Los Angeles Times

American exceptionalism: Exceptionally violent, exceptionally angry and exceptionally irresponsible

  What's next, an attack on a Sunday School class?  Quick, put armed guards in all the churches! What about malls?  Do we want armed guards at every entrance?  Is this how we want to live?

  Americans are fond of saying our country is exceptional.  It's true: Twenty times more people are shot to death here than in any other country.  Ninety percent of children killed by gunfire are Americans.  Often they are doing something as innocent as going to school or watching the fireworks on New Years Eve.  About 30 people die from gunshots every day.  Is this how we want to be exceptional? 

We have many extremely powerful weapons, and we take the responsibility lightly.  Americans who are not particularly criminal or mentally disturbed think it's fun to shoot into the air to celebrate a holiday.  They mistake a fellow hunter for a deer. They think it is all right to kill someone's dog that annoyed them.  Too many hot-tempered Americans use their guns to settle disputes with neighbors, employers, co-workers or family members.  And thousands use guns to commit suicide each year.

 American children are going to spend their entire lives surrounded by guns, whether or not they choose to be gun owners.  They need to understand the power of these weapons and they need to know how to act responsibly around firearms.  They  need to thoroughly understand that in a split second the use of a gun can destroy the lives of both the victim and the shooter. 

Perhaps gun safety courses would be helpful. Anger management training would be helpful, too.  We have too much self-righteous anger, hostility and intolerance of others.  We could use more common sense, sense of responsibility and concern for other people.

Patricia Davis

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
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