Periscope: Syrians Need Our Compassion, Too

By Streuli, Ted | THE JOURNAL RECORD, November 17, 2015 | Go to article overview

Periscope: Syrians Need Our Compassion, Too


Streuli, Ted, THE JOURNAL RECORD


Friday the 13th, local time. Terrorists strike multiple Paris targets, killing 129 and injuring hundreds. The date is not coincidental.

The previous day, a similar attack killed 40 in Beruit, but none of us washed our Facebook profile picture in the Lebanese flag. Nor did world media. We feel closer to the French, more western, more democratic. That sort of thing isn't supposed to happen in France, or Germany, or the United Kingdom, much less the U.S. We expect bombs to go off in Beruit. We have ever since the 1983 U.S. embassy bombing. But we don't expect it in Paris.

By Saturday morning a neighbor had turned it this way on Facebook: "Isn't it terrible what is going on in Paris tonight. They need our thoughts and prayers! Thank God, that unlike Europe, we have a constitutional right to bare arms to protect ourselves!"

The "bare arms" misspelling wasn't meant to be humorous, but the idea of working tank tops and camisoles into a 28th amendment is kind of funny.

Not funny: Donald Trump turning that idea into a campaign speech. Speaking in Knoxville, Tenneesee, Trump told supporters that if even 25 people had guns, "It would have been the shootout at the O.K. Corral." And somehow, Trump thinks, that would have been better. Worse: Exploiting that event at a campaign rally so people will cheer as you thump your chest with the Second Amendment. That, sir, is not at all presidential.

The idea that the right to carry personal firearms prevents terrorist attacks is imbecilic. Here's the data: In the United States, where gun laws are permissive, we have 88.8 guns per 100 people and a per capita homicide-by-firearm rate of 2.97 per 100,000. In France, which has restrictive gun laws, there are 31.2 guns per 100 people and the homicide-by-firearm rate is 0.06 per 100,000. Fewer guns equal fewer deaths, and those ratios bear out around the world. …

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