Reality Check: America's gun violence - a cultural history lesson
(PHOTO: FOX19 File)
This week is a somber anniversary for families in northeast Ohio. It was three-years-ago this Friday that five students were gunned down inside the cafeteria at Chardon High School. Three of those students; Demetrius Hewlin, Russell King Jr and Daniel Parmertor died at the hands of a lone gunman, a 17-year-old Thomas Lane III.
Since that senseless tragedy not a single gun control bill has passed here in Ohio. In fact, in December of 2014 Gov. Kasich signed House Bill 234 into law. A comprehensive pro-gun legislation that now makes it easier for Ohioans to carry concealed weapons in the Buckeye State.
While gun control advocates can blame tragedies at Chardon and other schools across the country on the usual suspects--the NRA, the Republican Party, and 2nd amendment supporters, Craig Collins the author of 'Thunder In The Mountains-A Portrait of American Gun Culture' (Lyons Press 2014), said that random gun violence in America is the direct result of a cultural shift that began soon after the Civil War when gun manufacturers began mass producing affordable firearms for consumers.
According to Collins, it was predominantly men who bought those guns and it was men who carried them west.
"There is a strong sense in America of people being self-sufficient of men versus nature--men versus men--having a gun was a rite of passage," said Collins.
A rite of passage that includes women, although today it's mostly men who are pulling the trigger. According to the Centers for Disease Control, there are approximately 117,000 gun casualties in the United States annually with more than 32 thousand deaths and 84 thousand injuries. 97 percent of all gun casualties involve a male as either the shooter or the victim while 98 percent of all school shooters are male.
"When you add up all the numbers American males over the age of 13 have a greater chance of dying from a gunshot than they do from prostate cancer so this is a huge male-centric problem and it won't be solved unless we address it," added Collins.
Solving Collins' “male-centric” problem is easier said than done. A recent Gallup poll finds that gender alone is the strongest predictor of gun ownership in America, with men five times more likely to own a firearm than women. Further proof that gun violence in America is largely a guy thing.