Living in a country without a mass shooting incident in 9 years, quite a bit.

Darren Matthews
Aug 13 · 5 min read

In America, a mass shooting incident occurs a staggering 1.2 times a day. In the UK, where I live we haven’t had a mass shooting incident for 9 years. There is no comparison in the frequency between the UK and the US.

So, what is the difference?

Gun control; UK laws prevent the ownership of handguns and more powerful weapons. What is the outcome of this difference? Let’s look at the numbers;

So far in 2019, from mass shootings alone there have been 1,094 people shot, and of those 285 have died. 256 times the news channels have had to talk about the same thing, all in the space of fewer than 8 months.

Statistics from Wikipedia up to the 5th August 2019. Figures exclude single person deaths or injuries from gunshots.

This excludes all the previous 8 years where the UK has not had a single mass shooting event. What’s the point in comparing those numbers, 2019 is more than enough for me to make my point.

For me, there is already enough evidence to prove the need for gun control. Never mind the pain and anguish from so many loved ones dying or suffering injuries.


I don’t understand why?

This is the thing that baffles me, why does it keep happening? Why aren’t Americans seeing what I’m seeing?

America is supposed to be a great democracy, the land of the free. It is a country where creative thinking has created huge businesses. It took a man to the moon and inspired us to fight for our freedoms against communism.

A creative and entrepreneurial mindset has moved the world forward. I except that it hasn’t been perfect along the way, but I believe we are better for it.

So, why can’t Americans understand the gun problem and solve it?


It’s always someone’s fault

This is the party line in America. It is always someone’s fault. I hear things like it’s a race issue, or a white supremacist, they are the problem. Or it’s a disagreement that got out of hand or someone with a mental illness who slipped through the system.

Don’t get me wrong, whatever the motive, if it leads to injury then it is right someone is accountable for it. Actions must have consequences after all.

The American justice system kicks into gear and the culprit goes to jail or worse. As long as someone is to blame, all is okay.

But, this isn’t the solution. If it was, death from gun crime would go down. So, why isn’t that happening?


The root cause

I’m desperate to try and bring some objectivity to this problem. I want to avoid the confirmation bias that over-rides every aspect of this issue. Some call it a debate and not an issue. 256 incidents in eight months say otherwise, even more so when compared to the UK.

After the worst mass shooting in the UK’s history, which took place in a school in Dunblane, there was an inquest. An investigation to find what happened and why.

Thomas Hamilton had 4 handguns and 743 rounds of ammunition when he arrived at the school. Whatever his motives were we will never know, as he shot himself along with 32 others, killing 16 within 4 minutes, many of them children. Whatever the reason, this person had intent and a gun.

The intent is still an issue, don’t get me wrong. The UK still has its problems with the far-right and others. But, we live in a democracy where people can think and say (within reason) what they like.

So, the UK government took responsibility and introduced tougher gun laws. Thus preventing ownership of handguns and making the rules much tougher to get a gun licence. Let alone a gun.

Isn’t it as simple as that?


Blindness

What is frightening is the blindness to the solution within the United States. When a mass shooting occurs in a school, the solution we are told is more guns. Arm the teachers, they can protect the kids, the pro-gun lobby says.

If the gunman enters the school without a gun, he becomes a man. Then he isn’t a gunman and poses a different threat altogether.

Instead, bodies like the NRA want to have more guns on the streets. More high-powered weapons are their answer. The argument is the government can’t be trusted to keep the people safe. It has to be on the individual.

It must be the government’s job to protect its residents. Isn’t this the reason we pay taxes, to keep us safe?

It is astonishing to me the level of collective ignorance there is to the problem. Every reason offered smacks of confirmation bias. To me, this all boils down to leadership and a lack of it.


Where does it end?

Sometimes I do wonder what it will take. The answer to everyone but most Americans is obvious, introduce gun control. Making it harder to play computer games isn’t the answer. Putting more guns on the streets or in schools isn’t the solution either.

I know there will be those who say I don’t know what I’m talking about. But for 9 years my country has been mass shooting free, luck has nothing to do it. Gun control has prevented mass shootings, it is what responsible governments do.

No doubt the argument back will be that gun control undermines the freedoms of Americans. But, some of the population aren’t clever enough to understand with guns come death.

There is a tweet doing the rounds at the moment and it goes like this.

What is the greater value, life or the freedom to live it?

If you remove the gun, it doesn’t matter how much intent you have, you can’t shoot someone. Isn’t that the answer…

Darren Matthews

Written by

I’m a passionate writer who normally finds angst within the world of leadership and strategy. All framed within subjects such as business, politics and writing.

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