The True Cost of Gun Violence in America

Jennifer Longdon was one of at least 750,000 Americans injured by gunshots over the last decade, and she was lucky not to be one of the more than 320,000 killed. Each year more than 11,000 people are murdered with a firearm, and more than 20,000 others commit suicide using one. Hundreds of children die annually in gun homicides, and each week seems to bring news of another toddler accidentally shooting himself or a sibling with an unsecured gun. And perhaps most disturbingly, even as violent crime overall has declined steadily in recent years, rates of gun injury and death are climbing (up 11 and 4 percent since 2011) and mass shootings have been on the rise.

“It does not matter whether we believe that guns kill people or that people kill people with guns—the result is the same: a public health crisis.”

And solving a crisis, as any expert will tell you, begins with data. That’s why the US government over the years has assessed the broad economic toll of a variety of major problems….

An executive order in 2013 from President Obama sought to free up the CDC via a new budget, but the purse strings remain in the grip of Congress, many of whose members have seen their campaigns backed by six- and even seven-figure sums from the NRA. “Compounding the lack of research funding,” the doctors added, “is the fear among some researchers that studying guns will make them political targets and threaten their future funding even for unrelated topics.”

SOURCE: The True Cost of Gun Violence in America | Mother Jones.

I am not going to say too much about this source article. Instead I am going to let the words and graphics speak for me. I encourage you to read the entire article to really understand the costs of guns in our society.  Much of the rest of the world knows all of this and have done things to attack it. Sadly too many of our political leaders in this country simple refuse to go against the NRA to do that…

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When Is ENOUGH, ENOUGH

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The epidemic of gun violence in America has become the new normal. We can’t just blame it on the brokenness of the world, pray for peace, and move on, worried that anything more will be seen as politicizing tragedy. What is tragic is that those who have the ability to DO something about this crisis refuse to offer more than simplistic sentiments on Twitter before getting caught in a circular argument about our rights as Americans….

Tell your elected officials that while the NRA may give them a positive rating — and bankroll their campaigns — they’re failing the American people by refusing to offer any semblance of common sense measures that could save lives.

Source: Sojo Mail from Jim Wallis

They haven’t finished reporting on the nut who went into a Planned Parenthood clinic and killed people before the next one occurred. This one is the 350th or so mass murder this year in the U.S.  while mass murders in countries such as Britain which has strict gun control is in the single digits.  It totally confounds me how all those gun lovers seem oblivious to the almost daily carnage.  I just can’t understand how so many can turn a blind eye to all this preventable violence. It is just beyond words…… and anything even resembling sanity… only in America….

Virginia shooting proves Americans aren’t numb to tragedy..

2015-08-28_07-41-21For decades, members of the news media have struggled to determine whether a gruesome photograph or video crosses the line from newsworthy to something so disturbing that it is potentially harmful.

Source: Virginia shooting proves Americans aren’t numb to tragedy — we just have a higher tolerance for it – Yahoo News

QE BannerSadly we seem to get a weekly dose of tragedy of gun violence in this country.   The stats show that we kill each other with our guns more than terrorists kill others in the world.  Are guns the sole cause of al this?  Of course not but in the vast majority of cases they, due to their easy availability,  are the means to accomplish the end.  Yes, I’m sure that most of these shooters have some sort of mental disorder that spurns them to their acts of violence. But then again one persons mental disorder is another person’s way of life.  I don’t think, for instance, that anyone in the KKK or similar groups are without some sort of mental disorder.  But this is not what the post is about.

The short clip above shows that while we may be immune to all the violence we have some sort of standard about displaying it on our media.  I don’t know but I kind of think we should show it all. Until we see personally the gruesomeness of gun violence it does not come fully home to us. Being a history buff I know that the Civil War pictures of battlefield death helped shorten that bloody conflict. The shock of seeing thousands of bodies strewn on a farm field brought the war home to the citizens living rooms. We need to get that same shock in this battle against gun violence.

During the Reagan years it become quite the thing for States to shut down their mental health institutions. It was a way to save money and to reduce the “government that is the problem” syndrome that many had and still have.  As a result there are now thousands, probably millions, of people with severe mental disabilities homeless on our streets or languishing with their problems  huddled in their homes.  I have personally known one guy who was convinced that the “bad guys” were right outside his house trying to get in. To counter that he had a loaded gun in every room of his house and many more in a cabinet (unlocked) in his basement.  He was paranoid about someone attacking him.  The sad thing about it was that he was briefly married to my sister and had my young nephew in the house.  We need to make it easier for families to bring mentally unstable members for treatment.

The gruesomeness of gun violence will never become reality until we are exposed to the aftereffects. Let’s put all the gory pictures out there. Lets finish this post with a very thought provoking figure from Steve Breen.

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What do mass shootings and police killings have in common? America’s sick gun culture.

2015-08-03_07-24-58If we want to see police killings drop, no matter the victim, if we want to see an end to mass shootings (and Australia has proven that it’s possible to actually end them), we have no choice but to dismantle not only the laws but also the norms that make the protection of gun ownership a greater priority than the protection of human lives. A society that continues to flatly refuse to do so will continue to mourn tens of thousands of preventable deaths, every year. We will continue to carry the weight of tens of thousands of shattered families. We will continue to perpetuate an atmosphere in which police are trained to fear the people they’re meant to serve, and civilians know that fear is the best defense they have against the people they pay for protection.

SOURCE: What do mass shootings and police killings have in common? America’s sick gun culture..

QE BannerI just never seem to be able to wrap my mind around my country’s love of guns. Yes, I was a hunter in my early years but it was more of a necessity than a desire to use a weapon to kill.  It totally astounds me that there are more guns in this country than people. How did we get into this state?  How did we let the NRA wield so much power over our representatives in government both Republican and Democrat?

 

When Will It End???

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When will we ever learn????

In case you have lost track, he is the LAX shooter. Considering there have been a couple more in the news in the last day or so I guess this is old news… How sad is that???

Only Seven Murders….

 

Source: No guns at home, so Japanese shoot ’em up in Guam – Itineraries on NBCNews.com.

Because guns are so hard to find, gun-related crime is extremely rare. They were used in only seven murders in Japan — a nation of about 130 million people — in 2011, the most recent year for official statistics. In the U.S., with 315 million people, there are more than 11,000 gun-related killings annually.  The Japanese are proud of their low crime rate and generally support tough gun-control policies.

Given the propensity to violence in this country I can’t even imagine a country of 130 million only having seven murders in a year! I suspect there will be that many in Chicago within the next two days.  How does Japan keep violence down to such a miniscule level?  Part of it I’m sure is their culture. Even though Japan was one of the countries that started the last world war they basically have a very non-violent society now. They generally show great respect for each other, especially their elders. They are just not the type to have a lot of bravado  as we in the U.S. seem to overflow with.

But there is also another major reason for such a low murder rate and that is guns are almost impossible to obtain in their society.  The NRA is constantly harping that if the bad guys didn’t have guns they would learn to kill with other weapons but Japan seems to prove them wrong.  I don’t think that Japan is devoid of bad guys. Human greed which spurns so much lawlessness is probably just as endemic in their country as it is in most others. When a gun makes killing so painless (at least for the one doing the shooting) it makes murder just too easy and a spur of the moment thing.

Too bad we can’t learn even the simplest lessons from our neighbors in other countries. If we could take the best ideas of each country and incorporate them here…. Instead we stubbornly insist that we alone are the only ones that can get anything right. How naive is that??

Defending His Property….

 

Source: Georgia man, 69, accused of fatally shooting 22-year-old who drove into wrong driveway – Crimesider – CBS News.

(CBS/AP) LILBURN, Ga. – A 69-year-old suburban Atlanta man faces a murder charge after authorities say he shot and killed a 22-year-old man who had mistakenly driven into his driveway.Gun Violence An arrest warrant states that Rodrigo Abad Diaz of Duluth, Ga., was fatally shot in the head Saturday as he tried to drive away from Phillip Sailors’ home in Lilburn, northeast of Atlanta.

According to Diaz’s friends, who were in the vehicle at the time of the incident, the 22-year-old had received incorrect directions from a GPS device which led him to Sailors’ driveway, the Atlantic Journal-Constitution reports. They were in the area to pick up a friend.

Here is yet another sad story about a man who killed a boy because he turned into the wrong driveway. It is just another example of how our obsession with guns has created the environment for yet another tragedy.   A World Trade Center worth of victims happened every month because of guns.  When will we ever do something about this? Since the recent idiotic stands of the NRA seem to be destroying their power, I pray that more congressmen grow a backbone and are able to do something soon. Like many other things much of the rest of the world has already addressed this problem.

Everything Is Fine Just The Way It Is…..

Source:  G.O.P. Pulls Back on Immigration, Not on Guns – NYTimes.com.

Changes to gun laws, he said, have no such support. “They will have a rough row to hoe,” he said. “I have some donors who own gun stores who said they can’t keep stuff in the store.”

According to gun rights people and the NRA that represents them there is no need to change anything. Everything is fine just the way it is.  Having a few kids killed in a class room and a few more killed in a movie theaters and shopping malls is just the collateral damage we have to pay so they we can go hunting and target shooting on the weekends. Everything is fine the way it is.

Everyday in major cities across the country scores are killed because of being caught between rivaling gangs all totting their favorite guns. More than fifty thousand are killed each year by guns. But everything is fine just the way it is. They say they need guns to protect their home and property but statistics show that they are much more likely to get killed themselves than to stop an attacker.

They say that they so much enjoy shooting their guns on the weekends that we should just get used to all those “bad” guys getting guns so easily.  If you just stay out of the cities, school rooms, theaters, shopping malls, and grocery stores. then everything will be fine the way it is.

I wonder what the rest of the world thinks about all this resistance to finding possible solutions to the gun violence in our country.  Do they see us as just those cowboys who like to have a weapon on our hips? Do they see this as a symptom of those people who love to get into wars with anyone who might disagree with them? Many of them including England, Canada, Australia put in sensible gun regulations years ago and therefore have murder rates many times less than we do.  I suspect they just say “there goes those Americans again…”.

I just pray that some day they come to the realization that everything is NOT fine just the way it is when it comes to guns and violence in this country. Yes, guns are only part of the problem but until sensible gun regulations are on the table not much else will likely happen to reduce our murder rates in this county.

If you want to see what gun regulations can do in this country just look at New York City. Its murder rates have reduced significantly since Mayor Bloomberg put in some pretty stiff gun control.

What We Don’t Know Is Killing Us

Source: What We Don’t Know Is Killing Us – NYTimes.com.

Gun ViolenceThat Mr. Obama had to make such a decree at all is a measure of the power of the gun lobby, which has effectively shut down government-financed research on gun violence for 17 years. Research on guns is crucial to any long-term effort to reduce death from guns. In other words, treat gun violence as a public health issue.

But that is precisely what the National Rifle Association and other opponents of firearms regulation do not want. In the absence of reliable data and data-driven policy recommendations, talk about guns inevitably lurches into the unknown, allowing abstractions, propaganda and ideology to fill the void and thwart change.

I find it incredibly hard to understand how we as a people can allow a single organization that is primarily funded by gun manufacturers to tell us that we can’t even study why so many die every year from violence each year. Surely my Republican friends out there are not really against studying gun violence. That is the only way we will ever get at the source of this almost overwhelming problem.

Without facts, propaganda and catch phrases dominate our discussions.  I am totally sick of the phrase that “guns don’t kill people; people kill people” and all the unsubstantiated rhetoric that goes along with that phrase.  Until we study the problem we will never really know how to affect even a partial solution. I thoroughly agree that the problem of violence in our society is not just about guns. Maybe guns themselves are not even a major component. But of course even that assumption is unknown factually because we have kept the researchers from scientifically studying the issue.

When we allow common sense to come into this issue we may start to understand and possibly ameliorate this epidemic. Please, lets agree to at least try to understand the facts about gun violence. If the NRA continues to stand in the way of doing that then I am pleading with my hunting and target shooting friends out there to step in and  tell the NRA to stop the obstruction on this topic. That might just be a starting point for some meaningful dialog.

Sobering Statistics — Gun violence in America

Source:  Just the facts: Gun violence in America – U.S. News.

GunsThe big picture: Every year in the U.S., an average of more than 100,000 people are shot, according to The Brady Campaign To Prevent Gun Violence. Every day in the U.S., an average of 289 people are shot. Eighty-six of them die: 30 are murdered, 53 kill themselves, two die accidentally, and one is shot in a police intervention, the Brady Campaign reports.

Between 2000 and 2010, a total of 335,609 people died from guns — more than the population of St. Louis, Mo. (318,069), Pittsburgh (307,484), Cincinnati, Ohio (296,223), Newark, N.J. ((277,540), and Orlando, Fla. (243,195) (sources:  U.S. Census; CDC) One person is killed by a firearm every 17 minutes, 87 people are killed during an average day, and 609 are killed every week. (source: CDC, based on 2011 data)

I will for the most part just let these statistics stand on their own.  One of the things not shown here is that the rest of the world’s data in this area is for the most part much much lower, even in the old Soviet Union. I’m all in favor of people having hobbies but I wish some would find something else to play with.

Below is a quote from another article that this one, if you read it, shows is totally false but is the logic that is commonly used by gun rights groups. The only part of the statement below that I agree with is the last sentence.

“People are killed in greater number by cars, bats, hammers, hands, and feet,” he added. “Examining the tool and attempting to ban the tool will have absolutely no effect. We’re dealing with a people problem.