Gun culture or violent culture

Dear Editor:

I see the comments about America and gun culture at times. Guns are on many people’s minds now as we try to recover from Buffalo and Uvalde. We grew up with westerns on the big and small screen. But they were bloodless during my childhood. You heard gunfire (usually lots of ricochets) and then the reaction of the person shot. No blood. Then the 60s came along and movies became more graphic. Now I turn on one of the very many cop shows and it’s violence, guns, blood, etc. I refuse to watch them. Barney Miller was my favorite cop show and guns were rare on it.

I also hear video games are awash in guns and violence. I don’t play video games anymore. Never played them much anyway. To me this is more of a violence culture than gun culture, but guns are definitely a big part of it.

I’m not suggesting a cause and effect here, but something is going on. America does not own the franchise on mental illness, as many think it’s all about deranged people causing all this violence. Guns seem easy for these unbalanced folks to acquire and then the gore begins.

I know some facts and you can look for answers. We have the most guns on earth per population: 1.2 guns for every man, woman, and child. The next closest is half that: Falkland Islands with 0.6. So to say we need more guns is bizarre.

In terms of gun deaths per 100,000, we rank 10th with only South American countries ahead of us. But we crush them with over 10 times as many suicides with guns. But to me the most amazing statistic is our incarceration rate. You would believe our violence with guns would be much lower with this many people locked up in our jails. We are number one in the world with people locked up. Over 600 per 100,000. Over 200 million total in our prisons and jails.  

You wonder how the “greatest country on earth” could have so many violent deaths and with this many people in jail. Guns may not kill people, but the types of guns we have now in the hands of certain people makes me wonder how long “thoughts and prayers” are going to be our answer to the loss of innocent lives.

Steve Acree