Mazzuca: Gun control isn’t solution to mass shooting epidemic; it’s a more complicated problem (column) |

Mazzuca: Gun control isn’t solution to mass shooting epidemic; it’s a more complicated problem (column)

Butch Mazzuca
Butch Mazzuca |

Editor’s note: Find a cited version of this column at

If we’re to have a serious national conversation about gun control, then we must begin by debunking two of the most popular myths currently being perpetrated by many politicians and their media lapdogs — that mass shootings are far more common in the United States than in other Western countries, and that the cause is lack of gun control.

Let’s look at myth No. 1. After the Charleston, North Carolina, mass shooting, then-President Barack Obama said, “Let’s be clear: At some point, we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries.”

However, as Investor Business Daily points out, “A study of global mass-shooting incidents from 2009 to 2015 by the Crime Prevention Research Center, headed by economist John Lott, shows the U.S. doesn’t lead the world in mass shootings. In fact, it doesn’t even make the top 10, when measured by death rate per million population from mass public shootings.”

When we compare the frequency of mass public shootings in the United States versus Europe, we see that the United States actually ranks 12th in mass shooting with a rate of 0.078 mass shootings per million, behind nations such as Macedonia, 0.471 per million (six times the U.S. rate); Switzerland, 0.281 per million (3 1/2 times the U.S. rate); and Belgium, 0.179 (nearly 2 1/2 times the U.S. rate)

So while the rate of gun homicides is higher in America than in Europe (thank you, Chicago, St. Louis, New Orleans and Baltimore), our rate of mass shootings and mass shooting deaths per capita is far lower. At the same time, myth No. 2, “the cause is lack of gun control,” is unsupported conjecture.

After every gun-related tragedy, the voices calling for more gun control grow shriller. And while the desire for a quick-fix solution is understandable, we must temper that knee-jerk reaction because the easy answers aren’t necessarily the right answers.

The causes of these tragedies are multiple and complex and require multifaceted solutions, including a national discussion about the breakdown in what might be called the nation’s bourgeois culture.

Having a child out of wedlock (nearly 50 percent) is no longer taboo, a national drug problem including opioid abuse grows, homicidal violence in our inner cities remains unabated, schools reluctant or incapable of disciplining its students have become the norm and a general lack of respect for others are contributing factors to this problem.

Hollywood continues to crank out violence for the silver screen, and we see some of the most violent video games imaginable being advertised for impressionable young minds. And while our kids are immersed in Xbox violence, our grade and high school students rank far, far below those from many other countries. And let’s not forget the record industry rapping about “bitches and hoes.” One needn’t be a rocket scientist to realize that just maybe certain aspects of our coarsening culture are contributing factors to these tragedies.

And what about prevention? In the Parkland, Florida, shooting, we now learn the FBI was warned specifically about Nicholas Cruz not once, but twice — and did nothing. We also know the Broward County Sheriff’s deputies were called to the home of the Parkland shooter at least 39 times since 2010 and the Broward County Sheriff’s Office was warned multiple times.

Additionally, CNN reported four Broward County Deputies waited outside the school doing nothing while the children were massacred.

Personally, I see no need for anyone to own an AR-15. But that’s just one man’s opinion, and it doesn’t change the fact that more gun control isn’t the solution, it’s but one of many factors society must consider in addressing in a very serious and complicated problem.

Quote of the day: “If I had an hour to solve a problem, I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about solutions.” — Albert Einstein

Butch Mazzuca, of Edwards, can be reached at

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