The president said we have to face some hard questions; twenty elementary school children were gunned down in their classrooms on Friday, along with six adults charged with keeping them safe. It was unfathomable…
Just as it was beyond comprehension when twelve students and one teacher were gunned down in Littleton Colorado… Do you even remember their names? Twenty-one more were injured. They too were children: Cassie Bernall (17), Steven Curnow (14), Corey DePooter (17), Kelly Fleming (16), Matthew Kechter (16), Daniel Mauser (15), Daniel Rohrbough (15), Rachel Scott (17), Isaiah Shoels (18), John Tomlin (16), Lauren Townsend (18), Kyle Velasquez (16) died along with a teacher, William “Dave” Sanders, at Columbine High School on April 20, 1999. It was unfathomable that anyone could wantonly kill people so young, so innocent…
But then wasn’t the time to talk about it. Emotions were raw. Americans were in a state of shock. Disbelief. This was an isolated incident, two disturbed young men. They needed help, we missed the signs; well someone didn’t acknowledge the signs. They were so young, we said. How could anyone shoot children? we asked.
But, we pacified our grief in silence. We were lulled back into complacency by the illusion that this incident was isolated. And we did nothing.
Nothing is a choice.
In the 1990’s, 326 people lost their lives in shootings at schools in the United States. Three-hundred-twenty-six.
In February 2000, a six-year-old shot and killed another student. Since 2000, there have been twenty-one “school shootings,” including Sandy Hook. These statistics don’t include shootings at colleges; this is just k-12.
Of the 311,591,917 Americans, 4.3 million are members of the NRA. 1.38% of the American population. And yet, it is one of the strongest lobbies in Washington. 1.38%. That leaves 98.62% of us to sway our leaders. 98.62% of us to get the guns regulated, off the streets, stop the carnage.
And it is carnage. “Guns don’t kill people” is an Orwellian maxim that simply isn’t true. Technically, I suppose it is a true statement, someone has to pull the trigger so, People with guns kill people. Limiting myself to gun deaths, where more than three people are killed, in the 2000’s (by state):
March 10, 2009. Eleven killed at the hands of a gunman in Alabama.
January 8, 2011. Six dead in Arizona.
December 24, 2008. Nine dead at the hands of a gunman in Covina California.
October 5, 2011. 3 killed by a gunman in Cupertino California
October 12, 2011. Eight killed by a gunman in Seal Beach California.
July 20, 2012. Twelve killed in a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado.
August 3, 2010. Nine gunned down in Connecticut.
December 14, 2012. Twenty-seven killed at an elementary school in Newtown Connecticut.
December 8-14, 2000 five killed in Wichita, Kansas.
December 26, 2000. Seven killed in Wakefield, Massachusetts.
July 7, 2011. Seven people gunned down in Grand Rapids Michigan
March 21, 2005. Nine people killed in Red Lake, Minnesota.
December 5, 2007. Nine people shot at a mall in Omaha, Nebraska.
April 3, 2009. Fourteen people shot and killed in Binghampton, New York.
October 2, 2006. Six die in Nickel Mines. Pennsylvania.
November 6, 2009. Thirteen shot and killed in Fort Hood, Texas.
February 12, 2007. Six shot in Salt Lake City Utah.
April 16, 2007. Thirty-three die in Blacksburg, Virginia.
January 19, 2010. Eight shot and killed in Appomattox, Virginia.
May 30, 2012, six die in Seattle, Washington.
March 25, 2006. Six people gunned down in Seattle, Washington.
November 24, 2004, six shot and killed in Meteor, Wisconsin.
March 12, 2005, seven people killed in Brookfield Wisconsin.
October 7, 2007, seven people shot and killed in Cranden, Wisconsin.
August 5, 2012, six people shot and killed in Oak Creek, Wisconsin.
October 21, 2012, three shot in Brookfield, Wisconsin.
Total: 237. Two-hundred-thirty-seven killed in mass-shootings since Columbine. Two-hundred-thirty-seven since we cried for the Rachel Scott, Steven Curnow, and their classmates. Two-hundred-thirty-seven since we lamented and insisted that now isn’t the time for this conversation. Now is the time for this conversation! Nothing is a choice. It wasn’t the time to talk about gun control after Columbine — and so many more have died.
People who died in mass shootings in Britain and Northern Ireland combined during the same period: 12. Canada: 15. Finland: 28. Even Colombia, South America – you know a drug capitol – trails behind the Untied States, having 172 for the twenty-first century… There are, of course, countries with more mass shootings than the United States: Mexico, Syria, and Afghanistan. But is that really whom we wish to emulate? Really?
After one school shooting in Scotland, in 1996, Great Britain made it illegal to buy or possess a handgun. One school, sixteen children, no more handguns. Period.
I think it is unrealistic to think that we will get rid of guns in this country (though in my heart, that is my dream). But we need better control. I need a license to drive, to practice medicine, to teach, to do so many things; I must be trained. Not so with guns. And that’s just crazy! Well regulated. You know, managed, supervised, controlled.
And this blog doesn’t even consider the issue of mental health—or the deplorable state of American healthcare that leaves those who are mentally unstable in a position where they cannot get the help they need and their demons overtake them…
Sign the petition to demand our elected officials make changes to our gun laws that will protect our children and grandchildren. There are 4.3 million members of the NRA, people who have bought into the bastardization of the Second Amendment; it’s up to the other 307,291,917 of us to be well regulated and regain some sense of rationality in this desperately needed conversation.