There is one thing Americans seem to cherish MORE than the Christian Bible: guns. As reported last week in The Guardian,
There are approximately 90 guns for every 100 people in the US (a rate almost 15 times higher than England and Wales). More than 85 people a day are killed with guns and more than twice that number are injured with them. Gun murders are the leading cause of death among African Americans under the age of 44.That's an amazing amount of firepower! Since most people don't hunt for food anymore, why do we need so many damn guns?
There are no guns at all in our household, not even a water pistol or a bb gun. This fact probably irritates the National Rifle Association (NRA) because these people think guns are an elemental necessity in these United States of America. If they had their way, every red-blooded [white] American citizen would be presented with a gun at birth and expected to collect as many as possible throughout their lives!
The NRA is so enamored with guns that they fight ANY type of regulation -- no matter how trivial -- tooth-and-nail. Any effort to try to lessen the number of deaths by gun in this country is met with staunch and well-funded opposition. And why does the NRA fight for the rights of gun owners so vociferously? Because of the most antiquated amendment in the US Constitution.
The second amendment to the US constitution reads: "A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed." There has long been a dispute about whether "the people" described refers to individuals or the individual states. But there is no disagreement about its broader intent, which is to provide the constitutional means to mount a military defence against a tyrannical government.The 2nd Amendment made sense in the late 18th and early parts of the 19th century. Our nation's national military was weak and a concerned citizenry may have been able to defend themselves against tyranny. But that isn't true anymore.
The citizens are no match for the present US police-state. Does anyone really think that a group of armed citizens are any match for a military apparatus that easily can deploy tanks, rocket launchers, missiles and drones? Having a shotgun in your pickup or a semiautomatic pistol in your nightstand is a relic from bygone days. Yes, it might protect the home from a would-be burglar, but it won't protect you if the police decide to break down your front door!
I think it should be obvious to anyone that America's love affair with the gun has not been particularly beneficial to our society. More people are killed, injured or maimed domestically by guns in the US than any other western democracy. Most of the mass shootings that take place each year happen here.
For all of our vaunted freedoms, the one I have the most trouble fathoming is why we fight so hard to preserve the freedom to shoot each other.