For over fifteen years I have analyzed and written about mass shootings; for over fifteen years I have been hitting my head against a stonewall.
Mass slaughter on school grounds, in theaters, in churches, and in shopping malls may be the most serious and complex problem in this nation’s history. Solving the problem will take careful and deliberate thought, but thinking is hard work and there are no easy solutions. Those few who do propose ways to reduce the epidemic of gun violence are met with a fusillade of emotions on why their ideas won’t work.
The Violence Grows
Since January 16, 2002, when Angela Dales, the mother of my oldest grandchild, was gunned down at the Appalachian School of Law, the number of school shootings has steadily grown. The press reports there have been two school shootings a month in 2015, and there six more school shootings February 2016 alone.
Since January 16, 2002, the bodies have continued to pile up: Virginia Tech, 32 killed and 17 wounded; Isla Vista, California, 6 killed, 13 wounded; Sandy Hook Elementary, 20 children and 6 teachers killed; and Umpqua Community College, Roseburg, Oregon, 9 killed, 7 wounded. The people who were killed and wounded were shot, they were not stabbed; they were not beaten. Guns were used to kill and maim.
The far right of the American political spectrum says, “Guns don’t kill, people kill.” Right, that is a no-brainer play-on-words. Cars don’t kill either, but they can and do in the hands of people. That is why we license cars and their drivers. If a gun did not kill my family member then what did? The answer is a gun killed Angela Dales, a person with a gun.
Perhaps the most sobering statistic is there are, on average, 92 gun deaths a day in the U.S. We claim to be the greatest nation on Earth, but we do next to nothing when children are slaughtered at Sandy Hook Elementary School, or worshipers are massacred at a prayer service in Charleston, South Carolina, or a TV reporter and cameraman are murdered on live television in Roanoke, Virginia. And on and on it goes. (To be continued)