Like most other human animals who live in the U.S., I've been hearing about such instances of mass violence against groups of humans for years. According to this source there have been 62 such violent happenings since 1982...that's about one such killing spree every 6 months.
Consider this: Here's a table showing all American deaths in all the wars we've been involved in, including the first one noted....the Revolutionary war. (source)
|War of 1812||
|Civil War (Union and Confederate, estimated)||
|World War I||
|World War II||
|Persian Gulf War||
Now one of the first things I noticed about this table was the absence of any reference at all to the number of "Americans" killed in what was actually our first "war"...the one where the arriving Europeans killed the people living here first...the Native Americans. This table implies there never was a war against Native Americans...or maybe it presents a greater truth...so few of the invading Europeans were killed that they weren't worth noting.
Context that number of dead in the preceding table...1,171,177 killed in all wars since about 1776, a span of approximately 236 years, with the data in this figure which covers only 44 years.
Total deaths caused by firearms in the United States (excluding war deaths, source):
|1968 to 1980||377,000|
|1981 to 1998||620,525|
|1999 to 2010||364,483|
Since 1968, since the year in which Martin Luther King, Jr. was murdered with a gun (about 44 years ago), we "Americans" have managed to kill more of ourselves with guns than we have had killed in all the wars we've ever fought. When I stumbled across that information I was stunned. Just absolutely stunned. But the topper for me was the following graphic (source):
Like many, I've read about the belief by some that somehow civilians owning guns would keep the "government" from turning tyrannical and oppressing "the people". As the above figures show, for every firearm (handgun, rifle or shotgun) owned by the U.S. military or police, civilians own 79 firearms (handguns, rifles or shotguns). I'm sorry but that's simply sick. Those numbers don't reflect a concern with freedom or with rights...those numbers reflect a societal illness.
For a number of years I've been uneasy with anyone who seems to like guns. I grew up in rural Oklahoma, guns were all around and "normal". I spent some years in the military where I carried a gun every day I was on duty. Even there, even in the military, I was mildly uneasy around people carrying guns (including myself). I guess my take on guns and those who like guns is very well summarized by this graphic I saw on facebook.
I'm not unaware of the fact that some people do fear for their safety and it may be that their fears have some justification...If you're fearful...get a good taser or some other non-lethal device to protect yourself. You won't ever read about a "mass tasering" or a "mass pepper-spraying" where there were lots of dead. If you're determined to have a gun at least, at the very least, only have non-lethal ammunition in your gun and your home.
Bottom line, we've killed more of ourselves with guns in the last 44 years than have been killed in all the wars we've ever fought. Civilians own 80 guns for every 1 gun owned by the police or the government. Just how much more do we need to know to understand that we have serious problems with violence and with guns? We seem to be delusional and irrational about all of this...or at least many of us are. Why are we listening to people who are working out personal issues...especially when they seem to be working them out by acquiring devices designed to cause death? The whole thing is appalling and repulsive and alarming.
My posts are primarily directed toward our behavior toward our fellow animals, toward whom we are horribly violent and harmful. Well...we're also pretty violent toward ourselves, at least in this country and all of these things are connected. Certainly violence and killing is violence and killing...no matter who are the dead. The notion of thinking it is a good thing to have devices around that are designed to cause death is a notion that concerns me. Period.
Living as an ethical vegan means not harming other living beings. Wanting to have lots of devices designed to kill living beings...well...that seems to be the opposite of ethical veganism.