So I'm sitting here looking in the rear-view mirror over 14 dead bodies, just more statistics in our ongoing war against ourselves.
It might be telling to have a little "Ask A Vet" style tally, so here goes. There's any number of sources out there, as it seems difficult to get an accurate count of such things. This comes to us from the Gun Violence Archive
, and is for 2015 only:
Gun Violence Archive 2015 Toll of Gun Violence
Total Number of Incidents: 48,521
Number of Deaths: 12,282
Number of Injuries: 24,803
Number of Children (age 0-11) Killed/Injured: 643
Number of Teens (age 12-17) Killed/Injured: 2,432
Mass Shooting: 309
Officer Involved Incident: 4,043
Home Invasion: 2,088
Defensive Use: 1,136
Accidental Shooting: 1,757
I'll work with the "number of incidents" figure for a second. 48,521 is close to the population of many US cities...so I randomly picked one that just about everyone should know - Roswell, NM. (48,366). Think about it - based on the statistic, imagine EVERY PERSON in Roswell involved in some kind of gun incident as enumerated above.
That happens just about every year here.
It's very difficult to get a handle on just how violent the United States is. We're currently the 3rd most-populous country on earth, so there is literally nothing to compare us to. Places we think of as extremely violent, like Syria (22.85m), Afghanistan (30.55m) or even Somalia (10.5m) might compare well with some states, but that's about all.
The day after the most recent shooting occurred, our own Will won the internets with this observation:
Most other democracies have much stronger limits on guns but I don't hear that the Britons, the Swiss or the Australians are not free. We need to take a hard look at ourselves.
It's not even a Constitutional question anymore. I could maybe believe the Founders had our best interests in mind when they wanted to ensure that well-regulated militias couldn't be disarmed by the state. At the time, there was no such thing as the "United States Army", and the individual states essentially defended themselves. An over-arching authority taking their guns would leave the population defenseless...but that is a discussion for another day.
Somewhere along the way, that guarantee for community protection somehow has morphed into a "God Given Right" to carry increasingly powerful firearms on your person for whatever reasons necessary. The bigger question is "Why?" I have to admit - I just don't get it. Even if it was legal to carry an AK-47 on my hip today when I went to the supermarket - why would you want to?
Maybe it does go back to something our 33rd President said - that thing about fear.
So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itselfâ€”nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.
It seems that this is where we are at - we do fear fear itself. But instead of banding together and facing that fear as a unified nation, we've chosen the other route. Something I wrote about long ago
now seems to be accelerating faster every day, no matter what we do.