To Arm or Not to Arm, That is the Question:
“Whether ’tis Nobler in the mind to suffer, The Slings and Arrows of outrageous Fortune,
Or to take Arms against a Sea of troubles, And by opposing end them: to die, to sleep
No more; and by a sleep, to say we end.”
Obviously when William Shakespeare wrote Hamlet, his intentions were not have this quote used in an article about Gun Control, but I’m sure he also didn’t imagine a world where the citizens of this country and others are brutally slain every day at the hands of a gunman. The question that plagues all of us in this country is what does any or all of us do about the gun dilemma? Who truly has the right answers for this dismal topic of controversy?
Let’s start with some startling statistics. The United States has the highest gun ownership in the world, and the second highest death rate amongst industrialized nations. It’s no surprise that where you have a higher rate of gun ownership, you will have a higher rate of gun related deaths. The only country that has higher gun related deaths was Mexico. It is easier today for American to own guns than it is to obtain mental health treatment. 270 to 300 million guns are owned in the US, but only 158 million of those had back ground checks since they were mandated in 2003. There is a huge gap in who really owns a majority of these weapons.
It is without a doubt our right in this country to bear arms. Thomas Jefferson once quoted, “Rightful liberty is unobstructed action, according to our will, within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others.” He also went on to say, “No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms. The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government”
So this leaves us with the present question, if congress and government continue to create laws that make it more difficult for the average citizen to own a gun then how do we protect ourselves against tyranny, rapists or mentally unstable citizens who take the law into their own hands? As a woman in this country and a resident of the great state of California I can personally attest to the fact that when you have a stalker or a threatening individual who has or is wreaking havoc in your life and you file a report at the local police dept., it has been personally told to me that there was nothing they could do to stop him or protect me unless he actually commits a crime! There are thousands of abused women and children who are left at the mercy of the authorities for their protection, the exact authority who claim they can do nothing. The statistics I have listed above scare people into thinking that banning weapons from normal tax paying citizens will remove or decrease the number of weapons in criminal’s grips but it could not be farther from the truth. We are creating the very backlash of our intentions by encouraging the illegal trade and purchase of weapons that occur every day, which in turn empowers the very criminal we are trying to stop by giving he or she the armed advantage. The money congress and our court systems are sitting on needs to go into larger prisons and much more severe consequences for the crime of a shooting or murder. The money needs to go into programs that train women on how to shoot a weapon and use it safely. To create programs that offer funding for proper storage and education on gun safety. Continue the efforts of trading guns for cash and increasing our police departments instead of cutting back on them with budget cuts. We have security at banks and large corporations but what about security at our schools? We as US citizens by law are obligated to send our precious children to school yet we put our beloved children in the hands of school staff and teachers that are not prepared or trained to handle a gunman on the school grounds. If we have to let go of our children’s hands every day and place them in the public school system then I expect they will be protected like they were their own. Every school should have security factored into the budget or parents to pool together the funds to afford one. Aren’t our children worth the extra cash that we waste away on a Starbucks? Imagine if we each saved the $120 a month we spend on coffee and pay to have security at our public schools. These ideas are nothing but what any of us think about when we hear the ever confusing controversy of gun control. There are always two sides to all issues, and mostly no black or white. There are millions of families that have lost loved ones due to gun suicide and murder. Without a doubt those guns were misused in the worst and unimaginable way.
Here is a quick article of research found: Prescription drugs are abused in this country at an alarming rate. In 2010 the following was reported:
8,775 firearm related Murders. [FBI]
31,672 total firearm related deaths. [CDC] (Includes the 8,775 above)
61% of those were suicides (19,392). There were 12,280 non-suicide related firearm deaths.
38,329 total drug overdose deaths. (CDC statistics from Associated Press)
22,134 were prescription drugs. (Opioids like OxyContin and Vicodin contributed in 3 out of 4 cases, anti-anxiety drugs like Valium in roughly 30 percent)
17% of prescription drug deaths were suicides. That’s roughly 18,370 non-suicide related prescription drug deaths.
Total drug related deaths are higher than total firearm deaths. Prescription drug deaths are higher than firearm Murders. Non-suicide prescription drug deaths are higher than non-suicide gun deaths.
How can the government and pharmaceutical companies try to convince us that they have our best interest at stake when it is statistically proven that the drugs they push down our throat and our children’s is far more dangerous than owning a weapon. The discrepancy in the elevated rate of gun deaths in the US is frankly a lack of attention on the wrong criminal issues. It would be dumbfounding if we actually held accountable the criminals in the pharmaceutical industry and put them on trial for the millions of deaths each decade in drug over dose and the crimes committed while their subject was addicted. Wouldn’t that be worth looking at, tracing the line of the guilty finger that points at the mentally unstable. Addicted criminals have been “farm fed” these prescription drugs created by pharmaceutical companies, the very companies our government funds. Would it be logical to consider that big government seems to find it easier to place blame on an industry that does not net them the riches that the drug industry can?
That is the question!