The US currently has a gun problem, but not the one everyone is talking about. First of all, while there is no doubt that the US has an unusually high rate of firearm fatalities, that is pretty much equivalent to saying we have an unusually high number of hangnails. If it were not for the unfortunate behavior patterns of the infotainment industry, we wouldn't care, because the problem isn't real. If you are a high school or college student, your chance of being killed in an active shooter situation is almost exactly equal to your chance of being killed by lightning. Do you waste time worrying about lightning? If you are a woman of child bearing age, your chance of dying of a gunshot wound are almost exactly equal to your chance of dying of pregancy related complications. Do you worry about that? Do you send sympathy cards to your friends when they tell you they are pregnant? The US does not have a gun DEATH problem. It has an innumeracy problem, and we, as a people, are LOUSY at risk analysis. But you knew that, right?
The gun problem we DO have is a gross mis-understanding of what is known as the "gun lobby". This is because the firearm rights movement is NOT about corporate money, it is about the largest block of dedicated, single-issue voters in the US, about 3% of the electorate. They always vote, they always pay attention, and if gun control is an issue, they will vote for a pro-gun syphillitic baboon and against Mahatma Lincoln, if he is anti-gun. If gun control isn't an issue in the election, they will vote according to other issues. They are not fundamentally conserative, but conservatives consider them cheap votes, because they are easy to please, and liberals keep chasing them away.
If the Democratic party could see their way clear to abandon and repudiate their gun control plank, they could have half of that 3% of the electorate. 1.5% of the electorate (who actually show up and vote consistently, and therefore amount to about twice that when the votes are counted) could have won the presidential elections in 2000, 2004, and 2016. Just for instance.
We have a gun problem. But it has nothing to do fatalities.
March 16, 2018