There is another case in which Antonin Skeletor brought his baleful gaze to bear with predictably bad results. It was the 2008 Heller decision, properly called District of Columbia v. Heller, the one in which The Supreme Court, in a decision written by Scalia, declared for the first time in US history and in defiance of decades of precedent of the sort that people like him claim to adore that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to own a gun.
It was a thoroughly mendacious decision that not only ignored those precedents but engaged in precisely the sort of "living constitutionalism" Scalia claimed to abhor while completely wrenching the amendment into little pieces, first to claim that the whole passage about "a well regulated militia" was merely "prefatory" with no legal effect and second to split the phrase "keep and bear arms" into two unrelated parts, one about "keeping" and the other about "bearing" arms.
Which has lead, more or less directly, to our more recent experiences of white guys and a few equally white women walking around with semi-automatics slung over their shoulders and Glocks strapped to their hips, smirking about how no one can stop them because It's. Their. Right. (You know, surely, why I specified they are invariably white.)
Bear that in mind in considering a report by researchers from the University of Nevada-Reno and the Harvard School of Public Health which was recently published in the American Journal of Medicine. It used World Health Organization data to compare gun violence and murder rates across 23 developed (or "high-income," as they are also called) nations, including the US.
And the results are - well, I don't know if the right word is shocking or just depressing.
Among the findings are that Americans are twenty-five times more likely to be violently killed with a gun - murdered - than in those 22 other nations. We are six times more likely to be accidentally killed with a gun; eight times more likely to commit suicide using a gun; and overall ten times more likely to die by gun than residents of other developed nations.
Homicide is the second leading cause of death for Americans 15 to 24 and the third leading cause of death among those 25 to 34. Americans 15 to 24 are 49 times more likely to die from gun murder than similarly aged young people in other high-income nations; for those aged 25 to 34, the risk is 32 times greater.
Despite having only half the total population of the other nations studied, the US accounted for 82 percent of all firearm incidents. What's more, the US accounted for 90 percent of all women, 91 percent of children aged 0 to 14 years, and 92 percent of youth aged 15 to 24 years who were killed by guns either through murder, accident, or suicide.
Bottom line, in the words of lead author Erin Grinshteyn of the School of Community Health Science at the University of Nevada-Reno:
The US, which has the most firearms per capita in the world, suffers disproportionately from firearms compared with other high-income countries.Our guns, she added, are not protecting us. They are killing us.
By all that's decent and humane, how many more have to die before we as a people come to our senses?
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