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You know about mass shootings, of course, but a review is useful, so have a look at the partial list below.
DATE LOCATION PEOPLE KILLED PEOPLE INJURED
Oct 1, 2015 Roseburg, OR 10 10
Jun 18, 2015 Charlston, SC 9 0
May 23, 2015 UC Santa Barbara 7 7
Apr 2, 2015 Ft. Hood, TX 3 16
Sep 16, 2013 Washington Naval Yard 13 3
Jun 7, 2013 Santa Monica College 5 0
Dec 14, 2012 Sandy Hook Elem. School 27 1
Oct 21, 2012 Brookfield, WI 3 4
Sep 28, 2012 Minneapolis, MN 6 2
Aug 5, 2012 Oak Creek, WI 6 3
Jul 20, 2012 Aurora, CO 12 58
Jan 8, 2011 Tucson, AZ 6 11
There have been many more mass shootings, of course, including Virginia Tech, Texas Tech, Columbine, as well as the every day, garden variety homicide-by-firearm – about 30 per day. The list is endless and we can proudly proclaim that we lead the world in mass shootings, with 90 of them between 1966 and 2012. That doesn’t count murders like the on-air assassination of Allison Parker and Adam Ward in Virginia this year – just the high body count shootings.
There have been over 406,000 deaths by gun violence in America since 2001. Compare that to 3,380 American deaths by terrorism in the same period and you may want to reconsider how you react to fear mongering over terrorists and focus instead on a far more likely threat to your well being.
Requiring universal background checks would not end gun massacres this year or next year or the year after that. It would, though, start the process of keeping firearms out of the hands of mentally unstable people and those convicted of violent crimes, of whom it can reasonably be said that they are violent by nature and should not have easy access to tools of murder. Clearly, requiring universal background checks is part of the solution and it is an easy one to implement, too. But consider the perverse truth about the resistance to sensible gun safety laws:
- The National Rifle Association (NRA) exists primarily to promote the sale of firearms in order to protect the revenue and profit of the corporations that make up the firearms industry. Because universal background checks would put 66% more gun sales under scrutiny, it would likely put a damper on gun sales. Firearms manufacturers don’t want that to happen, so they send their lobbying arm – the NRA – to oppose background checks. And this is where it gets nasty, because that means that gun manufacturers value their profits more than they value the lives of the nine students who were just killed at Umpqua Community College.
- Politicians want to keep their jobs. Doing that requires lots of campaign cash and the NRA is a big campaign donor. The contributions the NRA makes to politicians makes those politicians beholden to the NRA. Indeed, if they don’t do the bidding of the NRA, the NRA will see that they get primaried by someone who will do the NRA’s bidding. And this is where it gets nasty again, because what that means is that many politicians care more about their careers that they do about the 19 little kids and 7 teachers who were gunned down at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
- There are ardent Second Amendment supporters who believe in what they see as the principles of that amendment. They loudly proclaim that we have to have guns in order to protect us from tyrannical government. This is where it gets nasty yet again, because what that means is that those ardent Second Amendment types are implicitly saying that regular massacres like those listed above and all the rest of our gun violence, including what can happen to you the next time you go to a movie theater, is simply the price we must pay for liberty. They think you volunteered to wear a bulls eye.
Offered just so you know all of what it means.
In other news: As of this writing both North and South Carolina are experiencing torrential downpours, with some areas receiving well over a foot of rain. It is catastrophic in its effect and meteorologists have described this as a once in 500 years event. Drenched and drowning in all that rain and flooding, residents of the Carolinas can at least celebrate the good news there is no such thing as global warming.
Finally, it’s always a real mind-blower when anyone from far right Wackoville forsakes its propaganda, abandons the hyperbole that contains no more than 0.5% fact and instead tells the truth. I’m wondering if doing just that might disqualify Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) from becoming the next Speaker of the House. Recall that you were warned that, “You can’t handle the truth,” (from A Few Good Men).
Ed. note: There is much in America that needs fixing and we are on a path to continually fail to make things better. It is my goal to make a difference – perhaps to be a catalyst for things to get better. That is the reason for these posts. To accomplish the goal requires reaching many thousands of people and a robust dialogue.
ACTION STEP: Please offer your comments below and pass this along to three people, encouraging them to subscribe. Thanks! JA
Copyright 2019 by Jack Altschuler
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