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Imagine if money used on guns and weapons went to heal and save lives

Essentially, guns harm, kill and destroy, no matter who uses or has them, or whether they are used, because they divert funds.

 If they are used by soldiers in defending a country, guns are there to harm and destroy the other side.

 If they are used by the police, guns are there to destroy and kill criminals.

If criminals use guns, they may kill or harm whomever is in their way.

It does not matter which side has guns or if both have them, the main purpose of guns is to harm and to kill.

Perhaps some have them for sport, such as target practice or hunting, but statistics show that guns kill people.

According to the survey of the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, 406,496 people died as a result of firearms in the United States from 2001 to 2013. This includes all manner of deaths: homicides, accidents and suicides.

In contrast, CNN reported that 3,030 people died in terrorist incidents inside the U.S. from 2001 to 2013—in 9/11, the 2001 Anthrax attacks and other incidents. With the number of U.S. citizens who died overseas in terrorist acts, the total is 3,380.   Media focus on these numbers.

Since 2002, more than 30,000 people have died and more than 80,000 have been injured every year as a result of gun violence.  The population most affected by gun violence is youth and young adults aged 15 to 24 years old, according to the Office of Justice.

In a New York Times article, David Hemenway, director of the Harvard Injury Control Research Center, said, “Generally, if you live in a civilized society, more guns mean more death. There is no evidence that having more guns reduces crime.”

According to the Small Arms Survey, the United States has by far the highest level of gun ownership.

According to the Crime Prevention Center, “America has the highest gun homicide rate, and the highest number of guns per capita.” More than 77 percent of homicide victims aged from 15 to 17 died from gun-related injuries.

The figures do not include the impact of the cost of the guns and weapons held by the military, for which the government spends billions of dollars. The safety of the nation does not depend on how good our weapons are or on building more weapons.  More military weapons mean more threats to the country’s and the world’s safety. 

According to the The Hill website covering Congress and politics, the U.S. government has a $400 billion program to create a fleet of F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Jets.

With that money, the country could easily abolish homelessness, fund hospitals and provide quality health care for the nation.

What the U.S. spends on weapons would also be enough to fund school programs for our children, halt the decline of the middle class and relieve hundreds of thousands of student loan debts.

Imagine if the billions of dollars the government has spent on and set aside to build aircraft and other military weapons was used for scientists to develop cures for cancer, malaria and other diseases.

We would also be able to build more safe houses for former incarcerated people and save millions of lives.

Buying guns and building more military weapons does not increase our safety.

Terrorism is not the greatest national threat, but, rather, economic injustice, which leads to social crises and the fading of the middle class. Social and economic crises make people feel more afraid and threatened, which leads to an increase in crime and violence.

The continuing rise of violence builds more fear, anger and hatred, not less. 

That makes many people identify other people as enemies, rather than giving us the opportunity to reach out and discover each other as human beings made in God’s image.

Ikani Fakasiieiki - Contributing editor

Copyright © January 2016 - The Fig Tree