Written by Jenn Sadai
As a Canadian who’s never owned or seen a gun in person, I’m baffled by the gun culture in America. The only people I personally know who own guns are either police officers or hunters. The thought of owning a gun for personal protection seems extreme and unnecessary.
In the United States, there is said to be more guns than there are people (Washington Post, 2015/10/05) and the main purpose for gun ownership is self-defense. A September, 2016 survey on American gun ownership by researchers at Harvard and Northeastern universities revealed 63% of Americans own guns primarily for protection.
There appears to be a kill or be killed philosophy in America that doesn’t exist in most other developed countries. It’s not something I’ve ever encountered in Canada. I don’t live in fear of being shot and feel confident no law-abiding citizen I know on this side of the border truly does. There’s sporadic gun violence in the downtown cores of our larger cities like Toronto, but I doubt many living there feel the need to care a gun for protection.
So, why is gun ownership such a necessity in America?
The United States and Canada are both developed countries with a wide mix of nationalities and diverse cultures. Despite our similarities and close proximity, there is a drastic difference in our love of guns, as well as our percentage of gun related deaths per year. In 2013, American’s average 3.55 violent gun deaths per 100,000 people compared to only 0.49 per 100,000 in Canada. That’s seven times as many deaths!
As far as other developed countries, the United States has more than five times as many gun deaths as the average European Country. They actually have ten times as many if you compare America with Australia (0.3/100,000). There are more gun deaths in America than some underdeveloped countries as well. For example, Ethiopia (2.72/100,000), Serbia (1.14/100,000), and Iran (1.08/100,000) are all safer in regards to gun violence than the United States.
There seems to be a cycle of a high rate of gun deaths inspiring fear and that same fear inspiring gun purchases, injuries and more deaths. Somehow, someway, the deadly cycle needs to be broken. There needs to be more restrictions on who should be allowed guns and the type of guns they can purchase. If you’re a danger to yourself or others, that should supersede your right to bare arms.
Instead of tackling the root of the problem, new leadership in the United States are now pushing for less gun restrictions, claiming gun ownership saves lives. There is even the possibility of allowing guns in school zones for protection. This fuels the fear and will only increase the number of gun-related deaths per year.
Politicians, corporations, and media in America are using fear to push their agendas and/or sell their products. They should focus their efforts on taking gun rights away from those who are a danger to society, eliminating dangerous automatic weapons, and dispelling the fear that everyone needs a gun for protection.
In reality, despite the high number of gun deaths compared to other developed countries, you are more likely to die from cancer, a stroke or a car accident than a speeding bullet. Suicidal deaths actually exceed gun homicides in the United States. When you look at the 3.55/100,000 guns death per year, it only works out to a 0.00355% chance of dying due to a fatal gun shot.
Owning a gun for protection is not a necessity in America. In fact, it increases your chance of accidentally injuring yourself or someone else. The only way to reduce the number of gun deaths per year is to decrease the number of Americans who own guns. The fear is unsubstantiated, which should eliminate the need for protection, allowing more Americans to live as I do. Life is much more enjoyable when you’re not living in fear for your life.
Permission to post by author Jenn Sadai
Jenn Sadai is a Canadian author and advocate who’s just crazy enough to think she can change the world. Jenn shares her stories of surviving domestic violence, depression, and workplace bullying in hopes that it will help others cope and heal. She is the author of Dark Confession of an Extraordinary, Ordinary Woman, Dirty Secrets of the World’s Worst Employee, and Cottage Cheese Thighs. Website