Today is February 17th, 65 days since Sandy Hook…and in that time there have been 1863 gun violence murders in this country – over 28 per day. The butcher’s bill – the tally of deaths – is aggregated by the folks at Slate and @GunDeaths and is accomplished by the magic of crowdsourcing – social media, twitter and email all backed by local content that provides the details. My contributions to the group are murders from gun violence in Kentucky. Today I contributed murder number 32 since Sandy Hook and it was from my home county of Harlan, Kentucky.
To put Kentucky murders in perspective…there are 4,380,000 people in Kentucky with 32 murders. New York State has a population of 19,570,000 and has had 60 gun violence murders in the same period. What that means…New York, which has some of the most harsh gun laws in America has a rate of murder by gun of 3.2/100,000 while Kentucky, with some of the most lax gun laws has a rate of 13.6/100,000 – FOUR times the rate. Kentucky has the 17th highest rate of death by gun violence in the nation.
I use these two states as examples for a couple of reasons. First, they represent both ends of the spectrum for gun laws and second I have lived in both states – in both urban areas [NYC, Lexington] and rural areas [Wappingers Falls, Harlan]. My “feel” of neither state is abstract.
Last night a question was asked on smith-wessonforum.com, one of the largest gun fora in this country. It was asked in response to the rationalization “There is a price for freedom” to try and explain away the 12,000 murders and 250,000 injuries from gun violence each year.
“To your last point ‘there is a price for freedom’…how many ACCEPTABLE deaths from firearms pay that butcher’s bill?” – Ray Vaughn
It was a very simple, very fair question. Those who don’t want to face hard statistics, those who want to obfuscate the butcher’s bill of murder in this country ask that it not be pointed out…they ask that we not keep bringing up all those murders. They do it in interesting ways. Silence is the most common – no answer at all and hope that the question goes away. But after that come “apples to bicycles” comparisons, hoping folks will see only the raw numbers and not look at the numbers behind the numbers, that information that gives meaning to the raw statistics. We do.
So the count continues – 1,863 deaths since Sandy Hook, 1,336 of those since January 1st. And the count in Kentucky continues as well – 32 since Sandy Hook, 24 since January 1st.
And the one thing that will remain constant…by the end of the year there will be about 12,000 men, women and children killed in this country from gun violence, a couple of hundred in Kentucky. That apparently is the price of freedom.
McAllister is a life long liberal, environmentalist, Eagle Scout, and even gun owner – born in Harlan, Kentucky and has lived in Southern California, New York City and now resided in Lexington, Kentucky as a Systems Analyst
You can read more of McAllister’s observations and opinions at Shoot From the Left Hip.