I think we can trace the rise of Donald Drumpf back to the year 2009, and the creation of the Tea Party. They called themselves Republicans, but I’m not sure that’s an accurate label. Is Mr. Drumpf really a Republican? Is Hillary Clinton really a Democrat? Really?

Maybe we need to recognize that Mr. Drumpf represents a third party, neither Democrat or Republican.

Some people aren’t fans of labels, but I don’t think labels are always bad. After all, it’s good to know the names of things, including the labels we give ourselves. But in the American political arena, if you’re not a Republican or Democrat, you basically don’t exist. So, if you want to fully participate, you have to choose one label or the other, and Mr. Drumpf chose the Republican label.

The meanings of words can change over time, just like the meanings of labels. And since the meanings of “Republican” and “Democrat” have changed so much, from decade to decade, these labels have become almost meaningless (or they both mean the same thing).

If my only choice for a political label is Democrat or Republican, I choose neither. When I applied for my New Mexican driver’s license, I was asked if I wanted to registered to vote. I registered as an independent. (In New Mexico, only Democrats and Republicans can vote in the primaries.)

I can’t imagine that I’d ever vote for someone with a Republican label, but that doesn’t mean that I disagree with everything about the Republican party. What don’t I like about the Republican party platform? Well, there’s the denial of climate change. And the rejection of the separation of church and state.

And then there’s guns.

I’m trying to understand the side of gun lovers. I really am. I’m reminded of a Phil Collins song called “Both Sides Of The Story”:

White man turns the corner
Finds himself within a different world
Ghetto kid grabs his shoulder
Throws him up against the wall
He says
“Would you respect me
if I didn’t have this gun?
‘Cos without it, I don’t get it,
and that’s why I carry one.”

I guess there are many reasons to own a gun — for protection, and yes, for respect. Perhaps that means we should start showing other people more respect, so they won’t feel the need to own a gun.

Unfortunately, gun lovers refuse to address the issue of guns and suicides (and domestic violence). Which I don’t understand, since these suicides are mostly happening in the white, male population. It’s happening in the veteran population, known for their love of guns. And all of this gun worshiping and use has bled into our schools. Into our militarized police forces. Into our daily lives…

http://www.aol.com/article/2016/02/17/police-find-classmate-gave-gun-to-arizona-girls-in-murder-suicid/21314050/

The handgun used in last week’s apparent murder-suicide of two 15-year-old girls found shot dead at their suburban Phoenix high school was furnished by a fellow student at the request of one of the girls, police said on Tuesday. Sergeant David Vidaure… said the girl had obtained the weapon from her classmate, a 15-year-old boy, on the eve of last Friday’s fatal shooting after telling him “she needed it for protection.”

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/iowa-kids-handguns_us_56ce4af9e4b0bf0dab30cae7

Statehouse Republicans, including the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Jake Highfill, said the the legislation was an issue of parents’ rights designed to correct “an injustice in Iowa code” that now forbids children 14 and younger from handling pistols. Highfill said his measure would bring the law on children’s use of handguns in line with regulations for shotguns and rifles, which don’t restrict the age of children using them under parental supervision…

http://northiowatoday.com/2015/01/14/data-gun-deaths-by-suicide-out-pacing-homicides/

During the ten years from 2003 to 2012, the most recent year for which data are available, 313,045 persons died from firearm-related injuries in the United States. These deaths outnumber US combat fatalities in World War II; they outnumber the combined count of combat fatalities in all other wars in the nation’s history…

Most deaths from firearm violence are suicides, not homicides—60.5%, on average, over the decade ending in 2012. Over the past 30 years, suicide has exceeded homicide even when firearm homicide rates were at their highest, and it was also the case for most of the twentieth century. There has been a notable divergence in firearm suicide and homicide rates since 2006; homicides have decreased, but suicides have increased by a like amount…

JohnFPeters_BBW_Gunshop_HIRES02

Ty Hazlett handles an assault rifle on display at Westside Armory, Las Vegas, NV (CREDIT: John Francis Peters)

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One thought on “Most deaths from firearm violence are suicides, not homicides

  1. the pain in my shoulder takes me back thousands of miles away where a gun was an extension of myself, a means of self-preservation. (An extension of willpower, which is where I suppose all conflicts begin.)

    I agree that respect comes first, much more complicated to navigate than the mechanical motion of pressing a button that spits out high-speed death metal. I shudder to imagine those days where ‘an eye for an eye’ was the predominant philosophy of the ruling class.

    Liked by 1 person

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