Is It Time for the World to Intervene in America’s Bloody Civil War?

GunViolence

Heh:

That’s America, we say, as news of the latest massacre breaks – last week it was the slaughter of 12 people by Aaron Alexis at Washington DC’s navy yard – and move on. But what if we no longer thought of this as just a problem for America and, instead, viewed it as an international humanitarian crisis – a quasi civil war, if you like, that calls for outside intervention? As citizens of the world, perhaps we should demand an end to the unimaginable suffering of victims and their families – the maiming and killing of children – just as America does in every new civil conflict around the globe.

Rick Moran is affronted:

Henry Porter, a columnist for The Observer, doesn’t think much of America’s Second Amendment. Nor does he care much for America itself, judging by his condescending commentary. His Lordship is very, very concerned about gun violence in America. In fact, he is so concerned that he believes it may be time for the world to “intervene” and save us from ourselves…or something.

There is an excellent British descriptive that applies perfectly to Mr. Porter.

He’s a twit.

The annual toll from firearms in the US is running at 32,000 deaths and climbing, even though the general crime rate is on a downward path (it is 40% lower than in 1980). If this perennial slaughter doesn’t qualify for intercession by the UN and all relevant NGOs, it is hard to know what does. …

Actually, the general trend on deaths as a result of firearms is going down the last decade and has been declining since their peak in the 1990′s. This, despite about 100 million more firearms in the hands of Americans. Also, that 32,000 number is deceiving. Two-thirds of gun deaths every year are the result of suicides. As is typical of anti-gun twits, Porter twists the facts and even tells outright lies to make his points.

Let me repeat those last two sentences:

Also, that 32,000 number is deceiving. Two-thirds of gun deaths every year are the result of suicides. As is typical of anti-gun twits, Porter twists the facts and even tells outright lies to make his points.

Now, I’ll repeat it again, with emphasis:

Also, that 32,000 number is deceiving. Two-thirds of gun deaths every year are the result of suicides. As is typical of anti-gun twits, Porter twists the facts and even tells outright lies to make his points.

Ohhhh! I understand Rick’s point! The author of the Guardian piece is being dishonest when he says, “The annual toll from firearms in the US is running at 32,000 deaths and climbing…” because most of those fatal shootings are suicides — and suicides don’t count!

This is a really important point Rick is making. Because not only do suicides make up the largest part of gun-related deaths every year, but the number of people using guns to kill themselves is going up — especially among teens and pre-teens (emphasis is mine):

Fewer people in America’s largest cities are being murdered by guns, but the rate of suicide by gun has increased in recent years, U.S. health officials said Thursday.The report on gun violence from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that the overall gun-murder rate dropped by about 15 percent overall between 2006-2007 and 2009-2010 in a majority of the nation’s 50 largest cities.

However, the suicide-by-gun rate rose 10 to 15 percent in nearly three-quarters of those cities during the same time frame.

“There is good news and concerning news in this article,” said report co-author James Mercy, of the violence prevention division within the CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.

The rate of gun murders at the hands of youths aged 10 to 19 exceeded gun murders by adults, and accounted for nearly 3,400 firearm killings in 2009-2010. More than 1,500 teens and preteens took their own lives by gun in that time period, according to the findings, published in the Aug. 2 issue of the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

And then there are the military veterans who are using firearms — often their own personal service weapons — to kill themselves. In fact, suicide is ending the lives of more service members than combat is:

For every soldier killed on the battlefield this year, about 25 veterans are dying by their own hands.

An American soldier dies every day and a half, on average, in Iraq or Afghanistan. Veterans kill themselves at a rate of one every 80 minutes. More than 6,500 veteran suicides are logged every year — more than the total number of soldiers killed in Afghanistan and Iraq combined since those wars began.

So it’s a huge relief that these children and veterans who are using guns to commit suicide don’t need to be included in the annual number of gun-related killings, since they’re only killing themselves.

Another good thing: most of the serious discussion about gun violence going on among lawmakers and others in a position to influence legislation is not focusing on the supposed problem of kids using guns to kill themselves:

There should be plenty of personal stories to go around. More than 19,000 of the 31,000 deaths from guns in the United States in 2010 were suicides, far more than the number of homicides or unintended shooting deaths. The overall suicide rate is rising so rapidly that it now outnumbers deaths from car crashes. Most recently, health officials noted a startling spike in suicides among middle-aged Americans: they have jumped by 28 percent from 1999 to 2010.

[...]

“I think it speaks again to the ways in which society is literally saturated with weapons,” said Rabbi Julie Schonfeld, executive vice president of the Rabbinical Assembly, who attended the meeting with Biden. “It creates situations in which suffering and despair can lead to tragedy.”

Despite suicide being the leading cause of gun deaths, the subject has been all but ignored in the months-long gun debate on Capitol Hill. It’s hardly ever mentioned in speeches, and when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) brought up the gun reform bill last month, it didn’t contain any provisions relating to suicide prevention.

It’s not as though the easy availability of guns is contributing to the skyrocketing suicide rate among young people or veterans. Although there are way too many people in this country who think it does. Good thing we have cooler heads like Rick Moran to set us straight.

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