According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, as of 2015, the United States has a murder rate of 4.88 per 100,000 people, which puts us 94th out of 219 countries.

In statistics compiled and maintained by the University of Sydney School of Public Health, the U.S. ranks 12th in the number of gun related deaths in the world.

Another interesting statistic is the U.S. has 101.05 firearms per 100 people. The next closest country is Serbia at 37.82.

Americans have been arguing the validity of the Second Amendment in defense of firearms for years. Certainly, the above data indicates we have more than enough weapons to go around.

HRA Gun Koko Head Range Shooting Sports Fair rifle magazines1. 19 june 2016

Rifle magazines at the Hawaii Rifle Association’s Koko Head Gun Range Shooting Sports Fair in 2016.

Cory Lum/Civil Beat

There are at least 10 major pieces of federal legislation that have been enacted pertaining to the manufacture, sale and use of firearms dating back to 1934. When incidents such as Sandy Hook, Columbine and now Parkland have occurred, there has been public outrage met with bureaucratic ambivalence and more argument between the pro and con camps to gun control.

Given the statistics above, it would seem the problem may not be so much the guns as the almost supernatural attributes that surround them. It could be argued that America may have an obsession bordering on paranoia with regards to firearms.

Most firearms owners are responsible. They recognize the danger that is associated with having them.

In spite of the statutes that exist governing the sale and use of firearms, a kid legally purchased a weapon and the necessary modifications to make it semi-automatic, entered a school and began killing people. Who do we blame? A society that has desensitized killing with movies and video games? A society that views school shootings as abstract? A society that accepts the idea that violence is OK?

We can no longer allow organizations either for or against gun control to manage the argument. Maybe now is the time to open a national dialogue that begins with the most important unit in our society: the family.

A Little Questionnaire

The following is an assessment questionnaire to gauge your firearms tolerance/intolerance. It is not generated by any credible and scholarly organization. They are simply some questions I would ask of any family group in light of the recent killings in Parkland.

It is purely subjective on my part. It is intended for each family member to complete the questionnaire and discuss it with family members.

Grading is simply based on a higher score. The closer your score to 100, the better you are:

During your discussion session, ask yourselves the following (no score here):

  1. If you could stop violence in our society, what would you do?
  2. What are you going to do?

For the short term, there is a school in Indiana that seems to have solved the problem of locking down the school and protecting lives. Perhaps the NRA could assist in getting systems like this installed nationwide. Another method is to station local law enforcement on campus.

For the long term, we need a culture change. One where parents do more parenting. One where perhaps drugs are not used so much in the treatment of certain conditions.  (So many of these drugs have negative side affects that are ignored.)

I pray that something like the shootings on the mainland never visit Hawaii.

There are other models for gun control we can investigate and perhaps adopt. One that comes to mind is how automatic weapons are handled in Switzerland.

Hunters and collectors of firearms should not be judged guilty just because they have weapons. However, they have the responsibility for managing something that can harm other human beings.

But where do we draw the line? Do I need a 105mm howitzer in my backyard?

When I was growing up in the 1950s I had a .22 and a pellet gun. Never once did I think of going home to get either weapon and go back to school and deal with some schoolyard bully I just had a brawl with.

What’s wrong? I pray that something like the shootings on the mainland never visit Hawaii. If you can come up with a better checklist, more power to you.

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About the Author

  • Victor Craft
    Victor Craft is a retired aerospace worker having functioned as an FAA certificated Airframe and Powerplants Technician, Logistician and Quality Assurance director working on several major weapons systems. Vic also served tours of duty with the armed forces in Vietnam, Kenya and the United Kingdom.