Values vs. Causes
What is the relationship between incidents of mass violence and gun legislation? Is the US really a dangerous place to live? Do our national disagreements on gun-control have a statistical correlation on violence?
These are all good questions to ask. But, like most complex problems, there is never a singular quick-fix solution.
The TTA trains and prepares individuals to prevent and respond to acts of violence. This act of violence could be a mass shooting. It could be a terrorist situation. Or, even more commonly, it could be a customer or co-worker who escalates into violence. It could be a domestic violence situation that occurs in Fred Meyer… and you just happen to be on the adjacent isle.
It is important to note that our team disagrees with the common-place “Active Shooter” terminology. Incidents of mass violence could (and often do) involve a firearm: however, the primary weapon could also be a knife, a stick, a pencil, or a tire iron. All of these items are real, prevalent, and lethal when used with the intent to kill.
Keeping these factors in mind, the simple reality is that the United States of America is still one of the safest places in the world. Our homicide rate per population is well below average values when compared across nations. And of course, we should be grateful that the US provides its people the freedom to keep track of these figures: many countries don’t, or at least don’t release this kind of data to the public.
At the same time, it is unarguable that violence is escalating in the West. Alarmingly, risk per million people puts many states on the West Coast high on the list of probability regarding casualties from mass-violence: Oregon, Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, and Washington State all make the top ten list of US states and the top twenty when data from the EU is included.
Is gun control a problem? Of course. But gun control is a problem that does not lead to a direct solution to violence in the world. Ask yourself this: what kind of regulations does the US currently impose on bombs? The answer is clear: current federal regulations for all explosives, blasting agents, and detonators are very tight. Individuals engaged in any business with explosive devices must be licensed, undergoing close scrutiny, background investigations, and ongoing regulatory action. It is illegal for anyone to teach, demonstrate, or possess information on how to make or use an explosive device with the intent of hurting others. Even with all of these restrictions, individuals intent on hurting others make and use explosive bombs within the United States all the time. Can our restrictions on these things get any tighter? More importantly, would it help?
Four years ago, the ATF described the availability of illegal guns on the black market as “so readily available, the price on the black-market is just a few hundred higher than retail”. With increased use of dark and deep-net web use, the reality is simple: Individuals who are determined to get weapons that can hurt a lot of people are able to do so- be it grenades, explosive devices, or firearms.
Here is where it all ties together: the aggressors we are talking about are not “Reactive”. They are “Planners”.
If I install a metal detector and an 8-foot barbed wire fence around a school, what are the bad guys going to start planning for? A metal detector. And a barbed-wire fence. Will they be able to defeat those security measures if they really want to? They absolutely will. We have seen it, time and time again.
Gun control and CPTED (Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design) are hot topics right now (more on CPTED in our next article!). They both certainly matter and have an effect on violence in our neighborhoods. Time and energy should be spent on them. But neither are singular quick-fix solutions to the problem of violence.
At the end of the day, it is your preparation, situational awareness, and actionability that will be the dividing line between surviving the violent event or not. This is a personal decision, one we must all make, to face the reality of violence without fear and take steps to prepare ourselves for it.
Yes, stand and speak about the causes you care about. Research flaws in our legislation and justice system. Lobby to make our nation even safer than it is. But don’t forget that these things are only causes. A cause is driven by a greater value and that value is this: love one another to the best of your ability (Prevention!) and be ready to act when the time comes.
Ask the Experts
Q: Should teachers be allowed to carry guns in classrooms?
A: Listen to our team discuss this with KIRO radio here: TTA Radio Interview
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