This past weekend, a 52-year-old man went into a convenience store and two private residences in the little town of Arkabutla, MS, and before he was arrested, shot and killed five people, including his ex-wife.

              So far, the cops haven’t released any information about why this rampage occurred, except what we do know is that this kind of violence has never happened before the tiny town of Arkabutla, whose population is somewhere around 300 residents, give or take a few.

              On the other hand, this event appears to be at least the 73rd mass shooting in less than the 50 days that we are into for 2024, a mass shooting defined as four or more persons who wind up with a bullet in their bodies at the same time and in the same place.

              When informed of the massacre, President Biden immediately produced the usual ‘thoughts and prayers’ response, but then he added this: “Gun violence is an epidemic and Congress must act now.”

              Sorry Joe, but with all due respect, this time you’ve got it wrong. Gun violence isn’t an epidemic in the United States because epidemics come and epidemics go. What we have in the case of gun violence is an endemic situation, which doesn’t appear to be diminishing at all.

              I wish I could take credit for the idea of gun violence as constituting an ongoing and continuous activity in the United States, but I have to give credit where credit is due. In this case, the idea of 125,000 deaths and serious injuries from guns every year as being just a normal aspect of American life was first brilliantly described by our friend Katherine Kaufer Christoffel, in an article published in 2007 which you can access right here.

              In 2007, the year that Dr. Christoffel published her analysis of gun violence as an endemic health problem, the national gun violence rate per 100,000 Americans was 4.20. In 2020, the most current year for CDC numbers, the rate was 6.16, an increase of nearly 50%. The rate has been above the 2007 number every year since 2016, and from various media sources aggregated by the Gun Violence Archive, the rate has continued and increased even more over the last five years.

              In other words, what Joe described yesterday as being an ‘epidemic’ of gun violence, has now been going on for somewhere around the last 20 years. That’s no epidemic, folks. That’s the Americans way of life (and death.)

              In that respect, our good friend Nicholas Kristof has published a lengthy and detailed op-ed about gun violence in The (Failing) New York Times. The good news about this essay is that someone (Kristof) is finally making it clear that it’s not ‘guns’ per se that are used to commit gun violence, but certain kinds of guns, in particular, handguns designed only for the purpose of inflicting fatal injuries on people like you and me.

              Having finally put the issue in its proper perspective in terms of regulating the product in a more effective way, Kristof then slips back into the mainstream of gun-control narratives by defining the regulatory strategy as keeping guns out of the ‘wrong hands.’

              How do we do that? By implementing a licensing procedure which would be similar to “the sort of system that we routinely use in registering vehicles and licensing drivers to save lives from traffic deaths.”

              Kristof cites as an example of the workability of such a system the licensing process for gun ownership which exists in Massachusetts which “has one of the lowest gun mortality rates in the United States.” 

              I happen to be a Massachusetts resident and was pleased when the state enacted its very comprehensive gun licensing procedure in 1999, a process which not only includes comprehensive background checks, but also prohibits the sale of guns whose design doesn’t meet certain ‘child-proof’ standards, as well as requirements to keep all guns locked up at all times.

              There’s only one little problem with this law, if I can be so bold as to suggest that maybe our friend Nicholas Kristof and the NYT editorial board should perhaps rethink what they believe will reduce gun violence throughout the United States.  The fatal gun-violence rate in Massachusetts went up after the law was passed, not down. In 1999, the gun-violence rate was 1.1, in 2016 it was 1.3. That’s only an increase of slightly less than 20%; i.e., 89 dead bodies instead of 71.

              I don’t care what the numbers show, whether they go up or down. What I do know is that most of those 71 or 89 deaths happened because someone took out a small, bottom-loading, semi-automatic pistol, aimed it at himself or someone else and went – blam!

              Laws or no laws, that’s the reason we have gun violence, and I simply don’t understand why we continue to analyze the reason for this problem in any other way.

              So now we should take all those Glocks and Sigs and the other handguns and melt them down? THAT’S A VIOLATION OF THE 2nd AMENDMENT!

              Too goddamn bad.