In the wake of any shooting incident, it’s human nature to seek answers and assign blame. Questions about discrimination, mental health issues, and behavioral signs often dominate the conversation. However, this knee-jerk reaction tends to overlook the deeper-rooted causes of such incidents. In this blog post, we delve into the current state of gun violence, challenging common misconceptions and drawing parallels to a seemingly forgotten era — the 1970s.
The Numbers Game
The prevailing narrative surrounding gun violence paints a grim picture of unprecedented numbers and an alarming trend. Yet, a closer examination of the statistics reveals a surprising truth: when adjusted for population growth, the deaths per 100,000 people are actually lower than what they were in the 1970s. So, what’s the real story?
A Blast from the Past
A Nixon Library article from July 6th, 2021, highlights eerie similarities between the current state of affairs and the tumultuous 1970s. Despite the passage of time, it appears humanity has failed to learn from its mistakes, leading to a cycle of societal upheaval and violence.
Comparing the Stats
Taking a detailed look at the gun violence statistics, the suicide and murder rates per 100,000 people in the 1970s were 7.7 and 7.2, respectively. Surprisingly, in 2021, the suicide rate was down to 7.5, and the murder rate decreased to 6.7. However, a notable spike occurred in 2020, coinciding with the global pandemic, lockdowns, and economic instability.
The Shadow Pandemic
The rise in domestic violence during the COVID-19 pandemic, labeled a “Shadow Pandemic” by the Harvard Gazette, further exacerbates the overall increase in violence. Lockdowns and economic uncertainty have taken a toll on people’s mental health, contributing to a surge in violence, including incidents involving firearms.
The Need for Accountability
As we grapple with rising violence, it’s crucial to address the root causes rather than hastily implementing new laws. The government and lawmakers must be held accountable for enforcing existing laws effectively. High inflation, political unrest, changes to societal norms, and global conflicts are reminiscent of the challenges faced in the 1970s, emphasizing the importance of a thoughtful and measured response.
A Call for Education
The responsibility also lies with the voters and lawmakers. To break the cycle, there’s a need for a collective step back and self-reflection. Understanding the implications of proposed laws and holding all branches of government accountable for enforcing existing ones is crucial. The focus should be on educating the public about the real consequences of legislation, steering away from the pitfalls of politics as mere popularity contests.
Addressing the complexities of gun violence requires a nuanced understanding of historical patterns and a commitment to comprehensive solutions. By acknowledging the parallels between today and the 1970s, we can move beyond surface-level blame and work towards a society that values honesty, education, and thoughtful governance.