You can come to expect two things from Univision anchor Jorge Ramos in the immediate aftermath of a mass shooting: an uneven gun-control segment on weekly political talker Al Punto, and an even more shrill column across Univision's platforms. We are not spared from either of these after Las Vegas.
The publication of Ramos' column, titled "Killing Is Easy", was timed to frame his Al Punto segment featuring Congressman Rubén Kihuen of Nevada, which we covered here. The main thrust of Ramos' column is that we should be more like Japan in severely restricting access to firearms, as seen below:
In 2015, 13,500 people died after being shot in the U.S. In the same year, only one person was shot dead in Japan, according to a report quoted by The Washington Post. Only one!
Why the huge difference? Perhaps because in Japan, it’s very difficult to obtain a firearm. There, killing with a gun is not easy — fewer than 1 in 100 Japanese residents own one.
Earlier this year, the BBC chronicled the steps that Japanese citizens must take before buying a gun. In addition to taking classes on firearm use, they must pass a written exam and a shooting-range test with a mark of at least 95%, pass a police background check and have no connections to any extremist groups (relatives and work colleagues will be checked as well). Licenses are valid for three years, then gun owners must submit to this process again.
Japan provides a good example of how gun-related homicides can be reduced dramatically if access to firearms is restricted. Why can’t we do it in the United States? Americans’ Second Amendment rights can be protected, but so can the lives of other people. This necessary balance is now broken, and shootings have become a dreadfully common occurrence.
Japan is, both figuratively, and literally, a safe space for Jorge Ramos. Immediately after the 2016 U.S. presidential election, Ramos sojourned to the Land of the Rising Sun - and regaled us with a hectoring column thereafter. Japan is also Ramos' favorite go-to when comparing America against other countries for the sake of arguing in favor of increased gun control.
Ramos marvels at the fact that there was one gun death in Japan in 2015, as if to cheer its near-total ban on private firearm ownership. But Ramos omits the fact that Japan's suicide rate is much higher than that of the United States (where suicide accounts for a disproportionate percentage of gun deaths).
There are other very important differences that Ramos glosses over while in the process of selling the idea of Japan as superior for having a gun ban in place. For example, there are very serious concerns about the lack of true freedom of press in Japan, about which we haven't heard so much as a peep from Ramos.
See, whenever Ramos calls for repeal of the Second Amendment, he never mentions which of the other Amendments within the Bill of Rights he'd like to see stripped out. Japan doesn't have a Second Amendment, but it doesn't have a Fourth, either, which led to this, per the Japan Times:
In 2011, a 42-year-old Tokyo man was taken to Shinjuku Police Station. There, officers removed his shoes and clothes — without his consent or a court warrant — so they could carry out a urine test.
Ramos should take that into account when raving about other countries as he mindlessly lobbies for the curtailment of our constitutional freedoms - but I won't hold my breath.
P.S: Ramos' Spanish-language columns usually feature some P.S. non-sequitur at the end which usually doesn't make it into the English-language translation. His side remark on Puerto Rico did, however- cementing my theory that his interest in the aftermath of Hurricane María is directly proportional to its expediency as a political football.