The only cure for our firearm pandemic is to reduce our number of firearms to the rate held by the 37 most developed countries, limit their power and capacity, and track all ammunition.
By Ed Raymond
Why American Kids Need More School Active-Shooter Drills Than Fire Drills
The Fargo-Moorhead metropolitan area has a population of about 250,000. The Divided States of America has 330 million. The best estimate of the number of usable firearms in the country is 425 million. That’s enough to have 1.3 firearms for each man, woman, child, and baby in the metro, or 325,000 firearms.
But we must remember that we live in a section of the country where the Guns ’R’ Us crowd rules. No one actually knows how many firearms are in the country or any city or section of the country because firearms are not licensed except for automatic machine guns. We can only guess how many. I think it’s possible we have more than 650,000 firearms in the metro area.
Convince me I’m wrong.
So with the current mass shootings in Georgia, Colorado, and Virginia, here we go again, hearing a thousand times over, too-short “thoughts” and too-long “prayers.” We have lived here 68 years. I don’t remember a mass killing, but now we have shootings every day. Don’t ever say “It can’t happen here.”
To start the discussion about gun control, I have three questions: (1) Why should any civilian have a rifle or pistol that can fire more than six rounds without changing magazines or clips? (2) Why do we allow civilians to purchase ammunition with muzzle velocities exceeding 750 feet per second for pistols and 1,000 feet per second for rifles? (3) Why should any civilian have access to a .50 caliber sniper rifle that can destroy an engine block a mile away or kill a man two miles away. Or access to a 12-gauge “Street Sweeper” with a drum holding 12 rounds and fire them in 3.5 seconds?
If you have to ask why, buy three unboned large hams, line them in a row, and fire a pistol round of 750 fps and check the damage. Then fire a rifle round that exceeds 3,500 fpc and check the damage. If you haven’t hit a bone, fire another round at the bones and see what happens.
Military firearms and military ammunition have no business being on any streets of a civilized country. If you need an AR-15 with a 30-round magazine to kill a deer or bear, you shouldn’t even be in the woods. Those firearms are designed to kill as many humans as possible in the shortest time possible. Adam Lanza, the mentally disturbed Sandy Hook killer of 20 first graders and six adults, fired 154 rounds in less than five minutes with a Bushmaster semi-automatic. One child was struck with 11 military rounds.
Fire 11 rounds with 3,500 fpc into those three hams and see what you have left. Meat for pea and ham soup.
We Have Been in a Firearm Pandemic for a Half-Century With No Vaccine
Why is the Divided States of America the only country to suffer a firearm pandemic? Because we have an uncontrolled gun culture composed of the National Rifle Association and 12,600 firearm manufacturers.
The NRA was formed in 1871 to promote gun safety and improve the marksmanship in the military, law enforcement officers, and the general public, including young hunters. But in 1977 the NRA was taken over in a coup by a group that recognized fortunes could be made if they joined forces with firearm manufacturers.
Today, the NRA has been bankrupted by corrupt leadership who cleaned out the cookie jar filled by innocent hunters and greedy manufacturers. The executives dressed in $5,000 suits, shopped in expensive boutiques, stayed in five-star hotels, ate in five-star restaurants, vacationed in the Bahamas and other luxurious resorts, and traveled by private jet to escape the peasants. And they left American society with the world’s worst firearm problem, the pandemic fact that 4.4% of the world’s population has 42% of the world’s firearms.
And people with lots of guns kill lots of people. In 2020 we killed 44,000 and wounded 100,000 with firearms. We set a record with the killed, 4,000 more than any year in history.
Why do we kill and wound so many? Because too many firearms flood every part of the country. We can’t even track the 300,000 that are stolen every year. Our firearm kill rate hovers around 33 per million people. The 40 top industrialized, “civilized” countries range between 0.7 per million and 5 kills per million.
Here Are Just a Few Facts About Firearm Deaths in the World
** What is the Republican excuse we hear every time we have a nationally publicized shooting? We have to do something for “mental health!” Forget the guns! Hire more mental health professionals! Research of 37 top industrialized countries shows that our spending rate on mental health is about the same, the number of health professionals, the rate of severe mental disorders, and other mental factors are about the same.
** Whether the citizens of a country play more violent video games than others appears to have no effect on firearm deaths.
** The Divided states are not prone to more crime than other developed countries, but American crime is more lethal. Londoners are robbed at the same rate, but a New Yorker is 54 times more likely to be killed in the process.
** While we had 133 mass shootings in 2016, Finland had two and Switzerland 1. By law, any Swiss man eligible for military service must keep a rifle in the home. But only 1 in 400 deaths by firearms is related to mass killings in the U.S.
** China had a dozen attacks of schoolchildren over three years, killing a total of 25. All were with knives.
** In 2013 we had had 21,175 suicides, 11,208 homicides, and 505 accidental discharge deaths by firearms. In Japan only 13 deaths were related to firearms.
** Of the 195 recognized countries, only three have an inherent right for people to have firearms: Guatemala, Mexico, and the Divided States of America.
Why Do We Have 65,000 Licensed Firearm Dealers and Only 14,000 McDonald’s?
Our neighbor Mexico had 34,000 homicides in 2020. It has only one gun store—and that one is run by the Mexican Army. Guess where all their guns come from. We have 65,000 licensed gun dealers in the U.S., with 10,886 gun stores in Texas. Houston, the largest city, has 5,000 gun stores. Between 2007 and 2019, over 164,000 firearms in Mexico were traced to our gun shops, most from Houston sources. But the Mexicans also think 2,500,000 more guns have moved through the border just in the last decade.
The Mexican drug cartels ship tons of cocaine, heroin, fentanyl, and methamphetamine across the border by trucks; and launder that money by buying firearms at gun stores, on the Internet, and at huge gun shows; and then truck them back across the border. The .50 caliber sniper rifle at $10,000 to $12,000 is a popular buy because its power is greater than anything the Mexican police use. The cartels outgun the police. In the first nine months of 2020, 464 police were killed.
Americans take advantage of lax gun laws, too. One Texan in 2019 bought 529 firearms in Southwest gun shows and sold them in Florida gun shows for a great profit. Recently an American woman on drugs sped across the border with a sniper rifle on the backseat with 8,000 rounds of ammunition. She was arrested when she ran into a wall.
Those “Accidental” Firearm Deaths Don’t Have to Happen
Some children shoot parents, some parents shoot their children, sometimes children shoot children, sometimes dogs kill their hunting masters, and sometimes people drop loaded pistols and rifles on hard floors that fire and kill people. A six-year old boy died recently in the metro, shot by another child with a “found” loaded gun. I still remember the story of the hunter who placed his loaded rifle on the pickup seat. His dog jumped in and hit the trigger, thus blowing a big hole in his master’s butt. There are stories of students bringing loaded guns to school, accidently dropping them on hard floors, and killing their classmates. Stupid stuff happens.
The Marine Corps taught me to be careful around guns. I was stationed at Camp Lejeune for two years; and then six months in several Caribbean countries with 40,000 Marines in the Second Division. I’m sure there were over 60,000 automatic and semi-automatic firearms on the base besides mortars, artillery, and other big stuff on tanks. Live ammo was used practically every day in training sequences.
I don’t recall a single story of a Marine being wounded or killed in a firearm accident on base. We had accidents. Marines were run over by landing craft, trucks, and tanks on occasion, but no firearm accidents. We accounted for every live round. On the rifle range if you pointed the rifle in the wrong direction, you might be court-martialed. One of the final tests was taking your weapon apart and putting it back together blindfolded. Because in combat you might have to do it in a foxhole at midnight. We didn’t kill each other by being stupid.
My first command, a heavy machine-gun platoon, had lots of firepower. We had six water-cooled .30 caliber heavy machine guns that could fire hundreds of rounds forever. Most troops also had an M-1 Garand semi-automatic rifle, and a man in each squad had a Browning Automatic Rifle (called the BAR). It weighed 22 pounds, so usually the smallest guys were assigned that weapon (that’s a Marine joke).
Although I had earned a Marine Expert Rifleman’s Badge, I was supposed to carry a 1911 Browning .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol. For some reason, I could never hit the side of a barn with that, so in combat I would have dumped it for a rifle or carbine. Officers wearing holsters do not survive enemy snipers very long.
Another Headline: “MOTHER OF SIX FATALLY SHOT IN ROAD EPISODE”
Okay, Republicans, let’s trail the money, the only thing you seem interested in besides low taxes. We currently spend an estimated $170 billion on taking care of the 100,000 wounded each year in health facilities. We spend about $320 million burying the 40,000 we kill each year. In 2020 we spent an additional $32 million because we killed 4,000 more than usual.
We spend countless billions on the purchase, maintenance, and replacement of tens of thousands of metal detectors, bullet-proof glass and doors, alarms in public schools and other public buildings, human security for those buildings, the trauma centers in hundreds of hospitals, and the construction of facilities and extra law and legal forces in an attempt to handle the gun culture. The fact that 20 first graders was not enough, that 49 adults at Orlando was not enough, that 58 concert-goers killed and 800 wounded at Las Vegas wasn’t enough, certainly the mother of six children shot to death in a road rage incident in North Carolina this week was not enough. Other countries have proven guns can be controlled.
When humans don’t count, just what is your price in cold, hard cash?
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