Monday, February 27, 2017

Fear of gun ownership vs. fear of Muslims

I've always been a bit confused about the fear of guns/gun ownership and the fear of Muslims. I can understand the fear on both sides of the spectrum and I understand those fears are valid. But lets look at the arguments on both sides...

More Democrats fear guns/gun ownership than Republicans. More Republican fear Muslims than Democrats. I don't see a reason to fear either. Let me explain a bit. Democrats (some Democrats. I know many Democrats who are big supporters of the 2nd Amendment) are afraid a person with a gun will use it to shoot people. Democrats feel if guns are controlled there will be less gun related crime committed. While they may be correct in many instances their logic is a bit off. According to a Harvard study 22% of Americans own guns. According to Politifact only 11% of Chicago inmates who used a gun in a crime bought the gun from a retail store. According to the article, 77% of people used guns from someone they knew or gained possession of the guns illegally. Each year there are approximately 12,000 gun homicides per year in the US. Keep in mind the US population is 318.9 million people. That's a lot of numbers, I know. Let me put it this way, only 0.0037% of the US population is killed in gun homicide every year. That's a pretty low number considering 22% of the US population are gun owners.

Now lets look at the Republican fear of Muslims. According to the PEW Research Center there are 3.3 Million Muslims in the US. That's around 1% of the total US population according to the study. Also according to PEW, there are 1.6 billion adherents to the Muslim religion worldwide that's around 23% of the total population of 7.4 billion. There was a study that polled 600 Muslims about various questions. It is troubling that around 20% of Muslim respondents said that the use of violence in the United States is justified in order to make shariah the law of the land in this country. Don't be afraid though, the broader survey found that a 63% majority of those sampled said that “the freedom to engage in expression that offends Muslims or anybody else is guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and cannot be restricted.”

The more troubling thing is that it is much harder to identify statistics of populations who are involved or support radical ideology in the Muslim community. It does seem the majority of radical supporters tend to live in less "westernized" countries. Even still, there seems to be a trend showing radical organizations are losing support in a number of countries across the Middle East. So at least that is some good news concerning Muslims and the fear of encountering a radicalized Muslim.

Now lets look at the numbers again I just pointed out. The US has a population of 318.9 million people. 20% of the 3.3 million Muslims in the US is approximately 600,000 people. So, 0.188% of the Muslim population in the US support violence to make shariah the law of the land. That is a much higher number of people who support violence to impose shariah law than people who die of gun violence in the US every year. Both numbers are very low when compared to the number of people who died from vehicles for 2015. There were 32,166 fatal motor vehicle crashes in the US in 2015 in which 35,092 deaths occurred. So, you have a greater chance of dying from a car accident than you do from a gun or from a radicalized Muslim. Basically, wear your seat-belt and don't worry about other things as much.

Now that we have gotten the statistics out of the way I will put in my two cents. The right to keep and bear arms is the 2nd Amendment. To say the 2nd Amendment only covers muskets is crazy. Muskets were the gun of choice and most readily available during the time the 2nd Amendment was written. Just like the quill was the most used writing instrument in the time the 1st Amendment was written. The 1st Amendment obviously covers what we write on the internet now as well. I'm not saying people should be allowed to own cannons or .50 caliber guns, but I think we should be allowed to own guns if we choose. Not grenades. Not RPGs. Not cannons or flamethrowers or claymore's. We should be allowed to own guns for self defense, hunting, and to fight against a tyrannical Government should the need arise. While I'm at it, I should add that I think people should be allowed to say what they want as long as they are not advocating for or supporting crime.

Now, for Muslims. I have been to Afghanistan and have Muslim friends here in the US. I have met Muslims who want to behead me and who are some of the most generous people I have ever met. My view on Muslims is, judge them by their individual merit and actions. Just Muslims...just like anyone is judged. Don't judge them by the actions of the ones who conduct and support terrorist activities. Just like gun owners do not want judged by the actions of the few lunatics who do harm people. Just don't judge people. And for the Christians out there, Matthew 7:1-3: "(1) Judge not, that ye be not judged. (2) For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. (3) And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?". Just don't judge people.

I'm quite sure this post will not resolve anything and will not prevent any arguments. But I hope this post will help people with misplaced fears and assist them in their arguments to support non-judgement. In the immortal words of The Dude "just abide, man".

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