REDUX: Too many of the aggrieved settle their disputes with gun violence. Too many loved ones will always grieve as a result.
Professor Juan Cole of the University of Michigan is one of the most respected sources in foreign policy and United States history. He combines his knowledge of both subjects in this recent article about the prevalence of US gun violence. Professor Cole writes in the article “There Were 30 Murders By Firearms in England 2012 vs. 8,855 In the US”:
“80% of civilian-owned firearms world-wide are in the US, and only Yemen vaguely competes with us for rates of firearm ownership; Yemen is a violent mess with Shiite insurgencies, al-Qaeda taking over cities from time to time, tribal feuding, southern separatism and US drone strikes. And even it has fewer guns per person than the USA.”
In his article, Professor Cole goes on to cite various statistics:
Number of Murders by Firearms, US, 2012: 8,855
Percentage of all Murders that were committed by firearms in US: 69.3% (Source: Federal Bureau of Investigations)
Suicides in US 2011: 38,285
Gun Suicides in US, 2011: 19,766
Number of Murders by firearms, England and Wales, 2012-2013: 30 (equivalent to 164 US murders).
Percentage of all murders in England and Wales that were committed by firearm: 5.4%
Number of suicides in England and Wales, 2011: 4871 (equivalent to about 25,818 in US or 31% lower)
Number of suicides by Firearam in England and Wales, 2011: 84
When I wrote “The Aggrieved and The Grieving: It Has Been One Year Since Newtown
A Story In Numbers, Pictures, Graphs And Videos” on December 14, 2013, it was one year after 20 students and 6 teachers were killed at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. On average, 86 people Americans are killed each day by firearms. This translates to 1 American dying by bullets every 17 minutes. One year after Sandy Hook, the total number of Americans killed by handguns was 32,833. In the 6 1/2 months since then, approximately another 16, 200 gave been killed, making the total approximately 49,000 lives lost.
Seven young men and women from 19 to 22 years old were killed in the most recent mass shooting, the Elliot Rodger’s shooting rampage in Santa Clara, California. They were George Chen, age 19; Katie Cooper, 22; Veronika Weiss, 19; Cheng Yuan Hong, 20; Christopher Michael-Martinez, 20; and Weihan Wang, 20. Another needless and indiscriminate taking of young lives, potential and talent.
George Michael-Martinez’s father, Richard, took the news of his son’s killing very hard.
I and most Americans share in Mr. Martinez’s grief, just as we shared in the grief of the parents of the students and families of the teachers killed at the Sandy Hook school. And those from the Columbine High School (Colorado) shooting. And those from the Aurora, Colorado movie theater shooting. And those from ……………
“When police found Rodger dead in his car, apparently killed by a self-inflicted gunshot, they also discovered three legally purchased semiautomatic guns – two Sig Sauers and a Glock – and some 400 rounds of unspent ammunition, Brown said.”
How was this young man, who had undergone psychological counseling from a very young age, in part due to being diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, able to acquire such a stockpile of weaponry and go unnoticed? What was he planning to do with this arsenal? Fortunately, we’ll never find out what his plans were.
As usual, whenever there is a mass killing like this, the right-wing ignorata come out in full-force about any possible reining in on what they perceive to be their “Second Amendment” rights. One of the most unfortunate of these Reverse Mensa members is Samuel Wurzelbacher, a/k/a “Joe the Plumber”, put into the national media spotlight by the 2008 Republican ignorata dream team of over-stimulated Arizona Senator John McCain and half-term, half-wit former Alaska Governor, Sarah Palin, as a symbol of their concern for “the working man”. Since then, “Joe” has become a right-wing/Fox News fixture.
This is what Mr. Wurzelbacher said in an open letter to Mr. Martinez and the others who lost loved ones in the Santa Clara shootings.
“I am sorry you lost your child. I myself have a son and daughter and the one thing I never want to go through, is what you are going through now. But:
As harsh as this sounds – your dead kids don’t trump my Constitutional rights.
Richard Martinez, whose son (Christopher) was among the murdered, choked back tears at a news conference, blaming politicians the next day: “The talk about gun rights. What about Chris’ right to live?” Martinez said – and much more.
There are no critical words for a grieving father. He can say whatever he wants and blame whoever he’d like – it’s okay by me. You can’t take a step in his shoes – at least I can’t.
But the words and images of Mr. Martinez blaming “the proliferation of guns”, lobbyists, politicians, etc.; will be exploited by gun-grab extremists as are all tragedies involving gun violence and the mentally ill by the anti-Second Amendment Left.
As a father, husband and a man, it is my responsibility to protect my family. I will stand up for that right vehemently. Please believe me, as a father I share your grief and I will pray for you and your family, as I do whenever I hear about senseless tragedies such as this.
We still have the Right to Bear Arms and I intend to continue to speak out for that right, and against those who would restrict it – even in the face of this horrible incident by this sad and insane individual. I almost said “Obama Voter” but I’m waiting for it to be official.
I noticed the mainstream media have stopped the practice of immediately reporting the psycho maniac is a conservative Tea Party Republican Christian. Guess they’re sick of having to hide being wrong every time when it comes out the whacko votes Democrat?
Mr. Martinez and anyone calling for more restrictions on American’s rights need to back off and stop playing into the hands of the folks who merely capitalize on these horrific events for their own political ends.
They don’t care about your family or your dead children at all. They sound like they do, whereas I sound uncaring and like I say, harsh. Don’t be fooled – I care about your family and mine. The future of our very liberty lies in the balance of this fight.
In conclusion, I cannot begin to imagine the pain you are going through, having had your child taken away from you. However, any feelings you have toward my rights being taken away from me, lose those.”
Mr. Wurzelbacher has unsuccessfully run twice for election to the House of Representatives. During his 2012 campaign, his statements about gun violence and gun control reached new levels of stupidity.
“In June 2012, Wurzelbacher’s election campaign released a video in which he claimed that the implementation of gun control resulted in Europe’s Jews being unable to defend themselves during the Holocaust, explaining that “In 1939, Germany established gun control. From 1939 to 1945, six million Jews and seven million others unable to defend themselves were exterminated.” In the same video, Wurzelbacher stated that the implementation of gun control by the Ottoman Empire in 1911 resulted in Armenians being unable to defend themselves against the Armenian Genocide.”
I’m including the video of his vile statements, not because I wish to give him any more undeserved notoriety, but because it is all too representative of the expanding division in this country about gun ownership and gun control laws.
I could include more of the same facts and more of the same statistics that show how many more gun deaths there are in the United States versus the rest of the world. I could include more of the same facts and more of the same statistics about how many more guns are owned in the United States versus the rest of the world. On the issue of how to reduce gun violence and provide reasonable controls over the purchase and ownership of guns, facts don’t matter, statistics don’t matter. And deaths don’t matter.
My friends at Freakoutnation.com do an excellent job at providing the daily news on the shootings resulting from the insecure storage of guns, such as this one about a three year old boy in Arizona shooting his eighteen month old sibling in the head.
A search of the FreakoutNation article database for the word shooting produces 529 results.
Many of the stories are humorous, in their own perverse way, such as “Oregon shooting suspect accidentally Second Amendments his testicles”.
But then there are the sobering articles like “Gun Lobbyist: Liberals ‘privately rejoice’ after mass shootings like Sandy Hook”
“Gun Owners of America director Larry Pratt has previously claimed that liberals were happy about the Boston Marathon bombing, and now he’s amped up on the crazy talk saying in an interview last week that the “gun control crowd” “privately rejoice” at events like the Sandy Hook massacre.
On VCY America’s Crosstalk on Thursday, a caller said he thought the Sandy Hook shooting “stinks of a conspiracy,” to which Pratt responded that “the gun control crowd” are “opportunistic.”“
Mr. Pratt and the “Second Amendment patriots” have it all wrong. We liberal/progressives don’t privately rejoice at any needless taking of a life. Some of us actually own guns. I don’t, but I have friends and relatives who do. We don’t want to “take away” your guns, as if taking away over 300 million guns is remotely possible. By the way, my First Amendment and Fourth Amendment rights are equal to, if not trump, your Second Amendment rights. Try telling Mr. Martinez that, after the murder of his son, his life, liberty and pursuit of happiness have not been needlessly abridged.
We liberal/progressives are agonizing whether the Boston Massacre bomber should be tried under the death sentence, because we don’t enjoy taking any human life nor believe the death penalty is a deterrent of future violence . But we do believe that doing background checks on the potential buyers of guns and ammunition, that could help prevent another Santa Clara-like shooting, is prudent and necessary. We believe that the manufacture and sale to the public of semi-automatic handguns, like the ones used in the Santa Clara shootings, are not needed, prudent or necessary. Those guns have no other purpose than to shoot humans. We believe that purchasing and owning a gun should have the same level of ownership, responsibility and acquisition controls as obtaining, owning and legally driving an automobile does.
We liberal/progressives certainly don’t privately rejoice that there have been 44 school shootings and 28 deaths since the Sandy Hook gun violence tragedy. The only thing more dangerous than Larry Pratt espousing inciteful words like that is the person with a gun shooting others. But all those shootings don’t seem to bother Pratt, Wayne LaPierre – the executive vice president of the National Rifle Association, or the various right wing and gun industry groups, such as Pratt’s Gun Owners of America, especially when these shootings pump up more gun sales after they occur. That so many Americans cannot see the causal links between gun ownership and gun deaths is just incredulous.
For Pratt, LaPierre and their sick and depraved like who value guns over people, it’s just another day and another murder that a gun didn’t cause. For Richard Martinez and too many others, it’s their lives and families who are lost and broken.