Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Bullet Points



Hello. I haven't addressed the continuing scourge of gun violence in America of late. It's not taken a break, far from it. During Thursday night's Republican Presidential Debate, news was breaking for a shooting in Kansas that left 3 dead. Oddly enough, the subject of guns did not come up during the debate which seemed to me a lost opportunity to put at least 1 if not all 5 of the candidates on stage at the debate in the awkward position of defending guns in the immediate aftermath of more lives lost to guns.

 
Well, I say awkward. These guys are so far down the rabbit hole when it comes to the gun lobby, they could probably recite their NRA approved talking points over the still warm bullet ridden corpses of the latest shooting. Promoting guns in the face of gun violence? Nah, there's nothing awkward about that for these guys at all.

 
But what is happening out there in America when it comes to gun violence? To answer that, I went to this resource, the Gun Violence Archive. The GVA is a matter of fact accounting of every death in America that was the result of a gun. Homicide or suicide or accident. Criminal or law enforcement. Intended victim or innocent bystander. If a person dies from a bullet, it gets counted.

 
What caught me off guard was the sheer frequency of gun deaths every single day. So far for 2016, we have nearly 2,000 deaths related to gun violence. Approximately 33 people a day on average die as a result of being shot by a gun.

 
I decided to look for the bigger incidents of death by gun violence. So I looked over a 2 week span during February for incidents of gun related deaths involving 3 or more victims.
 

 


  • 02/09/2016 Latham, NY           3 dead
  • 02/10/2016 Abingdon, MD       3 dead
  • 02/12/2016 Kerrville, TX          3 dead
  • 02/12/2016 Omaha, NE           3 dead
  • 02/13/2016 Louisville, KY        3 dead
  • 02/17/2016 Zionsville, IN         3 dead
  • 02/18/2016 Salt Lake City, UT 4 dead
  • 02/20/2016 Kalamazoo, MI      6 dead
  • 02/21/2016 Merrillville, IN        3 dead
  • 02/23/2015 Glendale, AZ         5 dead





 
Welcome to the new normal, America.

 
I decided to pick a single day to count the number of the dead from gun violence including single victim shootings. Because I can be quite the cynical  bastard, I picked February 14th. Yes, Valentine's Day, full of love and romance and, in the case of 27 people, death. 27 people in America lost their lives to guns on that one day. 

 
 So what's the point I'm making here? That this is always going on. Sometimes if the crime is brazen enough or enough people die, it makes the news. The Uber driver in Kalamazoo scored well on that metric, killing 6 people even while still picking up riders. We get all, "Oh, what is becoming of our country?"

 
But the greater part of tally of the dead in America doesn't come from the killers who make the news. Most of that tally comes from those who die alone, away from the cameras and the headlines. Away from the mass shootings, those single deaths pile up too rapidly and proclaim the same plaintive and frustrated message: we shouldn't have to live this way.

 
Everyone, be good to one another. I'll be back with TWO posts tomorrow on slightly more fun topics.

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