In America: Guns & Violence
Barry and I are on the road again.
At the beginning of March, we flew from Maui to St. Louis, MO, where much of my family lives. My nephew is getting married there in April, so we will join the family celebration. Before that event, we are taking a road trip to visit friends, family, high school and college friends, Servas hosts, and a newly discovered first cousin who lives in Boyton Beach, Florida. We are now in Plantation, Florida, visiting dear friends, Fran and Roy, whom we have known for many years. On our way, we have visited – among others – a Green Party Servas family in Memphis, TN, a Mennonite Servas family in rural Macon, MS, my terrific brother and his wife in Gainesville, and three of Barry’s high school friends from New York, who now live in Florida. . . . We have more great encounters ahead.
One of our stops along the way was in Memphis at the Iron Works Museum. What we learned there in the Guns, Violence, and Justice special exhibit – about guns and violence in the U.S. – shocked us.
Among many facts, we learned:
“Percent of Americans who say they have a gun in their home in 2014:
By race –
White 41%, Hispanic 20%, Black 19%
By environment –
Rural 51%, Urban 36%, Suburban 25%
By ideology –
Conservative 41%, Moderate 36%, Liberal 26%
Number of guns per 100 people by country:
U.S. – 88.8
Yemen – 54.8 [this is a war-torn country so citizens are likely to have guns, but the U.S. has more]
Switzerland – 45.7
Mass Shootings – since 1982 in the U.S. [when 4 or more people are killed in one incident]:
Total Mass Shootings – 84 Total Victims – 1,353
Type of Weapons Used in Mass Shootings:
Semi-automatic Handgun – 73
Rifle – 29
Revolver – 24
Shotgun – 23
Top Five Reasons Americans Own Guns:
60% – Personal Safety/Protection
36% – Hunting
13% – Recreation/Sport
8% – Target Practice
5% – Second Amendment rights
When I went to school in Southeast Missouri, a date could involve target practicing. Now I’ve been in Hawaii for many years. The low gun violence rate there is another reason to say, “Maui Nō Ka ʻOi” – Maui is the best.
“This group exhibition features artists using guns and gun references in their artwork to address issues impacting our lives. The works in Guns, Violence and Justice explore concepts of militia consciousness, individual and national accumulations of weapons, protection and aggression, recreation and justice. Several artists are examining their personal relationships with guns while others are engaging in a cultural critique in response to the increasing gun violence across the country.
Participating artists: Boris Bally | David Hess | Darryl Lauster | Bill Price | Stephen Saracino | Victor Hugo Zayas”
Gun Deaths – “33,636 people died from firearm related causes in the United States [in 2013]. 63% of firearm related deaths were suicide [my emphasis]. 33.3% were homicide and 3.7% were unintentional, undetermined, legal interventions or war.
Of those gun deaths in 2013: Male Female
Total White 25,044 21,116 3,928
Total Black 7,797 7,016 781
Total Hispanic 2,951 2,595 356
Total Asian or Pacific Islander 469 381 88
Total American Indian or Alaskan Native 326 281 45
Many of these facts (with sources) surprised me by not fitting into assumptions that I’ve made.
On the wall behind this artist’s piece of transformed guns: “In 1791, total estimated population of the U.S. – 3,929,214 at the same time total estimated firearms in U.S. – 118,629. In 2016, total estimated population of the U.S. 325,025,419 and total estimated firearms in U.S. 357,000,000.”
There are more guns in the U.S. than there are people! That’s ridiculous! The current administration has passed a bill that allows people who have a history of mental problems to buy guns!!! What’s wrong with us?
The exhibit presents gun facts and artists creations.
Besides the special gun exhibit, the museum also has metal pieces of beauty, humor, and whimsy.
Banner image: Loaded Menorah 2, 2016 – 925 silver, altered handguns, gun barrels and gun components (steel) (weapons courtesy of Goods for Guns Anti-Violence Coalition, City of Pittsburgh, PA – by Boris Bally
P.S. More information: in the Columbia, South Carolina April 2, 2017 paper, The State, p. 9A article by Lisa Marie Pane, “Once-booming gun industry recalibrating under Trump,” notes: “President Donald Trump promised to revive manufacturing in the United States, but there’s one once-burgeoning sector poised to shrink under his watch: the gun industry.
Fears of government limits on guns – some real, some perceived – led to a surge in demand during President Barack Obama’s tenure and manufacturers leaped to keep up. Over the decade ending in 2015, the number of U.S. companies licensed to make firearms jumped a whopping 362 percent. But sales are down and the bubble appears to be bursting with a staunch advocate for gun rights in the White House and Republicans ruling Congress.”
In this March 9, 2017, photo, a row of AR-15 style rifles manufactured by Daniel Defense sit in a vault at the company’s headquarters in Black Creek. Ga.
May all guns remain in their vaults.
Go to the Metal Museum when you are in Memphis. And let’s put guns to good use: transform them into art. Aloha, Renée