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Monday, August 10, 2015

Gun violence - America's national security embarrassment

Since the attack September 11, on the United States, the nation has responded aggressively to the danger of terrorism, taking extraordinary measures, invading two countries, launching military operations in many others, and spending more than $800 billion on homeland security, Americans have accepted an unprecendented expansion of government powers and invasions of their privacy.
But, at the same time, virtually nothing has been done to prevent the growing public health mortality and morbidity caused by gun violence.

The Week "Viewpoint" reports on the Fareed Zakaria article in The Washington Post:
Fareed Zakaria reports in The Washington Post about gun violence post 9/11


Since 9/11, there were 74 people killed in the United States by terrorists. During that same period, more than 150,000 (one hundred and fifty thousand!) Americans were killed in gun homicides; and we have done....nothing.  Another day, another mass shooting. The U.S. has a gun homicide rate that is 50 times higher than Germany's. Obviously, we don't have 50 times as many mentally ill disturbed people as Germany does, but we do have many, many  more guns - writes Fareed Zakaria.

Although Americans are now living in virtual security alert situations, we're also a nation dealing with perpetual mourning.  Every gun violence incident is followed by a vigil to celebrate the lives of those who were killed, by a cause that's as preventable as iron deficiency anemia.  When a person is diagnosed as being anemic, the physician prescribes iron supplements and Vitamin B-12 therapy. When a nation is plagued by high mortality and morbidity related to gun violence, the cure is to eliminate the vector.  Okay, Second Amendment zealots, we can never eliminate guns from America; but we can at least reduce the open access to them and increase the cost of ammunition.

Unfortunately, our attitude seems to be one of fatalism. 

"Another day, another mass shooting." Which is almost literally true. The Web site shootingtracker.com documents that in the first 207 days of 2015, the nation had 207 mass shootings. After one of these takes place now, everyone goes through a ritual of shock and horror, and then moves on, aware that nothing will change, accepting that this is just one of those quirks of American life. 

Think about it! 150,000 deaths. Almost three Vietnams.
Gun violence in America is a national security embarrassment. 
Although we keep terrorists from attacking us, our ability to protect ourselves from internal gun violence incidents, has no defense.

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