Gun Violence Source: http://www.stophandgunviolence.com
One definition of madness is to repeat the same thing over and over and expect a different result. If that’s true, then our inability to regulate guns in this country is barking mad crazy. Every time someone gets shot–Trayvon Martin in Florida, Gabby Giffords in Arizona, the High Schoolers in Columbine, and now movie goers in Aurora–there is understandable outrage and…nothing. Nothing really changes and the statistics are clear: Tens of thousands of Americans die every year from gunshot wounds. And guns are at the heart of the problem. According to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence:
- An estimated 41% of gun-related homicides and 94% of gun-related suicides would not occur under the same circumstances had no guns been present (Wiebe, p. 780).
- Higher household gun ownership correlates with higher rates of homicides, suicides, and unintentional shootings (Harvard Injury Control Center).
- Keeping a firearm in the home increases the risk of suicide by a factor of 3 to 5 and increases the risk of suicide with a firearm by a factor of 17 (Kellermann, 1992, p. 467; Wiebe, p. 771).
- Keeping a firearm in the home increases the risk of homicide by a factor of 3 (Kellermann, 1993, p. 1084).
We’re from the NRA and we’re here to make you safe. Fear is what fuels the NRA. Fear that big government will somehow abrogate your second amendment rights; fear that the Muslims are coming to institute Sharia law; and fear of the other, like those who are simply different from you. The NRA preys on that fear, and uses it to ensure that gun regulations aren’t put in place. But they hide behind a smokescreen of…safety. The NRA’s argument is that guns make us safer. NRA head, Wayne LaPierre has said as much:
“I wouldn’t stand before you today if I didn’t believe, and I couldn’t prove, that our common-sense policies can have a more immediate impact on violence, and make more citizens safer, than anything that anyone else is proposing.”
Sure. Right. I trust Wayne. If this is safe, I’d hate to see what being truly in danger looks like. The truth is that we have the highest gun mortality rates in the “civilized” western world by (depending on your definition of “western,” the rate of deaths in the US range anywhere from 10x to 20x those of our decidedly more civilized neighbors). The largest terror for Americans comes from…Americans. At this point, it’s pretty clear that the biggest threat to our well-being isn’t from “foreigners” or “extremist Muslims,” it’s from us, right here in the good ‘ol US. And somehow, for some reason, we’re okay with it. The number of people killed every six weeks in this country is the rough equivalent to the number of people killed in 9/11. Let that sink in for a moment: Every six weeks there is another 9/11 in body-count from gun violence here in the United States. So, why not regulate guns better? In fact, the Constitution specifically calls for that (as Homer Simpson might say, “Stupid socialist founding fathers”).
The latest massacre in Aurora is just that, sadly–the latest. Another in a never-ending series. It will happen again, in another state. Or perhaps in Colorado itself. Years after the Columbine massacre (Aurora is just a short drive from the scene of carnage that spawned a Michael Moore documentary), not much has changed in terms of gun control. According to the New York Times:
“The guy basically had normal guns,” said Eugene Volokh, an expert in constitutional law at the University of California, Los Angeles. Unless some new evidence of documented psychiatric disturbance emerges, Mr. Volokh added, “there’s no indication that, from his record, he is someone whom more restrictive screening procedures would have caught.”
Despite the changes over the past 13 years, Colorado law still prohibits local governments from restricting gun rights in several significant ways. Moreover, gun rights organizations have successfully fought other efforts to restrict access to guns, including blocking a University of Colorado rule prohibiting concealed weapons on campus.
But hey, it’s okay to buy 6,000 rounds of ammo because, you know, you never know when you’ll need it to fend off a British invasion.
Quote: ABC News
Eagle/NRA Graphic: NRA Web Site
Do something now. The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence is asking people to sign a petition to demand that Congress address the problem of availability of guns by ensuring that convicted felons and those convicted of domestic abuse, terrorists, and the dangerous mentally ill not have access to guns. Check out the petition here.
Do something in November. Until people hold their representatives accountable for lax gun laws (and their president too, for that matter), nothing will change. If we continue to elect republicans (and conservative democrats) and their more virulent strain, tea party members, to office, nothing will change. And unless our gun fetish and cowing to the right-wing in this country abates, we’ll continue to be periodically sickened and surprised by preventable, real-life horror movies like the one in Aurora. And that? That truly is the definition of madness.
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