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Saturday, November 3, 2018

How Ready Access To Unlimited Guns Will Destroy America




How will the world end?

When I grew up in the 1970s, and 80s I heard about nuclear war with Russia being our destiny. As we approached the 90s and 21st century we were convinced global weather would doom us.  There are also theories about a disease pandemic, terrorism, asteroids, and any number of real and perceived threats.  It makes you marvel that we made it this far. But I fear our real threat, our real cause for concern is each other.  The coroner’s cause of death for humanity will be humans.

Being human means putting the planet in danger.  If we don’t rape its resources and pollute all that is good, we think up new inventions and devices to kill and destroy one another.  We don’t agree on much and even when we do, we can’t seem to solve issues that threaten our quality of life and life itself.

Now, don’t get me wrong, this is not my suicide note.  I still see lots of beauty, potential, and love in this world.  But I also see the growth of hate, ignorance, and disagreement on core life and death issues.  Eventually, good, evil, and apathy clash.

So what are we to do about things that we feel are out of our hands, where policies, politicians, and the forces of ignorance, greed, or superiority work in opposition to what is needed and would work best?

Who can change things?

The government can enact laws, strengthen existing ones, or weaken and eliminate certain laws that would bring about a better society.  But the government is run by people -- mere humans – who are susceptible, driven by bias, greed, power, mistaken beliefs, or pride.  No matter who is elected to government, how do we initiate the human factor?

Next up, look at the citizenry, divided and fractured on so many issues.  How will it organize and act in unison to make a substantial change in both who governs us and how government operates?

I would like to think books and authors can make a difference.  Can they?

Books can be championed by some, dismissed by others.  All books, no matter how much they purport to be reporting facts, are guilty of some bias and certainly may include some mistakes, wrongful conclusions, or incomplete analysis, of things.  The best books are the ones that look at every possible pro-con argument on an issue and consistently provide honest reviews of the information collected.  Most things aren’t all or nothing – they have shades of grey, where some things make sense to some people in certain situations.  We can’t dismiss one side over another, we can only argue for what appears to be the most right and beneficial for the most people in most situations.

The latest mass shooting, the gunning down of innocent congregants of a Jewish temple in Pittsburgh, awoken all of the same old arguments and complaints:  We hear this: 

Let’s have gun control and do something about hate groups and mental illness. 

Maybe everyone needs to be armed.  

Owning guns is a right, but how right is it to own 21 of them?  

Jews are under attack, but so are Muslims, and Christians.  

The leader of our nation says it’s a tragedy but offers no attempts at a solution, and those who mean well by providing a solution admit that not every incident involving gun violence is preventable.

But how can we just accept these deaths as the cost of doing business, as the expected collateral damage for a nation that believes the right to own guns -- unfettered -- trumps the rights of the innocent to live another day?

Isn’t there a long gap between banning all gun sales and confiscating everyone’s gun and allowing for unlimited gun and ammunition purchases, where there are background check loopholes, the allowance of the sale of guns that are military-like and the lack of requirements for training owners on safety and proper usage/storage?

Can’t we do better than tens of thousands of deaths by guns every year?  Can’t we do better than seeing one mass shooting rip apart a community after another?  Can’t we find some common ground to decrease the level of carnage in America? 

A friend of mine said guns are like automobiles – are we going to ban cars?

He notes that about the same number of people die due to car accidents as they do at the hand of a gun.

But this analogy is ridiculous.

Cars are not intended to kill people.  Guns have one purpose and it’s not to transport them to work or a concert.

Cars deaths can be reduced – and are actually lower by a lot since their peak – but they need to be reduced even more.  Over the years driver training courses, tougher DUI laws and dedicated enforcement of them, new laws on seat belt requirements and air bag installations, and better crash defense systems in cars – as well as speed limit reductions – have worked to decrease car deaths even while the number of motorists on the road – and the number of miles driven – steadily increased.

However, guns have not undergone the same type of regulation or reform as autos.  The number of deaths from guns has increased steadily over the decades, and the number of mass shootings is skyrocketing. America, by any measure, has way more gun deaths per capita than any Western civilized nation.

What is similar to autos and guns is owner responsibility.  In many cases, owners of autos failed to act legally, ethically, skillfully, or reasonably.  They drove while drunk or high.  They drove while they were tired and exhausted.  They drove and texted.  They sped around curves. They didn’t properly maintain their cars.  They used poor judgment on the road.  But almost all didn’t intend to kill someone.  Gun owners intentionally use their guns to kill or hurt another.

Some gun users are criminals, terrorists, and insane.  Others are suicidal or the victims of playing around.  Whatever the reason for a gun death, I do agree that personal responsibility is a significant cause, which is why I believe we can’t trust people to act wisely when they have easy access to tons of weapons.

How many gun deaths would be too many for the NRA or Congress?  They seem perfectly fine with 34,000 per year.  Would 100,000 or 340,000 be too many – or is no number too big for us to continue to act as we do?

The irony is that gun rights advocates seem to be building a cache of weapons for a coming civil war, from some kind of street fight against tyranny, but so far all that we have is casualties piling up on America’s battlefields, right now.  Every 17 months we lose to gun fire what our army lost in the entire Vietnam War.  We’ll kill each other before there’s a war against a non-existent totalitarian state here.

Nothing will improve until two sides get together and stop the extreme rhetoric.  Nothing will happen until we remove politics from policy.  Nothing will happen until we make concessions to get to a consensus.  We’ll never be a weapon-free nation and we can’t go on as a guns-for-all country either.

How will the world end?

At the hands of humans.

I do hope we can re-write the ending to this book.


Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2018. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America and participated in a PR panel at the Sarah Lawrence College Writers Institute Conference.

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