Saturday, June 11, 2016

"Guns make the world a safer place"

Picture from Christina's Facebook

Christina Grimmie, aged 22, was shot dead today after her concert by a man who randomly walked up to her. She's not the first to die from a senseless gun-related death and neither will she be the last. There are some who are already asking people not to bring a political agenda to her death but when you have people dying daily from shootings, is it really still a political agenda or is it part of a bigger issue of protecting our basic right to live?

I'm no US citizen but I have to say that this whole obsession over the right to own guns continues to defy me. I know it's not my argument to make, but to be honest unless you have lost someone to gun violence, it's not your argument to make in support of guns too.

I occasionally read US news and whenever a news on gun related death pops up, you have the usual gun supporters appear, getting all defensive about this whole gun debate. If only they can see how US compare to the whole wide world. If only they seriously consider the numbers. But most of the time, they refuse to look at the other side of the argument, defending their position zealously with the same rehashed arguments.

Arguments like:


1. You can kill others with other means (ie knife) as well

Obviously these people have not played any shooting games like Counter-Strike before, because if you do, you would have realised how hard it is to kill someone with a knife as compared to a gun. Yes, you can still stab someone to death, but that would require you to get close enough to the person and even then, the number of people you can stab at one go before getting stopped by bystanders is terribly limited.

With a gun, you can shoot someone from afar before the person even knows what is going on. And did anyone mention that the mortality rate from a stab wound is much lower than a gunshot wound? A knife abdominal wound has a 1% mortality rate, whereas a gunshot abdominal wound has 11-15% mortality rate. That's more than 10% difference, which is a lot.

Even if you can reduce death rates by 10%, shouldn't you be open to that?


2. Even with strict gun laws you can still easily buy guns from the black market if you wanted to

I assume people who make statements like this watch too much Hollywood movies, who assume that going to the black market is as easy as going to Walmart or your store next door. While black markets exist, it's called a black market for a reason. You need connections to know where to go. To these people, since guns exist in the black market, it won't won't make a difference if you put them in Walmart, 7-11s or Amazon.

To those who make this argument, I would love to see you go to a country like France (because that's one of the common arguments used) and try to get a gun from the black market there. Or any country with strict gun laws, since it's so easy.


3. Guns don't kill, it's the people who do

Yes guns don't kill, but the potential of them killing is so much higher than say a pillow. Cars don't kill, terrible drivers do, but that's not stopping us from making safer cars and enacting laws to make driving safer, such a speeding rules, traffic lights and licensing so that we don't put incompetent people behind the wheels.

But somehow, the logic of owning a car / driving does not apply to owning a gun / shooting. Because guns ownership is seen as a universal right. That's like your 80 year old grandma demanding to be given the keys to your car because it's her "universal right".


4. There are so many other ways a person can die, eg car accidents, smoking etc. Why target guns specifically?

Yes, while this is true, but as mentioned in Point 3, people are coming with all ways to make driving and smoking safer or less accessible. There's drive safe campaigns and anti-smoking campaigns, regulators are coming with age limits and product messages to try to deter people from smoking. But when you try to introduce iniatives like the smart gun and you have angry mobs accusing you of trying to take away their guns.


5. But if the victim had a gun he/she would have perhaps stayed alive!

Perhaps the most absurd argument of all is that if everyone is allowed to have guns to protect themselves, we won't have so many people dying from gun related deaths. The only reason why people die from gun incidents is because they can't pull out a gun to defend themselves. These are also the people who watch too much Hollywood movies.

After all, how many of us go to schools, concerts or restaurants with our hands on our guns (even if we have them) all the time, absolutely prepared in case someone comes inside shooting? Wouldn't that be a terribly paranoid life, where we are constantly on the lookout for a shooter (in case there's one) instead of focusing on what we're actually doing (ie eating, studying, or just enjoying ourselves)?

Surprise is always the biggest factor when it comes to the amount of damage inflicted because shooters always strike when you least expect it. Unless you want the country to become a Wild Wild West state, where everyone is prepared to shoot everyone at any time.


But at the end of the day, nothing will really change. Because gun ownership is so intertwined with the American identity, along with the politics and money behind it, that any attempts to discuss the issue will be violently and dismissively shut down, like any other national issue.

It's sad though, because if there's one thing that defines the world today, it's how unwilling we are to accept arguments contrary to our own, not matter how logical they are. It's even sadder than we have to continue losing beautiful souls unneccesarily just because.

[Edits: 0]

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