I started this blog 14 months ago, a few days after the massacre in Aurora, Colorado (the one in which 12 people were killed and 70 injured during a Batman movie). The title of my first post was “Insanity”.
Now we have another 12 people murdered in Washington, D.C. And their killer shot dead by the police.
According to an article called “Facing the Real Gun Problem” in the New York Review of Books, there have been 1.3 million Americans killed by firearms since 1960, either in suicides, homicides or accidents. The author of the article, David Cole, argues that we should strengthen background checks and improve gun safety in order to reduce the ongoing toll of death and injury. He thinks gun owners would support these kinds of measures if they could be convinced that their right to own guns wasn’t threatened.
For that reason, Cole doesn’t think we should try to ban assault weapons, since relatively few people are killed with assault weapons and gun owners fear that a ban on those guns would eventually lead us down a slippery slope toward banning all kinds of guns. I don’t agree with him about the assault weapon ban, but he makes some good points, including the need to decriminalize certain drugs and reduce our prison population. He believes that guns are here to stay in America, so we should do whatever we can as a nation to limit the carnage.
To get a sense of how guns are used every day to kill and maim, you can check out a blog called “The Gun Report” in the New York Times. One of their columnists, Joe Nocera, uses the blog to discuss gun-related issues, but he also presents a daily list of shootings from around the country. It’s a daily accounting of American insanity.
There are 19 incidents described in today’s entry of “The Gun Report”. Here are a couple, chosen at random:
Lance Wilson, 3, was shot in the head and killed at a mobile home park in Michigan City, Ind., Sunday afternoon. 24-year-old Zachariah L. Grisham, who is romantically involved with the victim’s mother, was charged with reckless homicide. Investigators found that Grisham and the victim had been playing a game, with the boy using his hand to pretend to shoot Grisham. During the game, Grisham took out a handgun and, thinking it was not loaded, pulled the trigger.
A man was shot in the face and critically wounded after a verbal altercation in the Caddo Heights neighborhood of Shreveport, La., Monday afternoon. Police said someone in a car opened fire on the victim, who was in a Toyota Camry. A white SUV was spotted leaving the scene.
Facing the Real Gun Problem:
The Gun Report: