#HowManyMore?

We blog.

#WeAreNewtown

We tweet.

#gunsense

We post photos of ourselves holding signs.

#NotOneMore

But there is always one more.

One more… person is killed with a gun.

One more… person kills himself with a gun.

And another, and another, and another…

  • Every hour, someone dies by gunfire.
  • Every day, dozens of people die by gunfire.
  • Every week, hundreds of people die by gunfire.
  • Every month, thousands of people die by gunfire.
  • Every year, tens of thousands of people die by gunfire.
  • Every decade, hundreds of thousands of people die by gunfire.

In the last 50 years, more Americans have been killed with guns than have died in all of the wars in this country’s 238-year history – going back to the Revolution.

When President Obama went to Newtown to grieve with the families and their shattered community, he spoke to a nation that was badly shaken by the horror of what had happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School:

We can’t tolerate this anymore. These tragedies must end. And to end them, we must change.

We will be told that the causes of such violence are complex, and that is true. No single law, no set of laws can eliminate evil from the world or prevent every senseless act of violence in our society, but that can’t be an excuse for inaction. Surely we can do better than this.

But, eighteen months later… We do tolerate it. These tragedies have not ended. We have not changed. And we have not done any better. Since the massacre at Sandy Hook, more than forty thousand Americans have died by gunfire.

Even as I write this, I cannot fathom the scale of the slaughter. It is more than 12 times the number of people that were killed on 9/11 – another unimaginable crime. That comparison doesn’t really help us to understand the loss. But it is impossible to ignore the massive disparity in our responses to these threats. John Oliver nailed it:

sermon_john-oliver

Consider our government’s response to the 9/11 attacks. The Bush Administration, with the blessing of Congress:

(1) completely reorganized our law enforcement and intelligence services into the massive new Department of Homeland Security…

(2) launched not one but two wars…

(3) brought the United States into the company of nations which torture and detain prisoners indefinitely, no criminal charges, no trial by any court – in direct violation of international law, the Geneva Accords and the U.S. Constitution…

(4) added, by most accounts, more than $3 trillion to the national debt…

(5) and we have only recently learned the shocking extent to which Americans’ constitutional rights have been annulled with virtually unchecked domestic spying by NSA.

Now, consider our government’s response to the horrific toll gun violence has taken in this country in the 15 years since the Columbine massacre in 1999:

(1) The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, including the Federal Assault Weapons Ban on semi-automatic firearms and high-capacity magazines, was allowed to expire by Bush and the Republican-controlled Congress in 2004…

(2)

(3)

(4)

So: a sweeping and unprecedented series of government actions initiated by Bush and continued in large part by Obama – including two wars raging over a decade – in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks that killed 3,000 people. But in the 15 years since Columbine the federal government has allowed one major gun control law to expire and it has enacted no new gun regulations – in spite of overwhelming public support since Newtown. During this time… more than 400,000 Americans have been killed by firearms.

I do not equate 9/11 and our epidemic of gun violence. But I do think it is appropriate and necessary to compare the astonishingly disproportionate responses by the federal government. Gun violence since Columbine has rained down more death on Americans than the 9/11 attacks happening every six weeks! And we have done nothing to protect ourselves or our children.

Are we better than this? So far, no! Why not? The @Mayors and the @Moms and now @Everytown have had the best of intentions but almost zero impact. What can we do? I leave you with this opinion piece by Scott Martelle in the Los Angeles Times. (click on the graphic for link to the LA Times)

scott martelle.latimes

 

The End (so far)

 

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9 comments

    1. They would dismiss it as an outlier data point, praise themselves for gunning the shooter down before he had a chance to kill more, and then cite social woes like poverty and education and gang violence as the cause while simultaneously doing absolutely nothing to address those woes, clutching their guns and challenging any single person with any rational thought to pry them from their cold, dead hands.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Human life is a cost of doing business to the gun industry and its lobbyists, the NRA.

      Plus, the only ban on guns that is supported by the NRA? Your sacred Second Amendment rights are suspended at the entrance to… gun shows. Small price to pay, I guess, for avoiding background checks.

      Like

        1. Sadly for you, I know far more about gun shows than you give me credit for. I have this friend named Google… You are a moron or a liar – probably both.

          The only reason I am bothering with this reply to a mouthbreathing gun-hugger is that you have given me the opportunity to share useful information with others here. So thanks for that.

          Federally licensed gun dealers must comply with background check laws. Many do. Some don’t. (You may also be ignorant about straw purchases?)

          Gun shows also provide a handy venue for so-called ‘private dealers’ – who are, in fact, exempt from federal laws requiring gun sellers to conduct background checks. Perhaps you are also ignorant about that? Gee.

          Some states (about 11 as of this writing) have mandated some form of background checks beyond the federal requirements. Most have no such requirements at all. And gun sales on the internet – an exploding market – are entirely unregulated. But don’t take my word for it. Here are two links for anyone interested in learning more:

          http://www.governing.com/gov-data/safety-justice/gun-show-firearms-bankground-checks-state-laws-map.html

          And the executive summary from a UC Davis study titled “Inside Gun Shows”. Read the first two pages, if nothing else:

          http://www.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu/vprp/pdf/IGS/IGScoverprefweb.pdf

          Note to lwk2431 – any further comments from you will be deleted. Because I can.

          Like

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