You missed the news about the latest mass shooting ? Don’t worry, there will be another one this week.
The only good thing about this high number of killings is that it provides a lot of data. We can compare gun violence in states with different gun control laws, we can compare the US with other countries that have similar socio-economic factors. We can compare the US with other countries that have relatively liberal gun ownership laws and those with a very strict regime of gun control.
This allows us to have a fact-based, calm, educated and polite debate among people from all ends of the political spectrum who surely agree that it would be nice to get the number of violent deaths reduced. Granted, there are policy disagreements, constitutional arguments, questions of cause and effect, of correlation and causation, of practicability, but as nobody will argue for more killings, all sides of this debate should at least be united by a common goal.
Yet this debate doesn’t happen, except in some academic journals which nobody bothers to read. “Those who live in America, or visit it, might do best to regard [mass shootings] the way one regards air pollution in China: an endemic local health hazard which, for deep-rooted cultural, social, economic and political reasons, the country is incapable of addressing,” The Economist wrote in response to the Charleston massacre. “This may, however, be a bit unfair. China seems to be making progress on pollution.”
Meanwhile, one of the contenders for the Republican Presidential nomination, Senator Ted Cruz from Texas, displays the shockingly low intellectual level of his contribution to this non-occurring debate:
The thing Mr Cruz refers to as a “machine gun” is not even a machine gun. It’s an AR-15 rifle, used in mass shootings throughout American cinemas, schools, post offices and churches. Relatives of gun massacre victims will surely find the Senator’s video very empathetic and sensitive.