Yesterday the NRA decreed that what is really necessary to stop gun violence in schools is an armed guard in every school. There were armed guards at Columbine, there were armed police at Virginia Tech, and let's not forget Fort Hood - site of another mass shooting. Fort Hood is an ARMY base - most everyone has a gun. Guns are not the answer. And by the way, there is a lot of overlap between the NRA and the far right wackos who want NO government intervention in anything but uteri, and no government spending. Those guards would be government employees, at a conservative cost of $5.5 Billion a year. Source.
In certain ways, talking about the mass gun tragedies at schools, movie theaters and other institutions isn't what we should be talking about; and the media should be doing a better job of talking about the real gun issues. So here goes.
The United States has 5% of the world's population and more than half its guns. Yesterday, my friend Cheryl called from her drive out to Harrisburg so we could talk about the shootings yesterday near Harrisburg, which included a woman hanging Christmas ornaments on a church. (4 dead, 3 injured, and those injured were PA State Police.) She told me that the largest standing army in the world is in China, which makes sense. The second largest group of armed people at one time is the day that deer season opens in Pennsylvania, which does not.
What we forget when we talk about guns and gun violence is that the mass murders are far more rare then the everyday shootings. EVERY DAY. As of yesterday, since Newtown, 120 people have been killed by guns. It's a moving target, so by the time you read this, the number will be higher. You can follow the morbid statistics here. (The link at the bottom of the article opens the data spreadsheet.)
Think about it. Some facts:
[E]ach year roughly 30,000 Americans die from gun violence. By comparison, since the invasion of Iraq in 2003, approximately 4,300 Americans have died in that conflict.
As Forbes' Rob Waters noted, from the period between 2000 to 2009, "If you exclude natural causes of death and consider only deaths caused by injury, [gun violence] is the second-leading cause of death over that time span; only car accidents (417,000) killed more people." And according to Bloomberg News, the number of Americans killed by guns will soon exceed the yearly number of auto fatalities, as auto-related deaths are falling and gun fatalities are rising.
And one more...
Among the world's 23 wealthiest countries, 87 percent of all kids killed by guns are American kids.
Yet the NRA and their bought and paid for legislators who so fear being primaried or outspent by the gun lobby continue to ignore common sense ways to decrease gun violence. And shame on the media, ALL the MSM, for missing the bigger point.
We know who the people are who own guns. Nate Silver did a thorough analysis, and here's the overall summary by party. (For more data, click this link).
Suddenly it makes more sense why the MSM (owned by big business, which is owned by rich Republicans) won't report on this. And why the fearful legislators are that GOP group in office currently. Democrats have no fear of telling the truth, nor losing an election on the guns issue.
How sad that political careers, greed, and making a profit trump the lives of innocents who are gunned down on a DAILY basis in America.
The initial answers, legislatively, relate to simple fixes like refusing to sell guns to people on the terrorist watch list, making sure that 100% of applicants go through background checks, getting states to be better at reporting mental illness, capping the maximum number of guns a single person can buy to one a month, and enforcing straw purchaser laws already on the books.
But what WE can do, as individuals, is to make sure that everyone we know understands that Sandy Hook was the rarity, daily murder is the main course.