As regular readers of this blog are well aware, I am especially disturbed by two aspects of American life: the deaths we suffer from firearms and our failure to avert the disasters caused by global warming.
The Gun Violence Archive reports that as of this morning, we have suffered 44,318 gun deaths in the U.S. this year. According to ABC News, “The United States has a gun violence epidemic, and it’s not one shared by its peers. The nation that by one estimate has more guns than people has the highest rate of firearm deaths compared with other high-income countries. Mass shootings, an all-too-common occurrence in the U.S., are also exceedingly rare in peer countries — where governments have often been quick to pass gun reform in the wake of such tragedies.”
The ill-effects of global warming are already upon us. Only if we move quickly will we be able to stave off the worst. The New York Times reports: “Nations have delayed curbing their fossil-fuel emissions for so long that they can no longer stop global warming from intensifying over the next 30 years, though there is still a short window to prevent the most harrowing future, a major new United Nations scientific report has concluded.
“Humans have already heated the planet by roughly 1.1 degrees Celsius, or 2 degrees Fahrenheit, since the 19th century, largely by burning coal, oil and gas for energy. And the consequences can be felt across the globe: This summer alone, blistering heat waves have killed hundreds of people in the United States and Canada, floods have devastated Germany and China, and wildfires have raged out of control in Siberia, Turkey and Greece.”
We Americans as a nation have within our power the means to lessen the two evils of gun deaths and global warming. But in our national wisdom, we have chosen to do nothing about our rate of killings by guns and too little about the rising heat on our planet. It’s probably fair to conclude that we deserve the damage we have inflicted upon ourselves.