Saturday, December 14, 2013

On the Anniversary of Sandy Hook, Newtown Connecticut

Today is the anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.  Yesterday, another High School in Colorado was the scene of another student shooting when Karl Pierson, 18, opened fire with a shot gun.  That student shot two students with a shot gun, one of whom remains in critical condition.  The intended target, or at least one of the intended targets, was a teacher whom the shooter called out for by name.

Those, like NRA Board Member Ted Nugent, who call for all teachers to be armed in school and other bad solutions, are in effect, demanding that armed teachers be in a position to shoot their own armed students.  The solution is fewer guns, not more armed people having shootouts, in our schools, in our shopping centers, in our other places of business - or in our homes.

Colorado passed legislation requiring mandatory background checks for private sales after the Aurora, Colorado theater shooting a year and a half ago; they already had a gun show sale requirement for all sellers.  That background check requirement has already prevented approximately 100 prohibited persons from obtaining guns in that state.  We need more regulation for safe and secure gun storage, and we need to require mandatory liability insurance for firearms to pay for the cost of injuries and funerals when someone owns a gun that is used in one of these events.  We average 33 people a day who die from gun violence. More are injured.  Colorado's experience shows us that gun control works; the answer to where it does not work, like the Arapahoe High School shooting, demonstrates why we need more, not less regulation.

Other nations do NOT have the kind of mass shootings we have here on a regular basis.  In the past year alone, we have had 23 NEW mass shootings defined as 4 or more people shot dead.  Personally, I think mass shootings with more than two people wounded, not just killed, should have been included; it would have resulted in a significantly higher number of mass shootings. When we make lives more important than guns, then and only then will we make that important change.  Fewer people own guns now than have owned them over the past two decades; the trend is to a declining number of gun owners.  But those gun owners own MORE guns and MORE ammunition, and tend to be more rabidly and radically pro-gun, and more often radically conservative.

It is time to effectively oppose the minority who make it possible for the United States to experience 23 mass shootings in one year, following the loss of 26 lives at one time.

As the Telegraph noted:

These parameters mean that some high-profile incidents in 2013 don't classify, including the incident at LAX airport on 1 November in which one person was killed and three more were injured.
The state with the highest number of mass shootings and deaths in the past year was Texas, with a total of 17 people dying in four separate incidents, excluding the perpetrators. The second highest number was in Oklahoma, where 12 people died in three separate incidents.  The highest individual death toll occurred in Washington D.C., where 12 people died in the Navy Yard shootings in September, again excluding the shooter.
Florida also had several mass shootings since Newtown: a killing spree in Hialeah, in which six people died excluding the shooter, and a shooting in Jacksonville in which four people were found shot inside a house.
In the wake of the Sandy Hook massacre, President Barack Obama has urged community members and Congress to take “common sense” steps towards ending gun violence.
The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence jointly issued a 2013 scorecard that ranks state gun legislation in all fifty states. The scorecard ranks each state along thirty-eight criteria that address a variety of policy areas, including allowance of firearms in public places, and background checks and access to firearms.
Texas and Oklahoma were ranked 33 and 35, respectively, out of the fifty states, and are assigned a grade of “F”. The worst-rated state was Arizona, the best California.

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