A newcomer’s guide to gun violence in America
Some recent major crimes of mass shootings: app2us condemns plagiarism in all forms.
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We are neither experts on guns nor on violence, but that is what makes this article interesting. Gun violence is a pervasive and serious problem in the US and it is not going to be solved anytime soon, because of lack of political will and strength of guns lobby. So one might as well learn about it and adjust with it.
Before we proceed, the disclaimer: We respect the US constitution including the second amendment that guarantees the right to bear arms. We also respect the first amendment which guarantees all the freedom of expression and opinion. This article is intended to serve as a cultural acclimatization to gun culture, not a call to change the culture.
April 2007: Virginia Tech Shooting – 33 killed, 23 injured
Jan 2011: Congresswoman Gaby Giffords shot in the head, 6 killed, 14 injured
July 2012: Aurora movie theatre shooting – 12 killed, 58 injured
Aug 2012 : Wisconsin Gurdwara shooting – 7 killed, 4 injured
Some stunning statistics:
US has 5% of the world population and 50% of the total guns in hands of civilians.
There are 88 guns in civilian hands, per 100 population. Yemen is distant second with 54.
There are far fewer guns in Iraq, Afghanistan or North Korea.
Root causes of mass shootings:
There are no root causes. There is only one root cause – easy access to guns and ammunitions. Majority of people can buy guns as easily as they can buy beer. Ammunition can be bought online as well. There are other causes, but those exist in all countries and societies. What is unique to USA is the ease of buying guns. Anyway the other causes are
1. Good percentage of lunatics: Lunatics are found in all countries in abundance. But here lunatics, who are not officially under treatment and have no medical record, can easily obtain guns.
2. Presence of racial supremacy groups and secret societies: The alleged shooter at the Wisconsin Gurudwara was linked to some racial hatred groups and wanted to wage a holy war.
3. Breakdown of families: USA has the second highest divorce rate in the world. This leads to many dysfunctional families and many unhappy ignored children. Many of the shooters have had such past.
4. Interesting laws: Many states like Florida have a ‘Stand your ground law’. If someone thinks you are a threat to them, they can shoot and kill you, and go unpunished.[Details of the law are complicated]
Caution for international students and newcomers.
[These cover worst case scenario, just to highlight the possible dangers to someone who is new in the country]
1. On a street, public place or while having a driving dispute type of situation on the road, be polite. Assume the other guy has a gun, you will then automatically be very polite. The point is any escalation with anyone can lead to shooting, although probability remains low.
2. Never engage a criminal; never try to physically stop a crime. You may help by discreetly calling 911, but any false bravado can and will get you shot.
3. If you are working in any customer facing job during your internship, never try to stop a robber.
4. If you hear gunshots while in a classroom or dorm room, block the door.
5. Never live with a roommate or housemate who has a gun, even if a legal gun or whatsoever.
6. Never enter anyone’s house who is not your friend for any reason like a graduate class survey. People have a greater right to shoot you if it is inside their property.
7. Never meet a stranger for any purpose inside their home. For example, if someone is selling a car, ask them to meet at a public place, not their home.
8. If stuck in active shooting scenario, When the police arrive, they will treat everyone as a potential assailant. New immigrants are especially vulnerable here, as they are more likely to not exactly follow the instructions by the police. Do not run to them or request help, as this may cause them to think you are a threat. Instead, quickly go face down on the ground with your arms spread away from your body, palms towards the police, and fingers spread apart. Be quiet and listen for orders. Do exactly what the officers tell you to do, do it quickly, and do it without argument or protest. Expect the police to treat you as though you might be the armed criminal, and even to handcuff you and everyone else in the room. They are not being mean; they are getting the situation under control the only way possible.
Click here for more details on how to react to a mass shooting [Reference for item 8]
app2us.com stands in solidarity with the victims of the gun violence. All US Government buildings including American embassies throughout the world will have American flags fly at half mast today in memory and respect of people killed in the shooting at a Gurdwara in Wisconsin.
1. Time to face facts on gun control [and source of the map]
2. Battleground America
Editorial comments added on Aug 11, 2012: Today it was reported that item 1 by Fareed Zakaria was plagiarized from item 2 by Jill Lapore. So we added item 2 as reference. We are proud of our original thoughts and proper attribution to source 1 initially and now source 2 after we found the relation between 1 and 2.
Some recent major crimes of mass shootings:
app2us condemns plagiarism in all forms.