Rosa Brooks writes: Here we go again. With 12 dead bodies at Washington’s Navy Yard, not including that of the shooter, Americans are back to the usual handwringing: Why, oh why can’t we stem the tide of gun violence?
People, this is not rocket science. (Yes, I’m mad).
For a start, we have too many guns sloshing around. A recent Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) backgrounder notes that “The United States, with less than 5 percent of the world’s population, has about 35-50 percent of the world’s civilian-owned guns.” Reading the news, you might imagine that Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, or some other conflict-ravaged nation would be leading the most guns-per-capita race, but nope: That’s us. We’re number one.
Yes, you say, but guns don’t kill people, people do. Well, bless your shrunken little NRA heart, that’s true! Last I checked, guns just lying around all by themselves don’t spontaneously start shooting at elementary-school children or random passersby. With rare exceptions (“I dropped it on the floor and it just went off…”), it takes a finger on the trigger to get them going.
But while guns don’t kill people on their own, they sure make it easier for people to kill people. This, incidentally, is why our troops carry guns, instead of slingshots or brass knuckles: If you need to be able to kill quickly and surely, guns will do the trick. [Continue reading…]