This morning, the press reports the killing of ten people in a mass shooting at a dance studio in Monterey Park, California. The leading news item in the papers reinforces the message of my latest book review, just published by the Washington Independent Review of Books, of Paul Auster’s Bloodbath Nation (Grove Press, 2023). You can read it at https://www.washingtonindependentreviewofbooks.com/bookreview/bloodbath-nation.
Bloodbath Nation is a brief book, less than 150 pages—of which 50 pages are photographs by Spencer Ostrander—laying out the statistics of gun deaths in the U.S. I open the review quoting the book that between 1968 and 2017, more than one and a half million Americans were killed by guns. From data I read in the daily newspapers, I’m sure those figures have gone up from 2018 on.
I am deeply disturbed that we Americans accept the gun death status quo without complaint. We allow to stand the Second Amendment to the Constitution which says, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” We interpret those words to mean that there will be no limit on the number of guns anyone can own. And in fact, the U.S. population has 393 million guns, more guns per 100 people, 120.5, than any other nation. We have twenty percent more guns than people. And each year, some 40,000 Americans are killed by guns.
It’s long since time that we Americans change our laws to reduce the number of guns and gun killings in our country. We can start by abolishing the Second Amendment. Then will come buy-back laws allowing us to pay gun owners to give up their weapons. Until we radically reduce the number of guns in the hands of our citizens, our number of gun deaths will remain as high as always.
It’s time to act.