make our lives easier. Just as knives can be used for evil, so can guns. Our culture needs to change, some states like New Hampshire have a culture which respects life, and others like Louisiana are lacking. Laws can’t change that, only moral people leading by example can.
While I don’t love guns, others do. Now think about what you love, how would you like it if a group of individuals were trying to use politicians and police to take from you what you love? Is this a recipe for peace, a nation in a constant battle over who gets to control arbitrary laws? I think we can all agree voting every two years to control one another through the proxy of a politician is not how society will achieve peace and prosperity. Changing our culture to one which maximizes human respect and values persuasion and trade over the coercive arbitrary power of government will lead to a more prosperous, civil, and less violent society.