Guns and what it tells us about America

Guns and what it tells us about America

Apr 16, 2022

Keeping in mind, the light and personal nature of my posts, I thought about writing about another light topic - gun violence in America (that was supposed to be a joke).

Anyway, as I am writing this there has been another horrific mass shooting incident - this time in New York. But wait! It was not the subway shooting that you are thinking of. You see there were actually, two separate shooting incidents within hours of each other in New York City. The difference between the two being that while no-one died in the subway attack, one person did lose her life in the Bronx attack.

Since the start of the year, there have been 133 mass shootings in America. Just think about that. There have been 105 DAYS in the year so far. We have more than 1 mass shooting a day in America. Isn't that an absolutely ridiculous number to you? It is to me.

So, why do we, the richest, most powerful nation on Earth have to deal with this problem whereas other countries get to look down on us on this issue and shake their heads?

Now, different groups of people would recommend different solutions to this problem. Depending on your political affiliation you would either say -

  1. Gun Control

  2. Mental Health

  3. Violent Video Games

Well, I am not going to do your thinking for you and tell you one solution is the right. Instead, as I am used to, I will tell you about something from my life and see if you can find any parallels with this issue.

I grew up in a small town called Wayne in West Virginia. In my freshman year of high school, I wanted to get a part time job after school. It would help me and my family with some extra money and also look good on a college application. So, I applied for a job at KFC. I had an interview and I got hired. That was back in 2000/2001 or so. It has been over 20 years since then but to this day, that was one of the best jobs that I have ever had and I will tell you why. It was because I got paid very well. Minimum wage in West Virginia was about $5 an hour at the time but KFC paid us $6 an hour.

That might seem like nothing to you right now. But twenty years ago in a small West Virginia town for a kid who has a home and doesn't have utilities payments, that was more than a lot of money! Right now, as a nurse working at a good medical facility with experience and two different college degrees, on a per hour basis, I make about $45-$50 an hour but instead of living in Wayne, I live in Milpitas CA with high rent, high cost of living and high inflation.

The federal minimum wage (which hasn't changed since 2009, by the way) is $7.25 an hour. West Virginia itself increased its minimum wage to almost $9 an hour in 2016. The average home price in West Virginia according to Zillow is $130,000 while that in California is $813,000. So, what does all of this have to do with our gun problem?

America is a massive country. It is unlike any other country in the world. Countries like China and India have a higher population but there the population is far more evenly spread out than over here. Russia is a lot bigger in land area than us but it has one third the population. Problems and solutions that apply to a city like San Francisco don't apply to places like West Virginia. Yet, for some reason all our politicians and even a lot of our public seem adamant to find these one-size fits all solutions for all our problems.

Someone living in West Virginia where law enforcement is not as widely available and who would need a weapon to protect themselves from wild animals and for self-protection will not give up their weapons because of mass shootings in New York. New York has an excellent police department (not including police abuse as a measure in this) and people over there don't need to have weapons. Yet, we want to come up with federal solutions for these local problems.

I am not naive. I know someone will point out that instituting local level gun control laws such as a ban in New York City only but not the rest of the country will not prevent guns from being smuggled into New York and what about the second amendment?

Why can't we only allow the sale of smart guns that are locked to a user's fingerprints? Those guns won't fire if just anyone tries to use them. If you truly believe that only good guys with guns can solve our gun problem, then why not only allow good guys have the guns?

And finally, about the second amendment. That was written in the 1700's with the intention of protecting the people from a tyrannical government. It's been over 200 years since then and during that time our government has acquired nukes and fighter jets. Trust me, if the US government turns tyrannical having shotguns will not protect you from anything.

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