Thank goodness guns aren’t a problem in America.

On a lovely Wednesday morning, a disgruntled and disturbed former employee shot a television reporter and cameraman, who were both in their 20s, dead while they were broadcasting live in Virginia. The cameraman was engaged to a woman who worked for the TV station. She was in the control room and watched her fiancée’s death as it happened.

Most of America mourned the deaths of two people who had lives of such promise before them.

Gun devotees, though, focused their attention on something much more precious – their weapons. They responded to the murders with the same message they always do.

Nothing can be done about it. Guns aren’t the problem.

Less than three years ago, a disturbed and heavily-armed young man went to an elementary school in western Connecticut. In a matter of moments, he shot and killed 20 children and six adults. He had killed his mother before that and he shot himself after he’d blown a town, a state and a nation apart.

Americans reacted with horror and demanded action, but the National Rifle Association, the gun industry and the diminishing sliver of Americans who prize gun ownership over everything else, managed to thwart the demand.

Since the carnage at Sandy Hook Elementary School, there have been 135 school shootings in the United States.

Nothing can be done about it. Guns aren’t the problem.

A few days ago, in a social media conversation about yet another horrific shooting, a gun devotee made reference to Sandy Hook and said it was a human problem, not a gun problem. If guns weren’t as readily available, he said bad human beings would use knives, clubs or their fists to do their evil deeds. When I asked how a disturbed and untrained young man would be able to kill more than 25 people in a matter of minutes with knives, clubs or fists, he fell silent.

Nothing can be done about it. Guns aren’t the problem.

Researchers have begun studying the incidence of gun violence around the world. The numbers do not reflect well on the United States. Over the past 20 years, we have recorded more mass shootings than the rest of the developed world in its entirety. We have recorded five times as many mass shootings as our closest “competitor” – the Philippines.

More disturbing, we have seen more civilians die from gunshots since 1968 than U.S. soldiers have been slain in all of America’s wars combined. That’s right, we have killed more civilian Americans in 47 years than all of our enemies managed to do in combat during nearly 240 years of history.

Nothing can be done about it. Guns aren’t the problem.

Not long ago, I talked with an American businessman who said the U.S. reputation for being gun happy was making it harder to do business with other countries. He told me a story about how some potential investors from Uganda – yeah, Uganda – were afraid to come here on a business trip because they were afraid they’d be shot.

Nothing can be done about it. Guns aren’t the problem.

The Ugandans’ fear may seem strange to us, but they understand something we Americans are slow to acknowledge. There are 200 million more privately owned guns in the United States than in any other country.

By the NRA’s logic that “more guns mean more safety,” we should be the safest country on the earth. Instead, a person has a 2000 percent greater chance of being killed with a gun here in America than in the rest of the developed world.

Nothing can be done about it. Guns aren’t the problem.

We lost two fine young people in Virginia a few days ago. We lose a few every day. We lost some yesterday and we’ll lose more tomorrow. We will continue to lose them as long as we let the gun industry and the NRA hold our political process hostage.

They love their guns and will sacrifice almost anything or anyone else to hold onto them. We need to make it clear to them that we care more about the people who are dying and suffering than their firearms and that we don’t believe:

Nothing can be done about it. Guns aren’t the problem.

John Krull is director of Franklin College’s Pulliam School of Journalism, host of “No Limits” WFYI 90.1 Indianapolis and publisher of TheStatehouseFile.com, a news service powered by Franklin College journalism students.

0
0
0
0
0