I remember when I lived in Virginia, which was almost 20 years ago, I used to hear the noise of shots flying through the night, often. At that time Richmond was the murder capital of the US. I, the naive german adventurer, in my twenties, I never felt threatened. In Germany we did not have murder capitals. We still do not have them. Murder is not such a common thing over here.
I never even thought about what it might mean to live in a murder capital. If I was reflecting at all, it was on a pathetically immature emotional level. I felt I was living in one of those american movies or series I used to watch on german television and I loved it. I lived in an american movie, shotguns included, of course. I even drove my bicycle in the middle of the night through supposedly dangerous neighborhoods, which were really dangerous. People got killed there. Those neighborhoods were the ones I heard the shots coming from. They were one block away from my home. I knew that most murders happened among people who knew each other. I did not feel they would shoot a german girl bicycling past their house.
Some of my friends had guns. I never thought about it. I never felt fear. I knew that people often got shot by the guns they had at home to protect themselves. I was too scared to touch those guns though. I never did. I just looked at them. I am a total foreigner in the country of guns. I sat on my front porch, I drank my beer, I smoked my cigarettes, I read my books, I wrote my notes, I watched people and cars passing, I heard the shots, I felt like in a movie, in a foreign movie with subtitles in finish or some other language I could not understand in gun country.
But of course, nobody ever threatened me with a gun. I was lucky. Today I would shit my pants. I would have fantasies of me being the victim of a drive by shooting while sitting on my porch. I would fear to go to the gas station right on the corner to get new cigarettes because somebody with a gun might enter and shoot everybody. I am older and more paranoid now. I have children. I am paranoid mostly because I fear my children might loose their mother or father before they can stand on their own. The idea of loosing one of my children before I can stand on my own is just not thinkable. Again: my heart goes out. Loosing ones child through senseless violence I think might be the worst that can happen to you. I'd rather shoot myself right now right here then experience what those parents have to go through.
I saw a statistic today about how many people got killed by guns in 2012 in different countries. Germany is not that good, 200 got killed, so the idea of something like this happening here is not soooo far off, it could happen, definitely. It happens. But not as often. Hunters can have guns here. Among hunters you might find crazy people. Sometimes the children of hunters are crazy people and steal their fathers weapon and kill their former teachers and classmates. That has happened here.12 people got killed in Finland, sounds like a safe country. Finland also has a great school system. The language is difficult. So I might after all not move there. I am not a genius at learning languages.
30 people got killed in England, I would have guessed more.
Over 9.000 got killed in the US, in one year. I would have guessed less, more like 1.000. 9.000 are a lot of lifes taken. A lot of stories stopped in the middle never to be ended. This is like war. Like a heavy battle fought every year. It is a lot of negative energy for a poor little country to deal with. When every crazy person can get hold of a gun, a society lives in a constant state of war, in a constant state of fear, I believe. I believe it then might be difficult to relax, ever. I might be wrong.