Something is definitely wrong with America’s priorities. The “War on Terror” rages on, despite the almost total lack of actual terrorists attacking Americans. Meanwhile, citizens are being killed and wounded with startling regularity. In fact, children are taking more American lives than terrorists. It sounds like something from the Onion, but it’s real.
This year, the death toll from terrorists is 3. Last year, it was 6, and we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention that the terrorists were White Supremacists. Young children are doing a much better job of killing people than terrorists. A New Jersey 4 year old killed a 6 year old. An Ohio 3 year old shot himself. A Kentucky 5-year old killed his 2-year old sister. An 8-year old Alaska boy killed his 5-year-old sister. A 4-year-old Houston boy killed himself with his dad’s gun. And in Florida, a 4-year-old was killed by one of two other children in a car — a car in which they were left unsupervised, and in which there was a loaded gun.
We can stop there. Children are already surging ahead of terrorists as the bigger threat to Americans. But we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention that pets are giving terrorists a good run for their money. A Florida dog shot a man in the leg. A Massachusetts police dog took his best shot, but didn’t manage to hit anybody. It seems only a matter of time before man’s best friend is going to finish the job.
Since Newtown, there have been at least 3,835 gun deaths in America. If you recall, the death toll from 9/11 was less than 3000. When we add up all the domestic terror attacks since 2000, it’s still less than 3000. More Americans have died in just 6 months at the hands of other Americans.
Your odds — yes, YOU — your odds of being killed at the hands of a terrorist? Somewhere in the neighborhood of 1 in 3 million. Or, if you like, 0.00001 percent. What are your odds of being a victim of gun violence? Pretty decent. Especially if you own a gun. You’re also significantly more likely to take your own life with a gun if you own one. (Duh.) Even if you don’t own a gun, and we just look at a straight percentage in the general population, you’re still orders of magnitude more likely to die from a gun wielded by an American than to die by any means at the hands of a terrorist. (Think about it: 3000 terror deaths in 12 years vs 30,000+ per year Americans killing Americans with guns.)
Let’s think about this another way. There were 4800 U.S. deaths in the Iraq War. There have been 1803 in Afghanistan. Only 258 of us died in the Gulf War. Vietnam, by far the most deadly war since World War II, took 58,209. The Korean War, 36,516. When we add all these wars, we come up with a grand total of 101,586. That’s a lot of Americans killed by enemies in war.
In roughly the same time period, over 1.25 million Americans have been killed by other Americans with guns. That’s almost 3 times as many deaths as during World War II.
What are we doing about it? For one thing, we’re giving 3-year-olds lifetime memberships to the NRA. We’re shooting down even half-hearted attempts at legislating background checks. Despite 86% approval of these checks by the public. We’re carrying guns to rallies. We’re passing laws to let college students bring guns to school. We’d like to train elementary school teachers to get into firefights with madmen.
In short, America has gone completely barking mad. We are bowing to the sacred 2nd amendment as some sort of holy writ while we cheer for pundits advocating the suspension of nearly every other amendment in the Bill of Rights. Somehow, we have decided that the cure for what ails us is more of what ails us, and to prove our point, we threaten to shoot people if we don’t get our way. All the while, our death toll continues to rise, and the idea of comparing ourselves to any other developed nation goes farther and farther out the window. We are not a First World Country when it comes to guns. This is a fact.
Sadly, it seems naive to even begin to talk about solutions at this time. Capitol Hill Republicans have made it painfully clear that they do not care a whit that 86% of Americans would like to see more gun regulation. They are not going to budge. The good news, of course, is that by remaining obstinate to the will of the people, they have given the people only one option, and that is to vote them out of Washington. While America is turning into a dystopian cowboy nightmare, Republicans are making things worse, and they’re not even bothering to hide it. It’s going to take an almost unprecedented rallying of moderate and left-leaning voters to dislodge the Gerrymander-entrenched Republicans. Maybe, just maybe this is the issue.