Monday, June 13, 2016

Bullet Points - What Wretched Calculations

Life is what happens while you're making other plans. 

That line is attributed to John Lennon whose own life and death is a testament to how true that statement is. November 1980 while walking home with his wife on night, John Lennon's life was taken by a man with a gun. And not just any man but a professed fan of Lennon's work. With that act of homicidal insanity, Lennon's life came to any end and any plans he had for the days to come were laid to waste. 

The parallels of Lennon's case to the tragic events of Friday night in Orlando FL were clear to see. I decided to write a post about that tragic loss of life for my blog on Monday. That was my plan. 

Then life happened. Or death. Or tragedy. Or evil. While a nation had barely had time to cope with the murder of a single person, we were forced to confront the abject horror of a massacre of dozens of people. 

How are we supposed to cope? Have we finally reached our breaking point in the face of sense gun violence?   

Friday night brought the news of a young woman named Christina Grimmie who was shot in Orlando FL and subsequently died from her injuries. 

It is quite possible you know who Christina Grimmie is. She was a contestant on the NBC singing contest show The Voice in 2014 where she was mentored by Adam Levine. Grimmie was also very popular on You Tube where she posted videos of her performing a variety of songs, displaying a beautiful and powerful singing voice. 

It was through her appearances on You Tube that Grimmie had a fairly large following of young fans who bought her music and attended her concerts. It was at one such concert that Grimmie performed Friday night in Orlando. It was after the show while signing autographs for her eager and appreciative fans, a man approached her and shot her. 

Christina Grimmie, a beloved and talented performer of the You Tube generation, is a name added to a depressingly long list, a fatal victim of gun violence.  

Christina Grimmie's killer has been identified as 27-year-old Kevin James Loibl of St. Petersburg, Florida, who died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound after his cowardly act of murder. According to police, Loibl drove to Orlando with the specific purpose of shooting Christina Grimmie.  

Yes, "specific purpose".  

No, Kevin James Loibl did not use his weapon in a legally sanctioned hunting of wildlife for food and sport. 

No, Kevin James Loibl did not use his weapon in defense of his home and family against criminal invaders. 

No, Kevin James Loibl did not use his weapon as part of a well armed militia that is necessary in the defense of our nation. 

Kevin James Loibl used his weapon because somewhere in his deranged mind, he decided Christina Grimmie had to die. 

Christina Grimmie was only one person, just a single victim of murder by a man with a gun. But it doesn't matter if the number is one or any number higher than one. 

A number such as fifty, for example. 

Saturday night brought the news of 50 people who were shot and killed in a night club in Orlando FL. 

Fifty people.  It marks the worst mass shooting in US history, surpassing the 32 killed at Virginia Tech in 2007 and the 27 slain in Sandy Hook in 2012.  

The shooter was Omar Mateen, a 29 year American born Muslim who apparently called 911 to declare his loyalty to ISIS before going on his rampage of murder. Mateen was later killed by police.  Mateen's target was a gay night club and according to his father, Mateen did have issues with gay men kissing in public. 

Whether this slaughter was spurned by personal homophobia or a broader radicalization towards Islamic based terrorism, it doesn't change the fact that 50 people are dead now as a result of someone's easy access to guns in this country.  

It's been awhile since I last posted on the scourge of gun violence in America. But the ghastly pattern of lives lost to a bullet continues on unabated. 

As of June 12, 2016 per the Gun Violence Archive, there have been 23,232 incidents of gun violence in America. Of those incidents, there were 5,948 deaths.  That comes to 36 deaths a day. Back when I did my last post on this on March 1st, the daily average was 33. 

One dead. Fifty dead. 5,948 dead. By what wretched calculations are these numbers even remotely considered acceptable? 

Thanks for coming by and reading the blog today. Remember to be good to one another. I'll be back with another post tomorrow. 

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