I write in response to Mr. Robert Visel’s May 29 letter to the editor (link).
The rate of deaths due to gun violence in the US is 30 times greater than in Germany, more than 50 times greater than in the United Kingdom, and more than 90 times greater than in Japan. Easy access to guns in the United States is the most important factor explaining those differences.
Over 15,000 people in the US died as result of gun violence in 2017. This is almost 4 times more than the number of US military personnel killed in Iraq between 2003 and 2017. In fact, you now face a greater risk of dying from gun violence as a high school student in the US than a US soldier faces.
Most historians regard as specious the idea that if the Jews had been armed they could have prevented the holocaust. The Jews were a tiny fraction of the German population.
As history professor Alan Steinweiss said: “It is preposterous to argue that the possession of firearms would have enabled them to mount resistance against a systematic program of persecution implemented by a modern bureaucracy, enforced by a well-armed police state, and either supported or tolerated by the majority of the German population.”
Historical analysis would be better served if Americans did not mix their notion of “guns to stave off tyranny” with the factors associated with Hitler’s efforts to annihilate the Jews.