My wife and I left Iowa some 20 years ago to see the world. We lived in France, Japan and the UK before returning to America last December. We settled our family in Ahwatukee so our children could be closer to their grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. But we are deeply troubled that something went very wrong in our country while we were away. We don’t want our kids to be gun violence victims.

Gun violence became some sort of ingrained “fact of American life” while we were away. It does not have to be that way.

Our experience living abroad showed us that democratic and freedom-loving people do not need heavily, privately armed communities to enjoy their lives, liberties and pursuits of happiness.

Facts clearly support our experience. The accompanying graph plots annual gun-related deaths against gun ownership for France, the UK and the U.S. Our country has nearly one privately owned gun per citizen and just more than 10 gun-related deaths (murders, suicides and accidents) per 100,000 people annually. France and the UK have much, much lower rates of gun ownership and gun violence. Japan cannot even usefully be added to this graph because all the numbers are essentially zero.

The sizes of the bubbles in the graph highlight perhaps the scariest part of this comparison. The bubbles represent relative gun homicide rates. The U.S. bubble (that is, our gun-related murder rate) is a shocking 20 times greater than France’s and a horrendous 90 times greater than the UK’s.

We never once thought at all about being shot in a London movie theater. Sadly, we do sometimes think about that here in Ahwatukee.

Kindergartners travel all by themselves on the subway system in Tokyo. Japanese mothers and fathers do not worry in the slightest about deranged gunmen with assault rifles mowing down their 6-year-olds at school. American moms and dads do not enjoy that wonderful freedom.

French news media has no daily litany of gun deaths. Gun violence is still a deeply shocking thing there at all levels of society … not local TV news filler before the weather and sports reports. Unhappily, we become more and more desensitized to our gun violence horror each day here, falsely believing that it is somehow “normal.”

France, Japan and the UK are of course imperfect democracies, but they have societies enviably free from gun violence.

Can’t we do more to save American lives and greatly reduce the threat of gun violence in our communities? Of course we can … the Brits, French and Japanese do already.

Can’t we take common sense legislative action like we used to after ghastly mass shootings occur? Of course we can … Brits successfully did after the Dunblane school massacre in 1996 and Australians did too after the Port Arthur massacre occurred in their country only weeks later.

America should be an inspiration to peer countries when it comes to freedom from gun violence, not a frightening cautionary tale. If you agree, please become active with groups in our community like AZ PASS, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense, and Americans for Responsible Solutions, to name just a few.

• Ahwatukee resident Bryan L. Brinkley is secretary of Arizona People Acting for a Safer Society (AZ PASS). For more information, visit www.azpass.org.

(8) comments

afnanalog
afnanalog

A perfect example of what has overwhelmed Ahwatukee (and the rest of the U.S. for that matter)... LOW-T

We are now a nation of pansies.

Chet
Chet

Afnanalog has elevated the discussion to the 5th grade level.

Hush now little child, the grownups are talking....

afnanalog
afnanalog

Chet doesn't dispute that he is a pansy... he just throws sand in the air to obfuscate.
The "civil rights" suit by GRIC residents proves my previous point about the 202 freeway.

Chet
Chet

What I did was point out that rather than add something intelligent to the conversation, afnanalog just calls people names. Big tough man on the internet.

Which I suppose is better than the time he said libs didn't like guns because gun owners would use libs for target practice. What a responsible gun owner!

Who raised you to talk to people that way?

The problem with name calling and threats, aside from it being childish, is that this is a neighborhood website. The person you feel so brave to name call is someone you live near.

I'm your neighbor, too, and if you run into me at the Circle K, say hi. I'm 6' 4" and 220 lbs, so I tend to stand out. I bet we could have a serious discussion without any name calling if it was face to face.

Threatening your neighbors and calling them names isn't very smart, Jim.

And now I'm done feeding the troll.

afnanalog
afnanalog

Chet is sidestepping my point and diverting the topic to name-calling.

WE HAVE BECOME A NATION OF PANSIES. Get into a fight with the rest of the world... withdraw and whine. We are doing it this very day, as Obama kisses up to Putin, while Putin doesn't even try to conceal his sneers.

Likewise Ahwatukee is about to have the Pecos alignment of Loop 202 shoved up their posterior orifice. Deny that if you can.

And I'm no longer your neighbor. I've moved to where the only thing outnumbering pick-em-up trucks is gun ownership.

And your braggadocio of 6'4", 220# ...your own attempt at threatening, only means you're a bigger target >:-}

Enjoy Loop 202 ;-)

Chet
Chet

Naming calling, threats, nothing intelligent to add to the conversation, and you don't even live here.

The very definition of an internet Troll. Bye.

afnanalog
afnanalog

No facts, no answers, just obfuscation... the standard leftist response mechanism.

6'4", 220#, but no testicular appendages.

Enjoy all the talk, and all the hand-waving... and Loop 202 >:-}

blbrinkley
blbrinkley

Chet, thanks for your contribution on this important topic. If you might be interested in being active locally to help educate our community about gun violence and ways we can act together to stop it, please get in touch through the AZ PASS website.

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