The Reason for Gun Violence in Chicago

At the midpoint of Michael Moore's "Bowling for Columbine," there is a short cartoon explaining America's history with guns. Moore explains gun culture as a product of a culture of fear. Yet, Americans cannot be the only people who are afraid. There has got to be something else that makes gun deaths so frequent. When I lived in London, UK, I think I stumbled upon it.

The British are famous for their gun control laws. One of the first facts often spoken about Great Britain is that there are no guns (not 100% true). Yet, they still suffer from fear which leads to homicidal violence. What kind of homicides are committed? Well, if majority of the population doesn't have guns, that leaves one old form of providing death, knives.

During a conversation with a colleague, he told me that in 2008 there were 28 stabbings in London, and that he was sincerely worried about the spike in violence. As a Chicagoan, my jaw dropped. I exclaimed, "If we had 28 stabbings, we would consider our violence problem solved!" The comment was a bit crass, but it honestly depicted an American gun problem.

Violence happens in every culture. Therefore, gun control cannot stop violence 100%. The UK actually has one of the highest violence rates in the world (about 4 times more than the US, i.e. robbing, domestic violence, etc.), but it has one of the lowest gun homicide rates. Gun control will significantly decrease gun violence, because the problems with guns is that, despite comedic fumbles in the movies, they are easy to shoot.  You can kill from far away indiscriminately. It's hard to believe the wrong person was stabbed, but it is a common scenario that the wrong person is shot.  If there are less guns, there will be less gun violence.

Sometimes we are so focused on getting to the magic number zero that we forget that there is a countdown that leads to it. Twenty-eight stabbings in a major city is not chump change, but it also cannot compare with the big rollers that roam these Chicago streets (335 homicides to date). Put simply, the US needs a stricter federal gun control law, because what's the use if you can't buy guns in Illinois if you can still buy them in Indiana.

Filed under: Violence

Tags: Chicago Shootings, Gun Control

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