America’s Gun Problem Gets Broken Down & It Is Scary (Video)
It is undeniably tragic that for most Americans, gun violence is an issue that forces itself into discussion frequently. On the heels of the worst mass shooting by a lone gunman in United States history, once again the topic of access to weapons like assault rifles has reared its controversial head, sparking debates that become so heated, political processes are often brought to a screeching halt. In Orlando, Florida, 49 victims lost their lives to an armed killer who unloaded enough bullets to make his crime the worst against LGBT people to ever take place in this country. While the U.S. continues to reel from the horrendous tragedy, the political wheel keeps spinning, and given the fact that a presidential election looms ahead, tensions are particularly high. So high, that it’s easy to become lost in the vitriol and the infighting. Sometimes, there is a need for something that cuts through all the noise and refocuses a country’s collective attention on what’s really going on.
Back in February, Vox uploaded a video examining what it calls America’s “gun problem” with a series of uncomplicated, easy-to-follow graphs and charts. Naturally, due to the recent events in Orlando and elsewhere – there are, after all, a number of gun-related crimes taking place each and every day in this country – the video has experienced a resurgence. But within its offerings of bare-boned statistics, it elucidates through video footage, audio clips, and visual aides that emphasize the very human side to violence. “Here’s what you need to know about the state of gun violence in America,” it begins. “It’s true that the U.S. sees many more shootings than these developed countries,” the narrator explains while a chart including Australia, Canada, and much of the European Union populates. In its first dose of sobering information, Vox mentions that in the first 14 years of the 21st century, America has recorded 133 mass shootings, while Germany (in second place) has had only six. Far from hyperbolic, the production makes it clear to control for things like size and population of the country, but even so, the U.S. can claim victory in a contest nobody wants to win.
Other factors like the breadth of time between mass shootings are closely examined, and the delivery is cleverly spliced together with footage of President Obama’s seemingly endless “repeat” cycle of reactionary speeches, each of which addresses an individual tragedy and yet sounds like a painfully broken record. Along the way, astounding facts are delivered on screen, including that on average, 92 deaths by gun take place in the U.S. every day. But what separates this video from just another newsreel about a politicized issue is that, in just over seven minutes, it manages to touch on insightful nuances within the gun debate, such as how access to guns is affecting suicide, a racially-focused break down of reported gun crimes, and more. And it’s precisely that which many Americans feel is absent from most discussions about the gun “problem.” Nuance.
Take, for instance, the U.S.’ place in charts exploring rates of assault and burglary compared to other major nations. According to Vox, if homicides are removed from the data, the U.S. ranks sixth. Essentially, this disputes the argument that America simply has more crime. As the data cited by Vox seems to suggest, it is the introduction of assault weapons that begins to earns America that dubious first-place award mentioned before. “It’s not that the U.S. has much more crime. It’s that crime in the U.S. is much more lethal,” the narrator says. In a chart labeled “gun deaths compared to other causes,” it becomes frighteningly clear that more Americans are killed by guns than those killed by A.I.D.S., drug overdoses, war, and terrorism…combined.
And so, once again, Americans are in turmoil over the politics of guns. For most, it is indeed a broken record, one for which an attempt of repair never seems to quite go far enough. As Heads may remember, just this past January President Obama was brought to tears when announcing new gun regulations. But with his term in office coming to an end, many fear that our problem with guns will get worse before it gets better.