How many people have been killed in the US by guns since Newtown? At the point of writing this post: 2, 519. What does this mean in terms of years or decades into the future?
The proliferation of guns is only one part of the main story here. Really it tells of social despair and nihilism.
When "let them eat cake" was attributed to Marie Antoinette it remained as an example of contempt for the public, the majority of whom were poor. Although there is no proof that Marie said those words, it reveals the power of words, of what they represent to the people. It reveals an attitude among the ruling elite that sees commoners as a nuisance, like mice, rats or rabbits. Something to trap and get rid of or turn into a resource, like factory workers or rabbit stew.
Since the 1700's we have survived cultures who taught that everyone who was not white, not male, not protestant, not rich - as the other, the enemy, the stranger. Perhaps at one time violence was just violence but somewhere along the way we attempted to idealize our own and demonize the other to maintain a choreographed and predictable future. But instead of creating peace we find ourselves in chaos.
Some of our species, we might call a ruling elite, such as the heads of church, state and business, are attempting to maintain the status quo by keeping the masses economically powerless. However this is the messiest, most violent and chaotic way. The countries that most eagerly embraced communism, the troubles or the Arab Spring, were those where the gap between the haves and have-nots were the greatest. The populations where there is no equality between genders and races, where marginalization is ritualized throughout the land and narrative, find they have no choice but to rebel, to seek revolution.
When power is centralized to a few, then power-over or hegemony is the way the unreflective choose to feel safe. They demand guns for the institutions in place to serve them; weapons of mass destruction against other nations; ideologies that create more, not less fear; gated communities; inhumane immigration policies; private health and private schools; larger more brutalized prisons; and routine torture. Centralized power creates war as a means to keep the focus on the other-other so the masses will not have time to see how they are being robbed.
Right now the planet has been purchased, if not legally, then by propaganda. The governments, the leaders, the laws, and the fifth estate have abandoned the future in favour of a false sense of power, because all over the world civil society with its freedom and responsibility is being systematically destroyed.
What we have to look forward to, if we don't engage with this theft, is one of incremental suicide. Society is not status, not communism, not a shopping mall, and not celebrity. Society is the way our species survives by caring for one another and by creating systems that celebrate the creative community. Society is about the love of humanity and the opportunity for our evolution.
This is not idealism. It is a re-direction from the glorification of violence (which is the first gate of terrorism) to the masses estranged from their own capacities through uncertainty and fear.
When ordinary people believe that they must carry a personal weapons to protect themselves, it is because they have not experienced the protection of justice and freedom, no matter how many times the words are trotted out. Without justice and freedom life is not worth living.