I started thinking about this one in terms of personal experience but I have no rivals, none of whom I'm aware and I don't think anyone considers me their rival. I am singularly uncompetitive a B plus, a "P"s are degrees type but I remembered a song by Pearl Jam called Rival and then Glorified G came to mind . . both of which are protests about liberal gun ownership. Opportune since Kate herself had a scare when unable to contact a member of her family who was in Binghampton this week during the most recent shooting. Fortunately, all ended well for her, not so the poor victims of a rabid gunman. A man who would ordinarily have never picked up a weapon but found it so easy to obtain one and vent his wrath.
I've had many discussions with Americans regarding this issue. Mainly in a hope of understanding why gun control is such a tetchy subject in the US. I've talked both with those who are pro-control and those who are extremely anti. Sports shooters, competitive shooters, libertarians and peace activists. Some are for gun ownership, some staunchly against and from those who live in a country based on liberation by the bullet box I am not surprised. This is not a criticisms of my American friends. Indeed, I understand completely the constitutional 'right to bear arms' and the complexity of legislating against a population that largely embraces non regulation and libertarian policies but I don't understand gun ownership in the modern context, legal or otherwise. It has been many years since the need for a gun to conquer the west, we no longer need to circle the wagons.
I also understand that firmer gun control will not stop killings via illegal and unregistered firearms. Murderers will murder, militarists will take hostages and wackos are wacko even if their name isn't Jacko. However, over here, after Australia's only mass killing at Port Arthur, the Government instigated a 'gun buy-back' an amnesty for all illegal gun owners to cash in their chips, surrender their guns and be compensated for doing so. It worked pretty well. I'm not saying it prevented shootings, it didn't but we have nowhere near the ratio of gun deaths, accidental or otherwise that exists in the US.
I often wonder. Suppose the US sustained as many military deaths in warzones as they did in domestic shootings would the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan still be going? There have been 4,265 US deaths since the invasion of Iraq . . the latest fatality on April 5 this year. The closest stats I can find relating to domestic shootings are 29,569 in 2005. So I'm thinking they're conservative by today's standards.
The US leads the world in gun deaths per head of population. Murders and suicides and accidental deaths caused by guns, seconded only by Brasil and Mexico. Defenders of gun ownership will tell you that 50% of the gun deaths are suicides - Does this make them better? Does easy access to a weapon of self-destruction justify the end? The fact that someone who has easy access to a weapon which can end their life rather than hang on a bit, seek help, think twice, terrifies me! If I had a gun in the top drawer last time I felt overwhelmed and emotional, might I have grabbed it as an easy option?
I constantly hear people saying 'You won't change it', 'Too much water under the bridge', 'We have a right to carry a gun' or 'Mine's registered and locked away . .' and the gun lobby still protesting that it is their constitutional right to 'defend' themselves. Against what? Where does this paranoia come from? What is so terrifying for the average middle class American that they need a gun in their purse or glovebox? Guns didn't save anyone during the World Trade Centre atrocity. Guns were of no assistance to the victims of Virginia Tech or Columbine High School.
I could bombard you with statistics but you can Google those for yourself. My point, the gun has no rival when it comes to being an instrument of death whether suicide, accidental or pre-meditated, there is no place for these weapons outside sporting competition, feral animal control and war!
Although I originally thought the lyric was a Glorified Version of a Pelican . .