Gun violence in US tramples on human rights

Xinhua | Updated: 2019-08-24 17:06
Demonstrators rally in San Francisco on Aug 17, calling for stricter gun control. LI JIANGUO/XINHUA

China Society for Human Rights Studies has published an article to highlight the long-lasting, unsolved problem

Recently, a number of deadly mass shootings have taken place in the United States, which have caused widespread concern in the United States and the international community. On August 3, 2019, El Paso shooter Patrick Krusius with an AK-47 rifle in hand went on a shooting spree in a busy Walmart store located in El Paso, Texas, killing 22 people and wounding more than 20. In the early morning of August 4, the Oregon District, a lively area full of bars, restaurants, and theaters in Dayton, Ohio, became a grisly crime scene, when the 24-year-old Caucasian Connor Betts shot at the pedestrians on the streets with an AR-15-style rifle loaded with 100 bullets, killing 9 people and wounding 27. These two mass shootings have once again exposed the grave consequences of the proliferation of guns in the United States. They have reflected the profound crisis in the US political and social systems and highlighted the United States' hypocrisy on human rights.

Part 1 The proliferation of guns and the serious problem of gun violence in the United States

The United States has the largest number of privately owned guns in the world, and this number, which is large already, is continuously increasing. In 2000, there were 259 million guns in private hands in the United States. By now, the number of privately owned guns in the United States has already exceeded the number of US residents. According to a Gallup survey conducted in 2011, 47 percent of US adults reported that they had guns, and in the southern United States, 54 percent of adults had guns. On the one hand, concerns about the threat of violence have led many US people to buy guns for self-protection. On the other hand, the proliferation of guns has increasingly become an important cause of violent crime. Since a large number of guns are privately held across the country, the United States has seen frequent shooting cases and an alarming number of shooting casualties. According to the 2014 report of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), because of the widespread school bullying phenomena, about 200,000 to 250,000 middle school students in the United States carried weapons to school, and according to statistics, 8.6 percent of the students who had been bullied before took weapons to school, and 4.6 percent of the students who had never been bullied also took weapons to school.

The proliferation of guns will inevitably lead to gun violence. The United States is the country with the most gun violence in the world. In 2018, a total of 57,103 gun cases occurred in the United States, resulting in 14,717 deaths and 28,172 injuries, including 3,502 deaths and injuries of minors. The Huffington Post website reported on December 6, 2018, that an analysis of official data on gun deaths from 2000 to 2016 in the United States found that gun violence caused the average life expectancy of people in the US to drop nearly 2.5 years, with African-Americans decreasing by 4.14 years. Recurrent shooting cases have caused a large number of casualties in the United States, and deadly mass shootings have already become a major threat to public safety. Gun violence has severely violated human rights in the United States, especially the US people's right to life.

Gun violence is a long-lasting unsolved problem in the United States. According to statistics, among the non-natural causes of death in the United States, shootings are the second-leading cause of death after traffic accidents, with an average of 15,000 people being shot every year. According to the Uniform Crime Report (UCR) released by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in the fall of 2016, in the United States, 71.5 percent of the murder cases, 40.8 percent of the robbery cases, and 24.2 percent of serious violent attacks have involved guns. Since 1972, in the United States, more than 80 people on average, including about 12 children, have been killed by gunshots per day. No other developed country has seen so many gun violence incidents occur within its borders as the United States has. At present, the US population accounts for only 5 percent of the world's population, yet 31 percent of the world's mass shooting incidents in public places have happened in this country.

Recurrent deadly shooting cases have become a hallmark feature of the United States. Serious shooting incidents in the United States frequently make headlines on different media around the world. The mass shootings that have happened in crowded public places, such as cinemas and schools, have often caused serious casualties. On the evening of October 1, 2017, the 64-year-old Caucasian Stephen Paddock indiscriminately fired rifle rounds from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas at more than 20,000 spectators at the outdoor concert downstairs. The shooting lasted for 10 to 15 minutes, killing nearly 60 people and injuring more than 500 people. This incident is by far the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history. After the incident, the police found 42 guns, thousands of bullets, and explosives in the shooter's hotel room and home.

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