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Postby 3MJ » Fri May 03, 2013 4:51 am

Why does America lose its head over 'terror' but ignore its daily gun deaths?
The marathon bombs triggered a reaction that is at odds with last week's inertia over arms control ... us-gun-law

The thriving metropolis of Boston was turned into a ghost town on Friday. Nearly a million Bostonians were asked to stay in their homes – and willingly complied. Schools were closed; business shuttered; trains, subways and roads were empty; usually busy streets eerily resembled a post-apocalyptic movie set; even baseball games and cultural events were cancelled – all in response to a 19-year-old fugitive, who was on foot and clearly identified by the news media.

The actions allegedly committed by the Boston marathon bomber, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his brother, Tamerlan, were heinous. Four people dead and more than 100 wounded, some with shredded and amputated limbs.

But Londoners, who endured IRA terror for years, might be forgiven for thinking that America over-reacted just a tad to the goings-on in Boston. They're right – and then some. What we saw was a collective freak-out like few that we've seen previously in the United States. It was yet another depressing reminder that more than 11 years after 9/11 Americans still allow themselves to be easily and willingly cowed by the "threat" of terrorism.

After all, it's not as if this is the first time that homicidal killers have been on the loose in a major American city. In 2002, Washington DC was terrorised by two roving snipers, who randomly shot and killed 10 people. In February, a disgruntled police officer, Christopher Dorner, murdered four people over several days in Los Angeles. In neither case was LA or DC put on lockdown mode, perhaps because neither of these sprees was branded with that magically evocative and seemingly terrifying word for Americans, terrorism.

To be sure, public officials in Boston appeared to be acting out of an abundance of caution. And it's appropriate for Boston residents to be asked to take precautions or keep their eyes open. But by letting one fugitive terrorist shut down a major American city, Boston not only bowed to outsize and irrational fears, but sent a dangerous message to every would-be terrorist – if you want to wreak havoc in the United States, intimidate its population and disrupt public order, here's your instruction booklet.

Putting aside the economic and psychological cost, the lockdown also prevented an early capture of the alleged bomber, who was discovered after Bostonians were given the all clear and a Watertown man wandered into his backyard for a cigarette and found a bleeding terrorist on his boat.

In some regards, there is a positive spin on this – it's a reflection of how little Americans have to worry about terrorism. A population such as London during the IRA bombings or Israel during the second intifada or Baghdad, pretty much every day, becomes inured to random political violence. Americans who have such little experience of terrorism, relatively speaking, are more primed to overreact – and assume the absolute worst when it comes to the threat of a terror attack. It is as if somehow in the American imagination, every terrorist is a not just a mortal threat, but is a deadly combination of Jason Bourne and James Bond.

If only Americans reacted the same way to the actual threats that exist in their country. There's something quite fitting and ironic about the fact that the Boston freak-out happened in the same week the Senate blocked consideration of a gun control bill that would have strengthened background checks for potential buyers. Even though this reform is supported by more than 90% of Americans, and even though 56 out of 100 senators voted in favour of it, the Republican minority prevented even a vote from being held on the bill because it would have allegedly violated the second amendment rights of "law-abiding Americans".

So for those of you keeping score at home – locking down an American city: a proper reaction to the threat from one terrorist. A background check to prevent criminals or those with mental illness from purchasing guns: a dastardly attack on civil liberties. All of this would be almost darkly comic if not for the fact that more Americans will die needlessly as a result. Already, more than 30,000 Americans die in gun violence every year (compared to the 17 who died last year in terrorist attacks).

What makes US gun violence so particularly horrifying is how routine and mundane it has become. After the massacre of 20 kindergartners in an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, millions of Americans began to take greater notice of the threat from gun violence. Yet since then, the daily carnage that guns produce has continued unabated and often unnoticed.

The same day of the marathon bombing in Boston, 11 Americans were murdered by guns. The pregnant Breshauna Jackson was killed in Dallas, allegedly by her boyfriend. In Richmond, California, James Tucker III was shot and killed while riding his bicycle – assailants unknown. Nigel Hardy, a 13-year-old boy in Palmdale, California, who was being bullied in school, took his own life. He used the gun that his father kept at home. And in Brooklyn, New York, an off-duty police officer used her department-issued Glock 9mm handgun to kill herself, her boyfriend and her one-year old child.

At the same time that investigators were in the midst of a high-profile manhunt for the marathon bombers that ended on Friday evening, 38 more Americans – with little fanfare – died from gun violence. One was a 22-year old resident of Boston. They are a tiny percentage of the 3,531 Americans killed by guns in the past four months – a total that surpasses the number of Americans who died on 9/11 and is one fewer than the number of US soldiers who lost their lives in combat operations in Iraq. Yet, none of this daily violence was considered urgent enough to motivate Congress to impose a mild, commonsense restriction on gun purchasers.

It's not just firearms that produce such legislative inaction. Last week, a fertiliser plant in West, Texas, which hasn't been inspected by federal regulators since 1985, exploded, killing 14 people and injuring countless others. Yet many Republicans want to cut further the funding for the agency (OSHA) that is responsible for such reviews. The vast majority of Americans die from one of four ailments – cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and chronic lung disease – and yet Republicans have held three dozen votes to repeal Obamacare, which expands healthcare coverage to 30 million Americans.

It is a surreal and difficult-to-explain dynamic. Americans seemingly place an inordinate fear on violence that is random and unexplainable and can be blamed on "others" – jihadists, terrorists, evil-doers etc. But the lurking dangers all around us – the guns, our unhealthy diets, the workplaces that kill 14 Americans every single day – these are just accepted as part of life, the price of freedom, if you will. And so the violence goes, with more Americans dying preventable deaths. But hey, look on the bright side – we got those sons of bitches who blew up the marathon.
User avatar


Silly French Man

Postby habitual » Fri May 03, 2013 5:30 am

Children and the English shouldn't have guns.

User avatar


Zombie Guard

Postby Zero » Fri May 03, 2013 7:24 am

habitual wrote:Children and the English shouldn't have guns.


This seems like a good plan. It could be implemented easily with background checks to ensure the buyer isn't English or two kids in a long coat.
User avatar


Silly French Man

Postby habitual » Fri May 03, 2013 7:30 am

Zero wrote:
This seems like a good plan. It could be implemented easily with background checks to ensure the buyer isn't English or two kids in a long coat.

This is why I firmly support background checks.

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Rain Partier

Postby achilles » Fri May 03, 2013 9:14 am

habitual wrote:
This is why I firmly support background checks.


And coat checks?
User avatar

Eli Katz


Postby Eli Katz » Sat May 04, 2013 8:05 am


User avatar

S.F. Jude Terror


Postby S.F. Jude Terror » Sat May 04, 2013 12:40 pm


The Old Doctor

Postby The Old Doctor » Fri Jun 28, 2013 5:03 pm

Eli Katz wrote:Image


Hearing the words "Cricket Club"... that is not what I think of. :shock:
User avatar

Eli Katz


Postby Eli Katz » Sat Jun 29, 2013 9:50 am

S.F. Jude Terror wrote:

Good Lord. What a terrible story.


Postby 3MJ » Sat Sep 21, 2013 3:31 pm

– SEPTEMBER 19, 2013, 2:28 PM EDT
Police said two men with concealed-carry permits died Wednesday after a shootout allegedly motivated by road rage, the Grand Rapids Press reported.

The initial police investigation showed Ionia, Mich. residents James Pullum, 43, and Robert Taylor, 56, pulled into a car wash parking lot after a confrontation on the road. They then exited their vehicles, drew handguns and exchanged fire, authorities said.

Police found both men at the scene with gunshot wounds, and the two were pronounced dead at an area hospital soon after, according to the newspaper.


Postby 3MJ » Sat Sep 21, 2013 3:34 pm ... .html?_r=0

In the aftermath of the gun rampage at the Washington Navy Yard that killed 12 Americans just blocks from Capitol Hill, President Obama expressed dismay that “this becomes a ritual that we go through every three, four months.”

By “this” he meant not just the horrific mass shootings but the tens of thousands of other gun deaths each year — all of them with an all-too-familiar aftermath: shock, followed by words and prayers of sympathy, followed by a complete unwillingness in official Washington “to take some basic actions” to better protect the public.

The ineffectualness of Washington’s politicians was palpable after this week’s assault. The Senate had already failed miserably to approve modest new gun restrictions despite public outrage over the massacre of 20 schoolchildren and 6 educators in Connecticut last December. The tacit, cynical question now was whether 12 more victims could contribute anything new to the equation.

Senator Harry Reid, the Democratic majority leader, said he had to be assured of enough votes for gun restrictions (which seems totally unlikely) before he would even try again. Steny Hoyer, the House Democratic minority whip, pointed to the recent voters’ recall of two Colorado state legislators because of their support for gun controls. “It does not bode well,” Mr. Hoyer said, for another Congressional effort to control what he called “access to weapons that can be used to kill a lot of people quickly.”

The White House spokesman, Jay Carney, said that Mr. Obama would not accept the gruesome spates of gun violence as “the new normal.” Yet as the president himself observed, both the gun mayhem and the ritual that follows are beginning to seem all too predictable.


Postby 3MJ » Sat Sep 21, 2013 3:35 pm

Guns do not make a nation safer, say US doctors who have compared the rate of firearms-related deaths in countries where many people own guns with the death rate in countries where gun ownership is rare.

Their findings, published Wednesday in the prestigious American Journal of Medicine, debunk the historic belief among many people in the United States that guns make a country safer, they say. On the contrary, the US, with the most guns per head in the world, has the highest rate of deaths from firearms, while Japan, which has the lowest rate of gun ownership, has the least.

The journal has fast-tracked publication of the study because of the shootings at the Washington navy yard. It was originally scheduled for later this week.

It follows an emotional appeal from a doctor at the trauma center in Washington where the victims of Aaron Alexis' random violence were taken. "I would like you to put my trauma center out of business," Janis Orlowski, chief medical officer at MedStar Washington Hospital Center, told reporters in the aftermath of the massacre. "I would like to not be an expert on gunshots. Let's get rid of this. This is not America."

The fraught question of whether gun ownership protects populations from crime or makes them less likely to be killed has been debated for 200 years, say the authors, Sripal Bangalore of NYU Langone Medical Center, and Franz H Messerli of St Luke's Roosevelt hospital, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York. They say the arguments began as soon as the second amendment stating "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed" was passed in 1791.

At one end is the argument that gun control laws are an infringement on the right to self-defense and on constitutional rights, and that there is no evidence that banning assault weapons would reduce crime. At the other end is the view that fewer firearms would reduce crime rates and overall lead to greater safety, they say.

In some of the recent mass shootings – for instance those in Aurora, Tucson, Oak Creek, Virginia Tech – it has been suggested that the killer was mentally ill and that lack of treatment was a bigger issue than gun ownership. With this in mind, the New York-based doctors looked in their study not only at the relationship of gun ownership to firearms deaths but also mental illness.

They examined data from 27 developed countries, using gun ownership figures from the Small Arms Survey and deaths from the World Health Organisation, the National Center for Health Statistics and others. They also looked at crime rates compiled by the United Nations for an indication of the safety of each country.

More guns meant more deaths, they found. "The gun ownership rate was a strong and independent predictor of firearm-related death," says Bangalore. "Private gun ownership was highest in the US. Japan, on the other end, had an extremely low gun ownership rate. Similarly, South Africa (9.4 per 100,000) and the US (10.2 per 100,000) had extremely high firearm-related deaths, whereas the United Kingdom (0.25 per 100,000) had an extremely low rate of firearm-related deaths.

"There was a significant correlation between guns per head per country and the rate of firearm-related deaths with Japan being on one end of the spectrum and the US being on the other. This argues against the notion of more guns translating into less crime. South Africa was the only outlier in that the observed firearms-related death rate was several times higher than expected from gun ownership."

High rates of mental illness in any country, on the other hand, did not predict more gun deaths.

"Although correlation is not the same as causation, it seems conceivable that abundant gun availability facilitates firearm-related deaths. Conversely, high crime rates may instigate widespread anxiety and fear, thereby motivating people to arm themselves and give rise to increased gun ownership, which, in turn, increases availability. The resulting vicious cycle could, bit by bit, lead to the polarized status that is now the case with the US," the doctors write.

"Regardless of exact cause and effect, the current study debunks the widely quoted hypothesis that countries with higher gun ownership are safer than those with low gun ownership."


Postby 3MJ » Sat Sep 21, 2013 3:37 pm

In other news related to that study. Water is still wet.

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