Recently, I wrote about the cult of coffee in Italy. Well, there is also a sort of cult here in America too. Every morning I see people at Starbuck’s working on their computers or chatting with friends while sipping their cappuccinos. Or I see commuters going to work carrying gigantic cups of their favorite brew. It seems like there’s a Starbuck’s at every corner.
Not really. Here are some eye-opening statistics that I read in La Repubblica after the massacre in Orlando. On the streets of America, it is easier to find a retailer of guns than a coffee shop. The ratio is 6:1. For examples, there are 11,000 Starbucks compared to 65,000 stores that in 2015 sold firearms. In the United States there are more weapons in circulation (357 million) than inhabitants (a population of about 319 million).
Does a relationship exist between the possession of guns and violence from firearms? Joshua Tewksbury, a professor at the University of Washington, studied this issue. He compared 75 countries, and there did not seem to be a correlation. The United States was better than countries like El Salvador, Jamaica, and Swaziland. Interesting. But when he limited the data to countries similar to the United States (on many variables), the picture changed radically. By a long shot, Americans possess guns and turn them on other people (see www.tewksburylab.org).
It’s not possible to prevent every tragedy through gun control laws. But this is not the point. We can reduce the risk, and reduce it through reducing access to firearms.