America's Problem Isn't Guns. It's Gun Culture.



A new beginning for some.
A sad reminder for others. 

Today, after nearly 4 years, a new Sandy Hook Elementary School opened in Newtown, Connecticut. Twenty children and six adults died as a result of a mass shooting. Mass shootings have become an American phenomenon. There is no western country that can compare to the US when it comes to the frequency of gun related deaths. 

The image above shows how the US compares to other western nations.

A Country's Obsession 

There is something to be said about how much emphasis is put on the Second Amendment. Guns are considered by some as symbolic of American freedom. When compared to the UK, guns are clearly ingrained in the American culture unlike other countries. BBC put together an infographic showing the comparison side by side below: 
The US is only one of three countries that has explicit gun ownership rights stated in the constitution. Since the time of the Revolutionary War to the iconic cowboys in the west and the romanticizing of war in the 50's, guns have made US citizens feel safe and helped build an identity that is uniquely our own. Talks about gun control are typically viewed as threatening a way of life by pro-gun activists. We have to ask ourselves if that kind of mentality has threatened actual lives more. Recent negative rhetoric directed at immigrants, people of color, and people of certain religions among others has only served to increase the paranoia that correlates directly to that illusion of being 'unsafe.' Fear should not be the driving force behind wanting to make access to guns easier. Fear should make us more concerned with having proper gun use and education about gun safety because in 2016 alone, more accidental shootings took place than those made in self defense. 

By Amina Spahic

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