Bioethics Blogs

Ethics & Gun Violence: ‘What is missing from the conversation is a willingness to address the moral implications of these actions & our reactions publicly’


By Robert Schmaltz

December 3, 2015, a BBC News headline reads “California Shooting: Just another day in the United States of America, another day of gunfire, panic, and fear.” By all measures this act of violence claiming the lives of at least fourteen persons, maiming over twenty bodies, and shattering the lives of countless others, constitutes another mass shooting spilling blood over the social fabric of these United States.

Undoubtedly, there will be a lot of frustration and fury expressed directly toward our elected public servants in the U.S. Congress and select lobby groups such as the National Rife Association, whose Executive Vice President will no doubt keep the resolve of all passionate gun rights advocates nationwide.

U.S. citizens are again left staggered and wanting a response from leadership that is somehow proportional to the pain inflicted by these travesties, best sought in the form of justice. Again, we will hear the human cry reflecting the desperate need for sensible gun control. A lot of numbers will be held up meant to reflect the number of mass shootings that have occurred this year alone, and how very rare these incidents are elsewhere in world.

To say that gun regulation laws are just fine as they are, given what it is we have come to live with as a national epidemic, does seem without a doubt tragically naïve. A matter of fact that is arguably worse for our collective conscious is something Ted Alcorn, a researcher for Everytown for Gun Safety, points out, “…it’s worth remembering that on average, 88 Americans die by gunfire every day, outstripping any mass shooting in our nation’s history” (emphasis added).

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.