Since Sandy Hook
On December 14, 2012, a young man with social adjustment issues shot and killed 20 six and seven year-old children and 7 adults, including his mother, in Sandy Hook, CT. He then killed himself.
This shooting happened approximately 5 months after a mentally unstable man entered a movie theater through a side door in Aurora, CO with numerous military-grade weapons, killed 12 people and injured 58 others, many seriously. He also booby-trapped his apartment so that anyone unknowingly entering the residence would have set off explosives, designed to maim many more. He is awaiting trial.
In the weeks since Sandy Hook, gun violence has been on everyone’s mind. Some want to ensure that the rights to own guns of all manner of use and description are not altered. Some want all guns banned. Some believe that Sandy Hook was a carefully crafted, government-sponsored, staged event designed to sway public opinion in support of a total ban on gun ownership.
Most opinions fall somewhere in between these extremes. President Barack Obama has made a series of recommendations to reduce the availability of some types of guns, and to promote limitations on those citizens able to obtain them.
Certain facts can’t be overlooked, though. According to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, as of 3:12 PM EST today (January 30, 2013), 8,000 people have been shot in the U.S. since the 1st of the year; 170 have been shot today alone. Granted, not all of these have been fatal shootings, not all with military-grade weapons, and not all involving masses of victims at once. But the numbers are simply sobering.
The exact number of gun-related deaths occurring on a daily basis is a difficult number to find. As of January 29, the estimated number killed since Sandy Hook was 1440, according to the Twitter account, @GunDeaths. Because we are seeing new shootings multiple times every day, agencies and groups recording data regarding gun-related injuries are having a hard time keeping current. According to the Brady Campaign, the number is slowly, but surely, increasing as I write this.
On January 19, Gun Appreciation Day, 5 were shot in three different incidents at gun shows alone. Yesterday, January 29, an Alabama school bus driver was shot and killed and a 6 year-old boy kidnapped from his bus; the child is now in the middle of a tense hostage situation, and is being held in a bunker near the suspect’s home in rural AL. Also yesterday, Hadiya Pendleton, 15, who performed with her school’s marching band at President Obama’s inauguration just last week, was shot dead while hanging out with friends at a park in Chicago. Today, 3 were wounded, one critically, at a Phoenix office building.
At the very moment the shooting in Phoenix was happening this morning, the Senate Judiciary Committee was holding a hearing on gun violence. The opening statement at that hearing was given by former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ), who is still recovering from critical gun-shot wounds to the head, sustained at a Tucson Safeway while meeting with constituents in early 2011. Her speech is still affected and she is nowhere near full recovery (may never be). 18 others were also shot that day, 6 fatally, including a nine-year-old girl, Christina-Taylor Green.
We clearly have a gun problem in this country. The solutions are not obvious and simplistic, cherry-picked approaches will not solve anything. We must find a multifaceted way to tackle this, one that does not penalize responsible gun owners, but which also protects everyone from the mayhem of any variation of gun falling into the hands of the wrong people.
The President has made recommendations, which we must demand that our Congress recognize and adopt. There must be some end to the daily reports of shootings and gun deaths in this country. By the way, in the approximately one hour it took me to gather and write this, the total number of shootings today has increased to 177.
[photo credit: eurweb.com]
[this article edited by KL Johnson]