By Janlee Wong
Sadly, the political discourse in this country has become so polarized (aided and abetted by the White House) that instead of discussing the massive availability of guns in this country as contributing to mass shootings, politicians dismiss the issue as the actions of a “deranged” individual for which nothing can be done about.
Even if we believed this excuse, by not calling for more funding for treatment, Congress and the White House demonstrate how they don’t really believe this and how shallow they are when it comes to trying to do something about this issue.
There are some facts about the issue that can’t be ignored or dismissed but gun ownership advocates will do so anyway (Fisher and Keller, 2017):
- “Americans make up about 4.4 percent of the global population but own 42 percent of the world’s guns.”
- “… mass shootings were better explained by a society’s access to guns than by its baseline level of violence.”
- “A 2015 study estimated that only 4 percent of American gun deaths could be attributed to mental health issues.”
- “… American crime is simply more lethal. A New Yorker is just as likely to be robbed as a Londoner, for instance, but the New Yorker is 54 times more likely to be killed in the process.”
NASW and social workers have been demanding sensible gun control laws and declaring a public health emergency (http://www.socialworkblog.org/advocacy/2017/11/in-aftermath-of-church-mass-shooting-nasw-calls-for-sensible-gun-control-laws-public-health-emergency-declaration/) but Congress and the White House need to hear from all of the American public.
Please ask your friends and family, co-workers and anyone else you can think of to contact their elected representatives about this. Listed below is a website from which anyone can take action on this critical issue:
Fisher, Max and Josh Keller. “What Explains U.S. Mass Shootings? International Comparisons Suggest an Answer.” New York Times 7 Nov. 2017: https://nyti.ms/2hODjPs