Stephen Lendman is a writer, syndicated columnist, activist, News TV personality, and radio show host. He currently writes for and and hosts, since 2007, a progressive radio show at The Progressive Radio News Hour on The Progressive Radio Network.

Stephen Lendman was born in 1934 in Boston, MA, raised in a modest middle income family, attended public schools, received a Harvard BA in 1956 and a Wharton MBA in 1960. After six years as a marketing research analyst, Lendman became part of a new small family business in 1967, remaining there until retiring in 1999.

Since then, he has devoted his time to progressive causes, extensive reading, and since summer 2005 writing on vital world and national topics, including war and peace, American imperialism, corporate dominance, political persecutions, and a range of other social, economic and political issues.

He is also author of the celebrated books "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity" and "How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War".

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Gun Violence in America

by Stephen Lendman


US civilian gun ownership is the highest worldwide. Yemen ranks second. America doubles the Yemeni level.

Gun related violence follows. In America it’s endemic. In Chicago alone, gun-related deaths exceed one a day. More Chicagoans are shot and killed than US forces in Afghanistan by any means.

Gun ownership makes it simple as ready, aim, fire. It lowers the threshold between anger and homicide. Proliferation in society leaves everyone vulnerable.

On Friday, 28 Sandy Hook Elementary School Newtown, CT children and teachers were murdered. A heavily armed 20-year old man used semiautomatic pistols and a semiautomatic rifle.

It was the third deadliest gun-related massacre in US history.

The second worst occurred on Blacksburg, VA Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University’s campus. On April 16, 2007, 33 students and teachers were shot and killed. Others were wounded.

In January 1923, shootings and other violence killed 150 Rosewood, FL Blacks. No convictions followed.

Governor lawton Chiles (1991 – 1998) later called what happened a “blind act of bigotry.” In 2004, Florida declared Rosewood a state Heritage Landmark. Survivors of dead victims are unforgiving.

Numerous other gun-related lesser scale massacres pockmark US history. The right to own, conceal, and use assault and other deadly weapons is an ugly America tradition. It’s long past time it ended.

On November 18, 2012, the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence said “epidemic levels of gun violence (claim) over 30,000 lives annually.” US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data document it.

Every gun-related death leaves two others wounded. Every year, about 100,000 Americans are gun violence victims. Countless others are irreparably harmed. Nothing whatever is done to curb or prevent what’s shocking and intolerable.

The 1968 Gun Control Act fell woefully short. Federal regulation enacted was weak and ineffective. Gun manufacturers supported the measure.

It prohibits interstate firearms transfers except among licensed manufacturers, dealers and importers. It did nothing to curb gun proliferation across America.

In 1982, a Senate Judiciary Committee report claimed “the second amendment to our Constitution was intended as an individual right of the American citizen to keep and carry arms in a peaceful manner, for the protection of himself, his family, and his freedoms.”

Ignored was that so called individual rights violate those of most others. Death or injury by gun violence in American exceeds vulnerability anywhere else and then some.

US communities are unsafe. Police on routine street or traffic patrol wear bulletproof vests for protection. At one time, it was unheard of. Today it’s standard practice.

Gun violence touches every segment of society. It happens on streets, in homes, at work, in schools, numerous other places, and by self-inflicted shootings.

Major incidents like Virginia Tech and Norwalk, CT make headlines. Thousands of other shootings go unnoticed.

CDC calls firearm deaths “an important public health concern.” Congress dismisses it. Vulnerability to domestic gun-related death or injury exceeds some US war theaters.

Instead of shocking politicians to act, they support the virtual unrestricted right to bear arms. Automatic ones are prohibited. They’re easily obtained, nonetheless. Powerful semi-automatic assault ones are freely bought and sold. lists numerous ones for sale. They include AK-47 (Kalashnikov) assault rifles, AR-15/M16 type rifles, Uzi assault weapons, LWRC M6A2s (called the most modern carbine rifle in the world), and various others with considerable firepower.

Progressive jurists and others take issue with modern-day Second Amendment interpretation. It states:

“A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

Journalist/historian Garry Wills calls supportive Second Amendment views muddled and tendentious. Their arguments replicate insurrectionist ones.

“Only madmen, one would think, can suppose that militias have a constitutional right to levy war against the United States, which is treason by constitutional definition.”

“Yet the body of writers who proclaim themselves at the scholarly center of the Second Amendment’s interpretation say that a well-regulated body authorized by the government is intended to train itself for action against the government.”

He added that “Perhaps it is the quality of their arguments that makes them hard to take seriously.”

In 2008, a District of Columbia v. Heller Supreme Court amicus curiae submitted by 15 prominent academics and writers concluded as follows:

“Historians are often asked what the Founders would think about various aspects of contemporary life. Such questions can be tricky to answer.”

“But as historians of the Revolutionary era we are confident at least of this: that the authors of the Second Amendment would be flabbergasted to learn that in endorsing the republican principle of a well-regulated militia, they were also precluding restrictions on such potentially dangerous property as firearms, which governments had always regulated when there was ‘real danger of public injury from individuals.’ ”

Law Professor David C. Williams says Second Amendment interpretation reflects myths about America. The framers believed in unity, he said.

Modern interpreters endorse distrust and disunity, he believes. The Second Amendment guarantees individuals the right to bear arms only as part of a united and consensual people, he stresses.

Obtaining guns today is almost as easy as buying toothpaste. America’s framers had no such intention in mind. Constitutional reinventionists decided they knew best.

Modern US culture is violent. Gun ownership bears much responsibility. Violent films are some of the most popular. So are similar video games and music. Lyrics glorify guns, rape and murder.

US society is called a “rape culture” for good reason. Sometime during their lives, one-fourth of adult women are victimized by forcible rape. Often it’s by someone they know. Family members share guilt.

One in four women report being sexually molested in childhood. Repeat violations over extended periods are commonplace. Three-fourth of US women experience some form of extreme violence in their lifetimes.

Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury. It’s the second leading cause of death. Guns play a leading role. Children, like adults, are harmed.

What kind of country facilitates endemic violence instead of acting responsibly to curb it? What kind of government endorses easy access to dangerous assault and other deadly weapons instead of prohibiting it?

Against this backdrop, no wonder massacres like Norwalk, CT, Virginia Tech, Columbine High School, Atlanta, GA stock trader killings, six by a lone Fort Worth gunman, 10 Washington, DC sniper shootings, a Carnation, WA Christmas eve massacre, Northern IL University killings, 13 more at Ft. Hood, the Tuscon, AR incident killing six and leaving Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords seriously wounded, as well as dozens more incidents too numerous to mention.

No wonder domestic violence is out-of-control. Lone gunmen incidents reflect ingrained values. So does America’s history. It’s notably harsh against dissidents, labor, minorities, street protesters, ethnic and religious groups, as well as others targeted.

Most one-on-one incidents pass without notice. US history is sanitized to forget what’s too monstrous to remember. Native Americans were nearly slaughtered to extinction.

Black slaves endured whippings, other beatings, rapes, mutilations, forced family separations, and even amputations as punishment for runaways.

Jim Crow America endorsed white supremacy. Forced segregation still exists. Latinos, Muslims, and other disadvantaged people face state-sponsored repression.

America is the only industrialized country negligent for having failed to address gun violence responsibly.

On average, eight times more fatalities result than in other developed countries. For children under 15, it’s 12 times higher.

Few federal gun laws exist. Ones enacted are pockmarked with loopholes. Some states make guns as simple to buy as blueberry pie. Many others aren’t far behind.

Anyone get obtain dangerous semi-automatic weapons able to claim multiple victims in seconds. Some US communities are near-war zones.

Economic duress makes violent crime more likely. Many people fear going out at night. Some do in daylight.

In the 1990s, murders happened every 22 minutes, rapes every five minutes, robberies every 49 seconds, and burglaries every 10 seconds. Given today’s hard times, it’s likely these numbers are much higher.

In 2010, the FBI reported 1,246,248 violent crimes and another 9,082,887 nonviolent ones. In 2011, violent crime jumped 18%.

Numbers vary year by year, but grand totals compared to other industrialized nations explain best. Violence in America is endemic.

Death or injury from guns is out-of-control. Government officials able to act responsibly abstain. In September 2008, Obama said “I’m not going to take away your guns.”

Last July, White House spokesman Jay Carney said:

“The president believes we need to take common sense measures that protect the Second Amendment rights of Americans while ensuring that those who should not have guns under existing laws do not get them.”

He kept his promise on ownership. He spurned gun control advocates. He signed measures permitting guns in national parks and on Amtrak.

He did nothing to ban assault weapons. He allows gun show loopholes. Convicted violent felons can easily buy weapons there with no ID. So can anyone able to afford them.

Political Washington facilitates gun ownership. Neither party supports curbing gun-related homicides and injuries. They prefer gun lobby cash to safe streets and communities.

Don’t expect either party to change gun policy. They support wrong over right across the board. They do it with impunity. No wonder America threatens humanity at home and abroad. Rogue leaders made planet earth unsafe to live on.

About the Author: Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at

His new book is titled “How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War”

Visit his blog site at and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.


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Posted by on December 16, 2012, With 2094 Reads Filed under Americas, World. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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16 Responses to "Gun Violence in America"

  1. daquamarine  December 18, 2012 at 11:39 am

    Stephen has revealed himself as tone deaf and out of touch here. I was on the fence about him, he seemed to be a decent fellow. Perhaps he is and just misguided. There are honest fools who carry water for an agenda without being aware of it.

  2. Markus  December 17, 2012 at 9:13 pm

    Stephen has also made a swing and a miss on this one. You do not understand the US Consitition framers’ reasons for the 2nd amendment. Only Roland got it right!!

    It is the combination of widespread incessant exposure to violence through the media, electronic gaming and news, mixed with powerful psychotropic drugs that is primarily the cause of such violent shootings.

    People need to discern WHO is administering these highly destructive policies and WHY. Many Americans are coming to the conclusion that our government is not to be trusted. Indeed, when such violence in a society is cultivated by the government and private industry, there is more reason than ever for Americans to arm themselves. When once again the fascist elite have taken control of another nation, it is the responsibility of the citizens to defend the liberties our forefathers fought and died for. And that is exactly what is happening.

    The founding fathers knew this would probably happen to America. The writings of Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and other presidents both warned us of the ‘European Money Powers’ and foresaw a day when these corrupt forces would seize control of America. They had just fought a war against a tyrannical government controlled by the wealthy banking families. It was as insurance against their future seizure of America that the right to bear arms by the people was considered so important. It is means for a ‘last stand’ against enemy within.

    Contrary to the disinformation in recent VT articles, Americans cannot own machine guns, bazookas or bombs. But there can be no more restrictions on firearms including semi-automatic assault weapons. Leaving Americans with handguns for home protection and hunting rifles is clearly not what these wise framers of the constitution had in mind.

    The truth is, those running our corrupted government clearly don’t care for Americans any more than they do the other peoples worldwide who have been victims of our relentless war-making. Increasingly Americans are waking up to this fact. Knowing little else to do, they are buying guns. They are the true patriots. All others are ignorant fools or willing tools.

  3. tonyboyer  December 17, 2012 at 10:17 am

    Avatar, if your head wasn’t stuck all the way up your ass you would realize that the right to keep and bear arms is in the American Constitution, and those who wish to disarm Americans are thus un-American. Duh.

  4. tonyboyer  December 17, 2012 at 10:15 am

    Well said, Warner. Lendman lives in Chicago and should damn well know better. Because of gun control, crime in Chicago is sky high; the criminals know the sheeple are unarmed. Shame on Stephen Lendman for carrying water for the fascist gun control agenda.

  5. haroldsmith  December 16, 2012 at 7:33 pm

    First, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but an immoral, completely out-of-control, totally unaccountable “government”, i.e., the ruling elite of our lawless banana republic, who regularly visit senseless death and destruction on innocent people all over the world, cannot possibly “address [domestic] gun violence responsibly”.

    In other words, you cannot expect morally incompetent people to solve a moral crisis any more than you could expect a blind person to lead you out of the woods, can you? Let’s face it, the only thing Lanza did wrong – by our perverse Masters’ long-established empirical standards – was to commit the senseless atrocity in the wrong locale. If he had done the same thing in Afghanistan or Pakistan or Libya or Syria or Gaza, I don’t think we’d have seen crocodile tears from “Obama”, do you?

    Lastly, let me say this: Personally, I despise guns and I wish they were never invented. I want to see REAL “gun control”; i.e., I want every single gun banned…not just mine and yours, but I want the police disarmed as well as the military. There is no logical argument that our Masters can make that I shouldn’t have a gun but they should. Either none of us have weapons, e.g., guns, nukes, chemical and biological weapons, etc., (which I would prefer), or all of us have the weapons; anything else is completely immoral. What’s wrong, you can’t do it? Didn’t think so. Then shut up about gun control and give me a gun.

    • DaveE  December 17, 2012 at 5:32 am

      I hate guns too, but I’ve got more than a few because that’s the only solution to live in the police state known as Amerika. Taking our guns away is no different than Stalin’s thugs taking seeds and farming equipment from the peasants. Taking away our means of self defense is the same as taking away our means of nutrition, only a little quicker.

      That’s been the Chosen Plan for a long time.

  6. duay khwaam nap theuu  December 16, 2012 at 2:08 pm


  7. wolf  December 16, 2012 at 12:57 pm

    What we have here is not a gun problem, but an out of control pharmaceutical industry that inflicts autism on children with excessive (and sometimes useless) vaccinations for profit, then instead of ceasing the vaccinations to stop autism, simply views autism as yet another opportunity for profit, and sells more medications to the kids, then covers up the fact that these autism medications, mostly SSRIs, are triggering otherwise inexplicable acts of extreme violence.

    We know Adam Lanza was autistic and likely being treated with SSRIs. The next question is whether the “Dark Knight” shooter and the man at the Portland Shopping Mall were also on these types of drugs. And we must do the investigative work ourselves, because the agenda of the government is to blame guns and the agenda of the corporate media is not to anger pharmaceutical companies and risk losing those lucrative advertising contracts.

    (from an article at ****

    • Moche  December 16, 2012 at 2:16 pm

      Many, many more Americans are killed with cars then guns. Should cars be banned too?

  8. shachalnur  December 16, 2012 at 12:36 pm

    The 2nd amendment is all about the ability of the US population to be able to defend itself against a Government trying to enslave them,by taking away their guns.
    About 100.000 americans die every year from medical mistakes,wrongly prescribed medication,and side effects.
    That’s hundreds a day
    Time to outlaw medication?
    Anybody calling for guncontrol now ,is either having a very suspect agenda,or doesn’t understand what we’re up against.

    • blakehamilton  December 16, 2012 at 12:57 pm

      Well exactly wasnt LIEberman calling for it recently? Guess where he was the Governor of.

    • shachalnur  December 16, 2012 at 6:43 pm

      I wish we were living in a perfect world,where people live in peace ,and the governments are there to make sure people can exercise their freedom without damaging others.
      What we’re dealing with, is governments in US and Europe that seem to think they can lie to,bully and ultimately enslave their populations.
      That’s why I said,”Anybody calling for gun control NOW”

      Soon it will become clear that this was another dubious story,or an outright false flag.
      The calls from Murdoch,Democrats and the MSM to ban guns ,because of this tragedy,was predictable and hopefully Obama won’t dare to think about implementing these ideas.
      Therefore ,anybody calling for gun control after a shooting ,which usually are false flags,is suspect because you’re pushing an agenda that would lead to disarming the population,something many Americans will refuse.
      Now is not the time to disarm the people,the governments earned our complete distrust.

  9. blakehamilton  December 16, 2012 at 11:57 am

    Never understood the love of guns myself. However one must remember guns don’t kill, people do.

  10. blakehamilton  December 16, 2012 at 11:56 am

    Never understood the loves of guns myself. However one must remember guns don’t kill, people do.

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