Tuesday, September 17, 2013

A dozen people massacred. So what else is new in America?

Life does go on, through Columbine in 1999, through Virginia Tech in 2007, through Sandy Hook in 2012. Each atrocity provides a jolt to the nation and then recedes with little effect, until the next unimaginable event occurs, except each time a little more imaginable. Everything was supposed to change after a man with a semiautomatic weapon mowed down 20 elementary school children in their classrooms last December. But for the politicians, nothing changed. Now, another massacre, another roster of funerals. Again, again, again. Link
One of the usual responses gun supporters offer to this all-too-common tragedy is to paradoxically insist on broader access to guns, including arming teachers in schools. But, if you pay close attention, you’ll notice that this guy managed to kill a dozen people in a naval base. Likewise, Nidal Malik Hasan, was able to kill 13 people at Fort Hood, an army base. The large number of armed guards, security checkpoints, and the ready availability of guns to highly trained military personnel didn’t stop these massacres. So just why are we arming teachers? Just when does a good guy with a gun actually stop a bad guy with a gun?

The Daily Kos has been keeping track of gun deaths in the United States since Sandy Hook. Every week dozens of people are killed in gun accidents, including a disturbing number of children accidently killed by themselves, siblings or friends. The list also includes a high number of accidental deaths caused by police, security guards, military personnel and others who are trained to handle guns. Check out some of their GunFail posts. The weekly toll of America’s gun culture is staggering and eye-opening.


SJHoneywell said...

I've lived through (sort of) a mass shooting like this. One that people tend to forget is the shooting on the campus of Northern Illinois University on Valentine's Day, 2008. My younger daughter was in day care two or three blocks away. Two years before, I had an office that overlooked the building where the shooting occurred.

So, while I wasn't there, my town was. It's a surreal experience to see CNN helicopters over your house.

I was pro-gun legislation before that happened. You damn well better believe I'm for it even more now.

Ipecac said...

Yikes. It's awful to have to experience something like that and awful how Americans are so inured to mass shootings that we so quickly forget.

There are hundreds of millions of firearms in America. I think everyone, even the most ardent anti-gun folk, understand that we can't put that Genie back in the bottle. People recognize the reality that we simply can't (politically or practically) round up all those guns and NO ONE with any credibility is arguing that we should. What's appalling is that, because of decades of hyperbolic slippery-slope arguments from conservatives and the purchase of large blocs of Congress, we can't even get minimal expansions of gun laws to expand background checks or outlaw large ammo clips, ideas that large majorities of Americans (even conservatives) support. Not even the massacre of twenty 5 and 6 year olds made a dent.

And so the slaughter will continue.

SJHoneywell said...

I think it's worth noting that the reason the NIU shooting ( tends to be forgotten is that, bluntly, our body count wasn't high enough.

How sick is that? Since only six people including the gunman died, we're relegated to also-ran status.