After the most recent deadly round of mass shootings in America, it has become increasingly clear that we have a severe problem with gun-related homicides in this great nation. So severe, in fact, that recent data shows that the rates of gun violence in this country are so high, it now puts us on par with those in failed states and actual war zones. Let that sink in.
The University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation released data from recent years saying that the US came in second only to Brazil in the total number of gun-related deaths. The top six countries for firearm-related fatalities were Brazil, United States, Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia, and Guatemala. Common denominators? Drug-related violence, gang-related violence, or severe political instability. Sound familiar?
The US also finds itself amid the company of the 20 countries with the highest rates of gun related deaths – 10.6 deaths per 100,000 citizens – placing us with El Salvador, notoriously one of the most violent places in the world, and 2019’s LEAST PEACEFUL country, as named by the Global Peace Index, Afghanistan.
Obviously, the US varies from countries who are active war zones and failed states, as we are not engaged in conflict on our own soil but it’s the way our gun violence plays out– mass shootings in public places like schools, stores, theaters, places of worship, etc, that resemble the settings in war zones. Also mass shooters tend to target children and civilians and therefore our response to this type of gun violence is the exactly the type of response we would see in a war zone as well.
For instance, we now know that the shooter in El Paso who opened fire in Walmart killing 22 people, used a semiautomatic AK-47 variant, similar to one first used by the Soviet military. It is now believed that the suspect also left a manifesto that said he tried to procure a distinct type of ammo, 8M3, which was first developed by the Russian military achieve maximum violence and lethal potential.
According to the Washington Post, the shooter in Dayton, Ohio, used an AR-15-style rifle, wore body armor, and went through 100 ammunition rounds as he took the lives of nine civilians, including the life of his own sister.
The response to these too-frequent mass shootings has clearly become militarized- day cares, schools, basically ANY location where children gather have “active shooter drills” regularly, including in INFANT ROOMS. Similar to Cold War-era “duck and cover” drills, toddler aged children respond to active shooter drills and it’s creating a different reality for this generation.
Former President Barack Obama offered his thoughts via Twitter,
“No other nation on Earth comes close to experiencing the frequency of mass shootings that we see in the United States… No other developed nation tolerates the levels of gun violence that we do.”Former President Barack Obama