I guess thinking about apocalyptic situations consumes about fifty percent of the American zeitgeist now. Maybe it’s more. I’m not seeing anybody doing any studies on it. If there are studies being done as to why we are so consumed with bad news, the reports are not being published. At least in any media I’ve found. I suspect that those whose financial well being would be negatively impacted by such a report are controlling all of the news outlets.
Crazy as it sounds, it’s like all businesses out there benefit from our fears. Whether it’s based on the fear of getting a zit, or the fear of being gun downed at a concert, all advertising seems to exist to manipulate our fears. Now, I admit, there is a wide chasm between worrying if our face will clear up in time for the big dance and getting gunned down at the dance, but the marketing is basically the same.
The drug companies at least have a bit of a constraint placed on them by the FDA. If you’re having a little acne problem, and you’re thinking about a solution, at least the makers of the drugs have to tell you about their side effects in the advertising. I’m not sure how many folks objectively weigh the choices laid out in drug advertising. How many teenagers have said, “I’d rather die than go to the dance with my face like this”. At least with the FDA restriction on advertising, you know that dying might be a possibility. Not so with the purchase of a gun.
I hear the collective groan, “Now you’ve crossed a line”. Let me ask you when was the last time you saw any mention anywhere of what the proliferation of weapons in our society has done? Never. You’re likely to see an ad on all of the merits of owning a high capacity semi-automatic hunting rifle, ‘Guaranteed to bring home a kill, even if you’re blind‘. You’re never going to be presented with the “side effects” of gun ownership, as you would in a drug ad.
The Gun Violence Archive reports there have been 58,807 incidents of gun violence in the U.S. in 2020, resulting in 39,427 injuries and 19,380 deaths. I had to Google that. In the time of full blown Covid and stay at home orders, we still managed to shoot nearly 59,000 people. Admittedly in 2020 Covid was the big killer, but shouldn’t somebody have been talking about the other grim reaper in our midst? Bashing guns, or actually reporting accurately on the effects of guns on our society, seems to run counter to the “fear formula”.
What is the “fear formula”? I think it can be best exemplified by what happened after the Sandy Hook shootings. If you don’t recall Sandy Hook, on December 14, 2012, in Newtown, Connecticut, a nutjob with a gun killed 20 children and 6 adults. To me, seeing children being gunned down should have been the wake up call needed to do something like Australia did. Instead, gun sales went up by as much as 60% after the shooting.
Sturm, Ruger & Co., the largest publicly traded gunmaker, saw its net sales for the first nine months of 2013 jump 44 percent to $506.4 million, from $350 million in the same period a year before. Think about that, children are being gunned down in their schools, and our solution is to buy more guns. Why? Well, the head of the N.R.A. tells us that what’s needed to stop bad men with guns, is good men with guns.
Not to call the scummy sleazeball Wayne LaPierre a lying scumbag, but here are a couple of interesting facts that don’t support his assertion.
In America, there are approximately 393 million firearms possessed by civilians, 1.2 guns for each man, woman and child. That sounds like a lot of guns. Of those guns, approximately 700,000 of them are in the hands of law enforcement officers. The numbers make it sound like the police are horribly outgunned, but as it turns out just 3% of American adults own a collective 133 million firearms. Three percent of the population own one third of the guns. There must be some serious armories being built out there.
So, I guess not enough “good men” are getting their hands on guns. The manufacturers are doing their part. There were 9,052,628 new guns manufactured in the U.S. in 2020. 70 million firearms have been manufactured since 2008. Those guns have accounted for 17,510 Americans being the victims of gun-related violence so far in 2021 and 410 of the victims are children. Where were the good men with a gun that LaPierre is counting on to protect us?
Let’s be real here, we have a serious, serious problem. It’s not fundamentalists of whatever persuasion, as the news agencies and the gun lobby want you to believe, it’s fundamentalists with guns. Take their guns away and then we can at least argue the merits of their beliefs.
By the way, George W. Bush, that great moralist, took away the ability to sue gun manufacturers for their “side effects” back in 2005. The Dickey Amendment prevented the CDC from studying the effects of gun violence on the health of Americans. So much for that Republican value of accountability.
Now the N.R.A. is trying to hide behind bankruptcy to avoid their culpability in the slaughter of innocent Americans. And for what, so that Wayne LaPierre could spend $300,000 on a few suits?
The N.R.A., no regulations allowed since 1871.