But if they didn’t have their guns…

Black_ribbonThis is in English for the benefit of my non-Danish friends.

As a Dane, it is difficult to understand that any civilized country would be unable to stop horrific events, like that in Orlando a couple of days ago, from happening. And, though this one was more horrific than most, that “mass-shootings” are, on average, a daily occurrence, makes it even harder to understand.

I do not have a solution for the Americans to this problem; on how to prevent and stop this from happening again. As we are in a different cultural setup here in Denmark, we tend to focus on something that can be understood in a simplistic manner and offer a solution based on that. So of course we look to the guns…

And I think you will find that it is more complicated than that.

First of all, I reject the notion that more guns would somehow prevent these events, or at least enable someone to stop them while they are happening. Even small thought-experiments on this will fail and history shows that it has not worked reliably yet.

But second of all, removing the easy access to guns, access that we here must feel is bordering on the irresponsible, cannot be the whole answer.

I am not comfortable around guns, not even when carried by friendly police or military. I know that part of that is irrational but I would prefer the pressence of guns to be kept to a minimum.

Now, if we could actually explain the many gun-related killings by gun-prevalence only, the answer would be simple. But we cannot. Yes, USA appears to have more guns per capita than any other country (with about every third home having one or more guns, rifles etc.), but their number of gun-related killings per capita is not the highest, not even if you include suicides (which accounts for twice as many deaths than homicides). And it appears that when you look at individual states in USA, statistically, gun-related homicides coincide with non-gun-related homicides, rather than gun control (or, how easy it is to get guns and ammunition).

So, I do not have any simple solution to offer the Americans and I think that all simple solutions I have heard so far as too simple and naïve.


I have to add, paraphrased, something a friend once remarked. Some people had died in an big accident and I felt that it was tragic; it was a big media story, touching on many different levels, plus there were pictures available. My friend responded that he did not understand why we felt it so near to ourselves, when, for instance, thousands and thousands of miners died every year in for example China. Is that not a bigger tragedy?

And it is and I yet I still realize why attacks killing 50 in Orlando, or 130 in Paris, or 2 in Copenhagen, affect me more than the careless neglect of human lives in China does. But I do not know if there is a good reason.

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