I have followed the gun control correspondence with dismay. I hope nobody is under the misapprehension that a few tweaks like better gun purchase checks, closing some loopholes and clamping down on some fast fire gadgetry – all in themselves desirable – will somehow make a significant difference to America's national disgrace. While every gun death reduced is good, we are still not even in the right ballpark in dealing with the scale of the problem.
The reason Britain has negligible gun deaths compared to America is that gun ownership is very low, about 7 percent of America's figure, and guns are heavily regulated. As a result, there is no arms race between potential attacker and attacked and no arms race between criminal and police.
Most of the recent gun control proposals have been, frankly, marginal fiddling and a sop to our consciences. If enacted, they would barely inconvenience the NRA.
Without drastic reduction in the number of guns – by say 80 percent – alongside very tight gun type and use restrictions, we will continue to live in a country where deer get far better protection than humans and where daily slaughter of children and adults is normal.
Wringing our hands and pretending, almost weekly, that we are still trying to understand the reasons for this global anomaly – gun deaths at 45 times the UK – may make us feel better but it falls way short of solving the problem. If the number of guns is not drastically reduced then we had better just hunker down and get used to another century of this madness.
But please, let's not wring our hands and ask why it happens. We know the answer to that. Per hundred people, we have twice the number of guns in Yemen! We are armed as for a war zone.