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gun violence in America

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Buried deep within the subconscious of American thought lies a twisted infatuation with guns and the violence they create.

Americans love their guns more than they love each other and it’s proven time and time again with what feels like a mass shooting every other week.

According to a 2018 report by the Small Arms Survey, there are 393.3 million legal guns in America–there are only 329.5 million people in America. It is the only country in the world that has more civilian-owned guns than people. Let that sink in…

These figures don’t account for all the illegal firearms that make their way onto our streets through straw purchases and other black-market channels.

But why do Americans love their guns so much? To understand better let’s take a look at the history of guns and gun violence in America.

There were no guns on the shores of North America before Europeans brought them here.

Gun powder was first created by Chinese alchemists in the 9th century trying to create a fountain of youth potion.

By the 13th century, gun powder had made its way to Europe and hand cannons became commonplace among English and French militaries.

When European conquerors sailed west for new lands they brought with them guns and gun powder. The weapons were used to demonstrate their superiority over anyone they came across. Some also believe the Spanish could have brought guns to the Americas as they too tried to conquer its lands.

Historians have also found records of guns in the Mayflower, the infamous ship captained by America’s most famous colonizer, Christopher Columbus.

The history of how guns got to America’s shores is intriguing, but how they were used when they got here is something out of a horror flick.

Just as America was built atop gun culture, it was also built atop gun violence.

Gun laws in early America led to legislation that would result in the eradication of nearly all of America’s indigenous people. Natives were slaughtered and their land was stolen, all in the name of America.

The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified in 1791, solidifying the right to bear arms for well-regulated militias (whatever that means…). The amendment was devastating to the Native Americans. Its racist language made Native Americans a target for extreme violence, calling them “Blood Thirsty Heathen Red Savages.”

By the end of the Indian Wars in the later 19th century, there were fewer than 238,000 indigenous people left in North America. When Columbus first arrived there were an estimated 15 million. Let that sink in…

America’s twisted infatuation with guns and violence wouldn’t end with the Native Americans. Soon they would turn those guns on each other in one of the deadliest wars known to man, the American Civil War.

The Civil War was a true testament to the levels of gun violence Americans were capable of. An estimated 620,000 men were killed fighting fellow Americans. That was almost 2% of the American population during the time of the war. If that war was fought today, the death toll would have surpassed 6 million people.

The number of deaths yielded by every American War combined still does not reach the number of Americans lost in the civil war.

Many described the war as “brother against brother,” as stories were told about brothers fighting against one other on opposite sides of the war, one ultimately killing the other. Blood is thicker than water, but not gunpowder.

When America was born, it had a twin named gun violence. The two grew up learning and growing from one another–now they are inseparable.

According to the CDC, nearly 53 people are killed each day by a firearm in the US. In 2022 alone, there have been 214 mass shootings, and more than 17,300 people have lost their lives due to gun violence. But this isn’t anything new for America, it’s just what we do. Sadly, no one does it better.


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