Too many of the aggrieved settle their disputes with gun violence. Too many loved ones will always grieve as a result.
20 + 6 ,9,601, 11,068, 11,412, 20,024, 33,373, 300,000,000 are the relevant numbers concerning gun related deaths in the United States. Charlotte Bacon, age 6, was one of the 20 students and 6 teachers killed at the Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012.
December 14, 2012 started innocently enough at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
Classes were under way at the school. Approximately 700 students were present.
Earlier this year, the school principal, Dawn Lafferty Hochsprung (picture below), ordered a new security system installed that required visitors to be visibly identified and buzzed in. As part of the security system, the school locked its doors each day at 9:30 a.m.
The door was locked when the gunman arrived.
Authorities now know the gunman used “an assault weapon” to “literally (shoot) an entrance into the building,” Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy said.
The 20 + 6 is a all too well known figure: the number of children and teachers killed in the Newtown, Connecticut tragedy that happened one year ago.
9,601 is an estimate from a Slate.com poll about the number of gun related deaths the media has reported since the killings at the Sandy Hook school.
33,373 are the number of people who have died by gunshot since Newtown, as stated in a mind-numbing detailed report by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) about all causes of death in the United States.
The CDC also reports that in 2010, 11,068 died by gun homicide – 3.6 deaths per 100,000 people.
Since there are approximately 317 million people in the United States currently, the CDC estimate for 2013 is 11,412 gun-caused homicides.
60% of all gun deaths are suicides, therefore, 20,024 are self-inflicted deaths.
However, the most relevant number is 300,000,000, the number of guns the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives estimates are owned, almost one for every citizen. The 2007 Congressional Research Service report breaks that down into 36% of guns owned are handguns, 35% rifles and 29% shotguns.
The United States has the highest rate of gun ownership throughout the world according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in 2007.
There have been 62 mass shootings in the United States from 1972 to 2012 (including Newtown), according to Mother Jones magazine. In the majority of cases, the guns used were obtained legally.
Since Newtown, there have been 17 mass killings, according to the Huffington Post.
The Bushmaster rifle (see picture at the top) that Adam Lanza used was one of three that he brought with him to the school. The rifle was designed for law enforcement and military use. It is capable of shooting 30 rounds in rapid-fire. There was no question that he intended major harm. Unfortunately, with so little additional evidence about him, we will never know why. I don’t care,
You don’t need a Bushmaster rifle to hunt deer or antelope or for target shooting. If your aim is that poor, then stay home before you do hurt somebody else, like Dick Cheney did. Law enforcement and the military need automatic weapons when they are in extreme conflicts. There is only one reason for a civilian to own a Bushmiller rifle. it is to cause murder and mayhem.
Unfortunately, he may have spawned others. Yesterday, in Centennial, Colorado, a high school debating team member trying to kill his coach for being left off a meet. He killed turning the gun on himself and committing suicide. He shot a 17 year old female classmate in the head in the 5 shots he got off in 2 minutes. The student, Claire Davis, is in critical condition.
Colorado’s politics has been in the forefront of the debate about what measures to take to reduce gun violence. Two state senators were recalled and a third resigned due to their support of universal background checks and limits on the number of rounds in an ammunition magazine. This occurred 18 months after the Aurora movie theater shooting where 12 were killed and 70 injured.
The National Rifle Association’s (NRA) solution to gun violence in schools? Provide arm guards in all schools. There was an armed guard at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Mr. LaPierre’s irrational defense is in direct opposition to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)’ position. The Pediatricians believe that gun violence is a threat to the health of children everywhere. Please watch the video for AAP’s tragic gun violence statistics. Gun violence is now the second leading cause of children dying. The NRA always frames the debate as “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.”. The real debate is “Which is more important: people or money?” Anytime there are big money interests and lobbyists, like the NRA, involved the answer is automatic.
The politics involved in gun violence makes me sick to my stomach. The politics not only involve the NRA, but includes many other right-wing organizations, especially the American Leadership Exchange Council (ALEC). The Koch Brothers’ legislative arm is deeply involved in this, especially the “stand your ground” laws. For the Koch Brothers’ purposes, not allowing any laws restricting gun purchases is just 1 of their 8 goals for their takeover of American democracy.
In Part II, we will discuss the politics of gun violence and how the right-wing groups exploit America’s love affair with guns.
I understand the Sandy Hook Elementary School parents who want their privacy respected. It is difficult to celebrate any holiday after losing loved ones. When you lose a child, who would be very excited about Santa Claus coming and presents under the tree, the loss and pain must be excruciating to bear. Seeing all those around you celebrating, while you are in despair, only makes it worse.
When you grieve, you need to grieve alone and in silence. The aggrieved with guns never do.