We endure another gun-violence tragedy in America, this one not far from the Columbine massacre. But it really doesn’t matter where it took place. The entire nation has a gun-violence problem. Colorado is not alone. In fact, it’s 29th on the list of states when it comes to gun violence.
And it’s clear that the gun lobby has very effectively squelched almost any and all attempts to do something about it. Regardless of your position on gun control, the statistics on gun violence in the United States are chilling.
Since 9/11, the Brady Campaign tells us, there have been an estimated 334,168 gun deaths* in the United States, a figure that includes homicides, suicides, and unintentional shooting deaths. The total is 100 times larger than the toll of September 11, 2001. Each year, since that day, approximately 30,000 people have been killed by firearms in America. Yet there has been no cry for state or federal policies of prevention over punishment, no loud call for a proactive rather than a reactive approach to gun violence. Imagine how different America would be today if those figures tolled for acts of terrorism instead of acts of gun violence. The Atlantic
(Here’s the asterisk reference: “*We initially put this figure at 343,882 based upon information from the Brady Campaign, which later revised the figure.)
We as a nation have zero tolerance for foreign terrorism but remarkable tolerance for domestic gun violence.
I’m in an unusual position. I taught gun safety in the 60′s here in Elk Rapids — at what is now the antique shop on Green Street and also, of all places, in the basement of the library. So I felt a bit of nostalgia when the NRA trailer pulled in at Evening on River Street and allowed most anyone to do some target practice. Took me back to my youth.
But I’ve grown up, and I’ve lived elsewhere and traveled widely. The problem with gun violence is not embodied in the nostalgia of target practice or in hunting animals. As in Aurora, law-abiding citizens are now able to purchase legally assault weapons that are made specifically for killing people, and these weapons are deadly. So a crime of passion or high stess now can quickly escalate into a massacre. And yet there is little sustained outcry over the availability of weapons of war. You might have heard me sarcastically tout a new organization, Ouzees for Infants, to protect defenseless babies from criminals. We as a nation have gone way beyond any semblance of common sense on this issue.
Modern assault weapons are very good for killing people. I don’t recommend you use them for hunting rabbits and deer, if you want to make rabbit stew or dine on venison steaks. That’s common sense. Can’t we find a way to deal with gun violence in the same way?