Gun violence in America has spiralled out of control
In a cruel twist of fate, 27-year-old Telemachus Orfanos, a survivor of the deadliest gun massacre in modern American history, met with his demise at the shooting in Thousand Oaks, California. While the need for gun control does not need reiteration, Orfanos' fate, and the statistical unlikelihood of it, is perhaps yet another indication that gun violence is way out of control in America.
The cruel fate which befell Orfanos
Orfanos was a military veteran who had served in the US Navy from 2011 to 2014, following which he returned to America, which is increasingly starting to look like a warzone. In October 2017, he was caught in the Las Vegas gun massacre, which resulted in the deaths of 58 people and injured hundreds. The Navy veteran lived through the shooting, only to die a year later at a bar in California, just 10 minutes from home.
Orfanos' mother: Don't want prayers, want gun control
“I hope to God no one sends me anymore prayers. I want gun control. No more guns!” - mother of shooting victim Telemachus Orfanos. She says he survived the #LasVegasShooting but did not survive the #ThousandOaksMassacre. @ABC7 @ABCNewsLive pic.twitter.com/UMqTY1RATK— Veronica Miracle (@ABC7Veronica) November 8, 2018
America sees almost one mass shooting every day
Indeed, what happened to Orfanos was a statistical anomaly, but the fact that it could happen, is indicative of how common shootings have become in the US. According to data from the Gun Violence Archive, America has seen almost one mass shooting (event in which four or more people, excluding the shooter, are shot) every day for the past few years.
The mind-boggling mass shooting figures
So far, in 2018, America has seen 311 mass shootings that have resulted in the deaths of over 310 people, and has caused at least 1,270 injuries. In 2017, there were 346 documented mass shootings, while the figures were 382 and 335 for 2016 and 2015, respectively.
Access to guns is defended on unjustified grounds
While many who oppose gun control, including politicians and pundits, often pin these mass shootings on issues like mental health, extremism, anti-Semitism and the like, the fact remains that America does not have a monopoly when it comes anti-social elements. Instead, it boils down to the fact that guns remain easily accessible to such people, and thus, gun policies are the actual enablers of violence. The shooters are merely the agents.
USA has extremely lax gun laws compared to developed nations
America's gun problem can be broken down into two, related factors - access to guns, and prevalence of guns. In terms of access to guns, the US perhaps has the most lax laws among any developed country - while most developed nations have rigorous background checks, licensing requirements, etc. US federal law is riddled with loopholes which makes gun access uniquely easy in America.
America has more guns than people
Understandably, easy access to guns is also tied to the prevalence of civilian-owned firearms in America. According to estimations of 2017, the US had a whopping 120.5 guns per 100 residents, miles ahead of other countries in this measure. For comparison, Yemen, a quasi-failed state ravaged by civil war, came second, with 52.8 guns per 100 residents. Pakistan and Iraq had 22.3 and 19.6 respectively.
Despite not having exceptional crime rates, America sees exceptional gun-violence
Indeed, the same reflects in statistics about gun violence in America. According to UN data, gun homicides in America per one million people is six times that of Canada, more than seven times that of Sweden, and almost 15 times that of Germany. Yet, it should be noted that crime rates in the US are not exceptional - only lethal violence is.
Will the government act? We don't know
Research has repeatedly pointed out the links between access to guns and gun violence in America, but so far, it seems to have fallen on deaf ears. Yet, if one thing is clear, it's that Orfanos' death won't be the last. The writing is on the wall, and the only question is whether the government will act to make America a safer place.