I really do not feel like reprising my talk from July about the Aurora shooting, or even the one from 2011 in the wake of the Tuscon shooting, to reflect the shooting today in Newtown, Connecticut. If you'd like to read either of them again, go right ahead and do so. Just replace the sickening thought of guns in a movie theater with the unspeakably sickening thought of guns in an elementary school and go from there. I'm not up today for making another long, impassioned diatribe that won't result in any good being done.
So let's take a different approach, and use some cold, hard numbers instead. I am of the mind that almost any issue can begin to be solved by analyzing what portion of the world is handling the issue the best, and then moving in their direction. So that said, here is the UN Global Study on Homicide for 2011. Here are the raw numbers for firearm-related death rate per 100,000 population, sortable by homicide, suicide and unintentional deaths. Knives, the general second choice for murder weapons worldwide, can have their numbers found here (sans per-capita rate), and even though they're not the issue at hand, the United States doesn't look good there either.
You go through the numbers, and you'll find Japan to be at or near the front of the class on curbing gun deaths. Which means, let's go have a look at what Japan is doing. Max Fisher of the Atlantic will lead you from there. And some of you are going to hate hearing this, but it starts with pretty much doing the exact opposite of everything the United States is doing.
You will also find South Korea in a prime position, which may come as a shock if you remember who their next-door neighbor is. Their national freedom is at much more acute risk than America's and has been for decades. And yet, for all the talk in America as to how 'criminals will always be able to get guns', in South Korea, they struggle to do so. For more on that, I direct you to UC-Davis professor Kyu Hyun Kim. For a second opinion that is presented in text format as opposed to audio, here's the blog 'Ask a Korean' tackling the question.