One hundred years ago when people drove an automobile on the roads, it was a very scary experience. Footage from the early 20th century showed streets with very few rules about right of way or safety. As a consequence the streets in many cities were dangerous. Cars and horse-drawn wagons hit each other routinely. Pedestrians darted everywhere. When accidents happened cars had few safety features.
But since the 1920’s driving has become much safer. The rules of the road were established and police enforced them. Highways were divided; speed limits were established. Now we have strict rules about drinking and driving. Over the years, car manufacturers were required to install padded dashboards, inflatable airbags and dozens of other safety features. Drivers have to get a license and pass a driving test before they get behind a wheel. Youth have special license restrictions. Safety is monitored continually; now drivers cannot hold cell phones while driving. The public supports these restrictions because it is 90% safer to drive that is was in the 1920’s. It just common sense to require people to drive safely.
Yet. as a country, we feel so clear about car safety and so confused about gun safety. Today over 30,000 people die from gun violence in the US every year. Among high-income nations the US accounts for 80% of the the gun deaths in the world, including 86% of all women killed by guns and 87% of all children under 14 killed by guns.
Everyday 96 people are shot and killed by guns; hundreds more are injured. Nearly 2/3 of the deaths are suicides, and researchers tell us that having access to a gun makes it 3 times more likely that someone will kill themselves when they suffer from suicidal depression.
1600 children die of gun violence every year in this country. Fire arms are the second leading cause of death for children and the first leading cause for Black children and teens. 1,000,000 women alive today have been shot by an intimate partner in our country and 50 women die every month because their intimate partner shot them. I could continue to cite statistics about the public health crisis.
But you get my point.
I don’t understand this. Do we really believe this is a mental health problem? Don’t you wonder why it was a no-brainer to make driving so much safer but we cannot figure out how to make guns safe? Some people may think this is a partisan issue, but I think it is a moral issue. I believe more Christians need to value life enough to speak up.
You can learn more about the changing face of the NRA and how it became political at this link: