America is broken

AP Photo/Alex Slitz

I love my country. I’m proud to stand up during the national anthem and I’m proud of having served my nation.

Because I love America, I have made it my life’s mission to defend her as a private citizen, much as I was willing to do so while still in uniform.


That’s what I do here and elsewhere on the internet.

It shouldn’t be this hard, though. Unfortunately, we have a legion of people who are inclined to see what they want to see, which is that our rights are what’s to blame for our problems.

People like this writer at Salon.

Last month alone, 147 kids under 18  were killed by guns, not including suicides which typically are not reported in the media. Data show that the rate of teen suicides using a gun nearly doubled between 2010—2020.

And yet the gun industry and gun lobby continue to perpetuate the myth that guns keep us safe.

In the last two decades, billions of dollars have been spent to lobby for tougher gun laws, elect “gun safety candidates,” produce new research, mobilize grassroots supporters, promote community-based solutions, and on and on. And each of these tactics has resulted in some victories against the gun lobby: elections won, laws passed, research released, supporters activated, and increased support for community-based solutions.

This is an extremely personal issue for young people. Firearms have become the leading cause of death for children and teens, and young people have grown up with normalized lockdowns and active shooter threats. Gen Z ranks gun violence as a bigger problem than climate change or abortion access.


Go and read the whole thing if you like, but it basically boils down to “guns are the problem.” The piece claims to debunk the idea that guns make us safer.

We’ve disputed this kind of thing repeatedly, so I’m not going to get into it again.

Instead, I’m going to point out that the writer in question doesn’t understand a fundamental aspect of reality. Namely, that the problem is not and never has been firearms.

No, the problem is something much more deeply rooted in America as a whole.

A while back, I wrote about an interesting Twitter thread that noted that our non-gun homicide rate was higher than the total homicide rate for some European nations.

Now, we are a nation of 330 million people with an estimated 400 million firearms. We have enough guns to hand one to every man, woman, and child and still have a lot left over in case someone’s breaks. Our black market for guns is probably larger per capita than some nations’ total gun market, both white and black combined.

And yet, despite all of that, we still have more people killed with things other than guns–things like knives, poison, sporting equipment, and bare hands, among other things that people of every nation have ready access to–than just about anyone else in the developed world.


That’s not a gun problem, folks. It’s never been a gun problem. If it were simply about guns, then our non-gun homicide rate would look similar to what we see in places like Europe or Japan. Instead, it’s many times higher in many cases.

The reason is that America is broken.

In some way, as a people and a culture, we ended up with a significant chunk of people who think murder is the way you solve a dispute. We have far too many who think that the way to deal with whatever is to kill someone.

If you take away the guns–something you cannot reasonably do–you don’t take away the violent tendencies. You don’t take away the fundamental part of this nation that somehow thinks homicide is a problem-solving technique.

Until and unless you do, there are no laws on Earth you can pass that will make people safer.

If you do, though, there are no laws on Earth needed to make people safer.

It’s just that simple.

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