Dana Loesch, author of Hands of My Gun: Defeating the Plot to Disarm America, said something very insightful last night on The Kelly File. In the second part of her interview on the WDBJ shooting, she got to the very core of the gun “issue” in America: “[Americans] don’t have a gun problem. We have a criminal problem. … We glorify violence in movies, music, film, and books.”
It’s the centuries old argument of nature vs. nurture: are we biologically predestined to make the decisions that we do, or are we and our actions the products of our environment? Among the gun control activists who seize every opportunity to shout their anti-gun agendas from the rooftops, there lies a raw and sometimes painful truth beneath the hype.
America has created its own Frankenstein’s monster, and that monster is full of CSI-type TV shows, movies glorifying gang violence and street crime, and music that consistently references drugs, alcohol, money, womanizing, sexual behavior, and criminal activity. We have a society that has craved and enabled this sort of media reinforcement for decades.
But when the consequences of that reinforcement show their ugly faces, do we seek a change in our entertainment industry? No. Instead, we gather up our our signs and show our double-standard nature by shouting about our First Amendment right to “peaceably assemble,” all while fighting against that same Constitution’s Second Amendment right to bear arms.
Nicholas Kristof, a journalist for the New York Times, brought up a valid point yesterday: he stated that vehicle fatalities kill just as many people in the United States as gun violence does each year, yet we don’t see people reciting anti-vehicle chants along the our city streets. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, in 2013 there were 30,057 fatal car crashes in the United States, and that does not include the cases that resulted in injury. One statistic taken on the number of gun violence incidents so far in 2015 stated that there have been a total number of 33,278 incidents, with only about 8,512 of those incidents resulting in death. By comparison, that’s over 3.5 Americans killed by car crashes for every one killed by a gun.
With numbers like that, why not ban the selling, distribution, and use of vehicles in the United States? Because it isn’t efficient. Vehicles contribute to economic growth, they provide transportation where walking is not an option, and they allow a way for people to travel across this country. Still, with vehicles being such a great resource for nation, motor-vehicle related injuries are a leading cause of death in our country.
Yesterday’s on-air murder of two Virginia journalists who were employed by WDBJ 7 News seized the hearts of people nationwide yesterday, and I imagine that it will continue to be felt for many days to follow. I am in no way saying that the murders surrounding gun use are insignificant. Instead of paying so much attention to the tool used in these acts, however, we should focus on the person who committed the crime. The shooter had a long history of strange, racially-charged behavior, culminating in putting his entire workplace on lockdown after being fired. How did he personally not raise any red flags?
Both guns and cars are tools that can be used properly or criminally depending on the owner’s intentions. It is worth noting that, in some states, citizens have to jump through hoops before they can acquire ownership of a vehicle, yet can walk into a department and purchase a gun. Why don’t we regulate them the same way? How do some people fall through the cracks?
There will always be terrible people in this world, who do things for which we have no explanation. Our first reaction to a tragedy like this should not be to tamper with the one document that makes America the free nation that it is. Our reaction should be to implement areas of change that don’t involve rewriting our nation’s history. What would a change like that look like? I’m not sure, but I would hope that someone on Capital Hill has an answer.