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In this blog I tend to stay clear of current affairs, but this item riles me enough to break the rule. In a 5:4 decision today, the US Supreme Court decreed that no lawmaker — at state, county, or municipal level — may prohibit citizens’ right to own and bear weapons for “self-defense” (as stipulated by the 2nd Amendment of the US Constitution).

Retiring Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens wrote in a 57-page dissent that the “consequences could prove far more destructive — quite literally — to our nation’s communities and to our constitutional structure.” Some 90 million people in America own an estimated 200 million guns. In 1999, there were 28,874 gun-related deaths in the United States: over 80 deaths every day.

source: Hoyert, D.L. et al. “Deaths: final data for 1999.” National Vital Statistics Reports. 2001;49 (8). image: SPIEGEL; additional


5 responses »

  1. I, too, was very disturbed to hear about this on the news last night. And I wonder what the consequences will be…

    • Thank you for writing, Barbara, and for causing me to look at my motivation for yesterday’s post. Kindly read Tuesday’s post.

  2. irene monroe

    sorry, I lost my original post… but to continue my rant….. I don’t trust the stats in this blog. There are currently approximately 310 million Americans; this blog says that 90 million of those (1 out of 3 American men, women, and children) own guns. I don’t think so. As a Canadian, an American, as as part of the Oneness with NO nationality, I find this post yet another sanctimonious American bashing “observation” that I thought we were moving beyond in our post-Obama euphoria. I lived in the States for over 35 years, and I knew of only a handful of people who owned guns; usually people (looking back on it now) who were rather marginal and isolated at that time. I would imagine the larger percentage of gun-totin’ Americans now are criminal and/or drug related, or PTSD military personnel living in fear. In any case, the consequences will probably be similar were the Supreme Court decision reversed; criminals will always find guns – legal or not; Supreme Court decision or not.

    • I didn’t read Peter’s words as America bashing at all, but as a skyward-looking question of sensible frustration: why on earth must we (as humans, not as citizens of this or that land) sanctify a right to own guns? That is not America bashing — it’s bashing the idea of gun ownership as a right. There is much to admire about American democracy, much that Canadians could learn from: no need for deference to the “crown,” to ensure and protect public dialogue on race and class continues, that protest and free speech is honoured, to name just a few. But we do know, statistically, that gun-related deaths and violence is higher south of the 49th parallel – it’s a fact, and I think we can say that this so-called right is part of the problem. No need to rant, it’s all dialogue and discussion, right? 🙂


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