The Smith and The Wesson World

November 28, 2017
By Mickey Friedman

There is a deep black hole into which words about automatic weapons fall. You can thank Justice Scalia and his logic defying linguistic analysis for expanding the Second Amendment’s well-regulated militia’s musket defense of the people into the guaranteed right of just about anyone to wield automatic weapons of mass destruction.

So, we will all continue to face arbitrary death at the hands of pissed off MEN with arsenals of weapons and multiple clips of military-style ammunition designed to rip through human flesh like toilet paper.

And they will haunt our imaginations and cause parents to wonder when and where their children will ever be safe. Certainly not in their schools, or playgrounds, at concerts, or at church.

And other men who believe they stand for principle will endlessly pontificate about the right to bear arms. Suggesting we’d be most safe if our teachers had AR-15s; if our ministers were certified to carry and all parishioners were packing. If every neighborhood had its own armed drone.

The Smith and The Wesson Approach: “If only everyone, anyone could blow these evil suckers away any time. Any place. 24/7.” Mutually assured destruction.

We have arrived at the militarization of everyday life. During my life, the scale of violence has shifted from switchblade knives and brass knuckles, one on one mayhem, to ever increasing multiples of mass murder. It is horrifying. And despite what the gun lobby bought politicians tell me, now is precisely the time to talk about it.

There has always been madness and evil in man. Rage, despair, hatred from our earliest days. Prompted by greed, envy and hurt, men would beat others. But now cheered on by The Smiths and The Wessons, we have embraced endless escalation.

Told we won’t be safe until we are better and better armed. Aren’t we the nation with more lethal aircraft carriers than we’ll ever use?

With only 4.4 % of the world’s population, Americans own 44% of civilian handguns. There are 90 guns for every 100 Americans. Our nearest competition, the Yemenis, have 55 guns for every 100 people. Wracked by , they are trapped between a government backed by Sunni Saudi Arabia and the rebel Shia minority Houthi movement.

We, on the other hand, motivated not by religion or politics have just decided to slaughter each other because we’re pissed off.

According to a Harvard/Northeastern survey, just three percent own half of America’s guns. Eight percent of gun owners (or two percent of American adults) own 10 or more firearms, while 25 percent own five or more guns.

President Trump said that the recent massacre in Sutherland Springs wasn’t “a guns issue” but “a mental health problem.”

Not surprisingly, he just doesn’t get it. Our gun issue is precisely a mental health problem.

When it comes to guns, we are mentally ill. Sane men would deal with the profound lack of public safety caused by all these automatic weapons. Dispense with the Second Amendment for a minute.

When people praying are systematically executed in a house of prayer, when country music fans are subjected to unrelenting sniper fire, when elementary schools become war zones, we are not safe. To be clear: there is no public safety. From 1966 to 2012, 31 percent of the gunmen in mass shootings worldwide were American.

But there is hardly a male politician who will tell the truth of the matter. It is men doing the shooting. According to Gallup polls from 2007 to 2012, “men are three times more likely than women to personally own guns, representing one of the largest demographic differences in gun ownership …”

In America, “gender is by far the strongest predictor of personally owning a gun. A statistical model shows the odds of a man owning a gun are five times greater than the odds of a woman owning a gun.” And 90% of murders are committed by men. And 98% of mass murderers are male.

Men shooting women and children and other men. This is an especially hard part of the puzzle for men. The clear correlation between gender and gun violence. And domestic abuse.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, there are an estimated 960,00 incidents of domestic violence each year. And a staggering, 25% of American women have reported they’ve been victims of domestic violence at some point.

Male violence transcends geography. In 2015, 15% of homicides involved intimate partner violence in France; 85 per cent of the victims were women. In France, a woman is killed every three days by her current or former partner. And in six European countries more women than men were killed by firearms in 2015.

Domestic violence and guns: the underlying cause of the Texas massacre.

It is men with guns and men who sell guns who have given us The Smith and The Wesson World we live in.

_____________________________________________________________________________________
“The Smith and The Wessons” was first published in The Berkshire Record of November 16, 2017.

For more information:

“A Gendered Analysis of Violent Deaths”
Small Arms Survey, Number 63, November 2016
http://www.smallarmssurvey.org/fileadmin/docs/H-Research_Notes/SAS-Research-Note-63.pdf

Domestic Violence / Abuse StatisticsU.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics August 11, 2017
https://www.statisticbrain.com/domestic-violence-abuse-stats/

Men, Married, Southerners Most Likely to Be Gun Owners
Jeffrey M. Jones, February 1, 2013
http://news.gallup.com/poll/160223/men-married-southerners-likely-gun-owners.aspx

https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2010/crime-in-the-u.s.-2010/tables/10shrtbl03.xls

“Just three percent of adults own half of America’s guns”
Christopher Ingraham, September 19, 2016, Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/09/19/just-three-percent-of-adults-own-half-of-americas-guns/?utm_term=.281661e83c82

What Explains U.S. Mass Shootings? International Comparisons Suggest an Answer
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/07/world/americas/mass-shootings-us-international.html?%20What%20Explains%20U.S.%20Mass%20Shootings?%20International%20Comparisons%20Suggest%20an%20Answer&_r=0

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