Like everyone else on this planet, yesterday we witnessed yet another mass shooting happen in the United States. Once again, another tormented individual exercised his Second Amendment rights and slaughtered innocent men and women serving their country in a blaze of bullets, confusion, and horror. Once more the world’s media dutifully recorded the flood of anguish, bewilderment, and unspeakable sadness as paramedics, police, and security forces rushed to the scene. Once more we witnessed the hastily arranged press conferences that tried to explain the unexplainable. Once more, the massive vortex of ambiguity and speculation swirled about who was responsible and what were the motivations. Was it a lone wolf? Was it a terrorist? Was it a co-ordinated attack?
Once more the President of the United States appeared on television to console Americans and assure them that everything would be done to get to the bottom of this. Barack Obama looked like a sad, weary figure at the podium as the press clamoured for details and clarifications. I thought to myself ‘how many times has he had to do this?‘
There have been six mass shootings in the last nine months,and 20 during the Obama presidency.
I lived in the United States for a total of 6 1/2 years, from 1994 to 2001. I have many good friends there who are decent, intelligent, wonderful people. I miss them very much and I wish I could see them again. Many Americans are decent people who are not extremists, fascists, neo-nazi’s, or overzealous fundmentalist religious types. But for the life of me, I can’t understand how Americans condone the level of gun violence that happens every year in their country. Consider this chilling piece of information. Since the hideous slaughter at Newtown in late 2012, 8, 250 Americans have died from firearms. It’s shocking beyond all belief. 8,250 dead men, women, and children since Newtown.
There are over 300 MILLION GUNS in circulation in the United States. On September 13th, the largest study done on gun violence in the United States was published in the American Journal of Public Health.
According to the study, every year 31,000 people die from gun violence and 74,000 suffer nonlethal injuries.
How many more innocent people have to die or suffer gruesome injuries in the United States for the convenience of owning a gun? How many more babies in strollers have to be shot in the head point blank? How many more little children have to die accidentally because their parents didn’t put the weapons away? How many more people need to be murdered by bored American teenagers looking for something to do? How many more concealed weapons do Americans need to carry around to make criminals think twice about using a gun? How many more vigilantes do they need to prowl the halls of elementary schools to scare off mass shooters? When a society reaches the point where it actually condones weapons being carried around in elementary schools, I submit that it’s in a state of civil war with itself.
I give my deepest condolences to my American friends, and offer up this meditation from Peter, Paul, and Mary:
How many deaths will it take til’ he knows, that too many people have died?
The Grumpy Ferret (The answer is blowing in the wind)