Less than two weeks after the massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, former Talking Heads frontman David Byrne penned an impassioned essay in support of gun control entitled “Guns Are About Freedom: Our Freedom to Live,” arguing that despite the grim statistics, the situation is not hopeless.
“No matter what some of my friends seem to imply, I firmly believe we can have gun control and reduce gun violence in this country. Allow me to be optimistic. At this point, any cause for hope is worth considering,” wrote Byrne, who made it clear that he’s for gun control in the follow-up to a recent post urging Americans to vote. “I believe the situation in the U.S. is unacceptable; more controls are necessary, and there is proof that they can work. Just look at the data. There is a staggering split in U.S. gun deaths and gun deaths in a host of other countries.”
The essay — penned on the same day Republicans in Congress sent two Democrat-proposed gun control measures to defeat and Democrats did the same to Republican measures they said were too weak — cited a New York Times article that found that being killed by a gun in Germany is as common as being killed by a falling object in the U.S. And that gun homicides in Iceland are as common as deaths from electrocution in the U.S.
“We ware at war here,” he wrote, citing statistics about gun violence in America that found that more people die of violent gun-related deaths in Chicago than American soldiers in Afghanistan. “Some of the recent reaction to Orlando was about urging peace, love and toleration, and though that might help, everyone gets mad sometimes. If a conflict can be too easily resolved — whether in a fit of rage or mental instability — by firearms, then our current situation becomes inevitable. The temptation is too great, our self control is limited… errors, mistakes, and stupidity happen.”
Byrne’s essay went on to compare the strict weapons bans in other countries to the more lax laws in the U.S., asking why our nation can’t be like the others while pointing out a few groups who are working for a change. “I think reframing the gun issue as a public health issue — as well as an issue of our right, and our freedom, to live without a constant threat of violence — is the way to go in convincing our lawmakers, and more crucially our neighbors and our nation, to act on this issue,” he wrote.
“The public feeling is already there: Everyone should not have the right to risk everyone else’s life and take away the freedom of others. We have countered these arguments before, from slavery to seat belts to smoking, and we can do it again. We’re better than this.”
To read Byrne’s full essay, click here.