When we shoot missiles at our enemies in other countries, the accidental killing of innocent civilians is termed “collateral damage.” Similarly, in our fierce battle to defend the Second Amendment, hundreds of American schoolchildren may also be considered “collateral damage.” These patriotic young Americans gave their lives to preserve this Constitutional right.
Still, one might ask if the lives of these children are less valuable than our so-called right to bear arms -- which appears to include not just Revolutionary War-time muskets, but also semi-automatic rapid-firing rifles.
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During the Vietnam War, someone scrawled these words on the wall of a New York City subway station: “War is good for business; invest your son.”
How many parents who lost children to school shootings feel that the sacrifice of those lives was a fair price to pay for the preservation of “gun rights”?
It is said that you can’t argue with a fact. Please consider this one: “The US has had 57 times as many school shootings as the other major industrialized nations combined.”
This was the headline of a May 21st piece by CNN reporters Chip Grabow and Lisa Rose.
Since January 1, 2009, there were 228 shootings at U.S. schools, most of which resulted in deaths. In Canada there were 2, in France, 2, in Germany, 1, and none in the United Kingdom, Italy, or Japan. These were shooting incidents affecting students from kindergarten through college.
Surely this amazing disparity did not happen by chance. It certainly did not happen because America is hone to many, many more mentally unstable people who just happen to have access to guns.
It’s interesting that the same folks – like ones running the National Rifle Association – lay most of the blame on the mentally unstable, and yet oppose expanding background checks for those seeking to buy firearms.
Let’s consider the NRA’s favorite slogan: “Guns don’t kill people; people kill people. Maybe they’re on to something.
Americans own far more firearms per capita than the citizens of any other developed nation. Probably most feel the need to protect themselves from other gun-owners. But if everybody who owned guns had to turn them in, this problem would be solved.
Oh, but what about the poor hunters? Perhaps they could take a tip from the original Americans. Learn to hunt with a bow-and-arrow.
About the Author
Steve Slavin has a PhD in economics from NYU, and taught for over thirty years at Brooklyn College, New York Institute of Technology, and New Jersey’s Union County College. He has written sixteen math and economics books including a widely used introductory economics textbook now in its eleventh edition (McGraw-Hill) and The Great American Economy (Prometheus Books) which was published last August.