GUEST BLOG: Hey Facebook, this should be on everyone’s mind

Guest blog by Jerry Casagrande, an environmentalist, writer and screenwriter working in Washington, D.C., area.

Guest blog by Jerry Casagrande, an environmentalist, writer and screenwriter working in the Washington, D.C., area.


Facebook asked me “What’s on my mind?” So here goes:

.02 percent of guns in the US are used in self-defense each year. Not 2%, but 2 one-hundredths of 1 percent. Some guns are used for hunting of course. How are the rest of guns used? I think mostly as toys and “crutches.” They are taken to the range to shoot at targets or taken into the backyard to shoot at targets or up into the air or at a can on a fence or shown to a friend the way my ten year old shows his friends his pokemon cards or some other toy. 99.98 % are not used in self-defense. They are toys.

Or, they are a sort of crutch held in safes or in basements or under beds by those who feel unsafe. Folks who fantasize that one day the bad guy will come in the window and they will whip out their glock and pick him off. Maybe get their picture in the paper for being a vigilante. But 99.98% of guns will never be used this way. The “I need a gun for self-defense” argument is just not true. You don’t need one. A better remedy for the person who feels they need a gun for safety would be to see a therapist to overcome their feelings of un-safety.

However, for every gun used in self-defense, 4 more guns are stolen each year. And there are 32,000+ deaths by gun every year, including murder, suicide, and accident. It is just not true that if there were fewer guns there would not be fewer deaths. Take mass murders like the one in Orlando, without the semi-automatic weapon, he would have in fact killed fewer people. Imagine for a minute with a slower shooting gun, he killed half as many people–there would be 24 or 25 families grieving now instead of 49. Every life counts. Take suicides–for the troubled person considering suicide, imagine that gun is just a bit harder to get; so they turn to means less effective than a gun and wind up in the hospital rather than the morgue. Accidents? No gun, no accident.

I tire of gun-control advocates being so damn respectful of the right to bear arms. There is little reason to believe the founding fathers thought this was a fundamental right. Rather, they believed it was a right derived from the need for the new United States to be defended by state militias, the members of which would need a rifle. The right to bear arms is not as fundamental as the right to say what one wants, the right to believe what one wants, the right to associate with whom one wants. How can it be? It is about owning a particular product not about one’s core identity. One certainly has a right to self-defense but that does not automatically mean that one has a right to defend oneself with a gun.

We don’t just need common-sense gun laws. We need many fewer guns. We have one gun per person–essentially handing them out in the hospital nursery. How the actual reduction in number of guns–from 300,000,000 to some much smaller number should happen–I don’t know. Buy back programs. Ban on the sale or transfer of guns such that when a person dies, his or her guns are disposed of.

Let hunters hunt. Let police officers keep the public safe. Let soldiers have their weapons. Other than that, folks can have guns in very special circumstances where an overwhelming need can be proved.

Does that sound radical? The other side suggests arming kindergarten teachers…