There are times when the world seems to be a terrible place doesn’t it? For those of us who have soapboxes we climb on, sometimes those ladders get a bit shaky we fall on our asses more often than we would like. Those of us who follow the world of dreadful and ghastly, from the halls of the Hill to the streets of any city USA, sometimes we grow weary of the sheer volume of ugly. I know I do, it is my suspicion others do as well.
This morning as I was perusing the wise words of others, three wonderful bloggers poked my soul, my conscious and my self-respect. I am reminded constantly why I am grateful for all the friends I have made in the blogosphere these women are brilliant!
For very different reasons these three entries into my morning touched off my thinking about what I have been doing lately. Why I have been remiss in talking about what bothers me about the world we live in. It isn’t I haven’t had time, I have had more than enough time; truthfully I have had more time than I would like. It isn’t that I can’t, I of course can if I choose to do so; my problem is I have become unwilling to face the storm. This leads to fear, I have become afraid of what others think and of conflict, my ability to withstand the conflict is much lower these days than it has been in the past.
This feeling of dispiritedness, it doesn’t bode well for our nation. So many of us feel this way as we stare into the future and consider our options and the world our children will inherit if we do not move our asses. What do I mean by this? I don’t know that I can fully answer my own question, what I do know is I will not give in to fear or apathy, that road leads to dead ends, obstructionist governments and failures. This is what I believe; I have been failing myself lately. I have, as my friend Red pointed out so well been saying, “I can’t” not because “I can’t” but because I was afraid, maybe I will explore this one with you all in a later post.
This is what I know, I have to stop being afraid, apathetic and foolish. With this thinking in mind, I am going to pick my mantle back up, drape it around my shoulders and start to talk about the things that matter. Maybe some of these things won’t matter to you, they matter to me though and so I am going to talk about them. I am going to stomp my feet and raise my fist and stop being afraid I might offend you or others, I hope I don’t offend you, I hope you will talk back, tell me why you disagree or spread the word if you do agree. Either way, I am going to put my boots back on and return to my roots as a wonk, an activist and someone who actually gives two shits about what happens in the world.
Today, the thing I want to talk about is one of the things that troubles me the most about this country, this is not the only thing that deeply troubles me, there are many more. Nevertheless, this is one close to my heart that plunders my spirit, so let’s talk about Guns –
Yes, I could talk about the Constitution and how most people stomping around waving it as their justification for their personal arsenals have it wrong. I am not going to do that today; I have been down that road and it isn’t necessary to repeat myself I hope. What I am going to do is talk about just one aspect of our deep love affair with violence and guns, the increase in mass murder and spree shooting. What this means for us, how we are becoming increasingly unsafe, how our children are becoming increasingly less safe:
Look at those numbers in the past thirty-one years. What does that mean? I don’t know, beyond the idea the more easily accessible high-powered guns are, the greater capacity of rounds the more damage and the more likely the body count.
Some of the leading pro-gun lobbyists’ and spokespeople say it is just crazy people doing all this damage, committing all these terrible crimes. Look at this next graph though, it tells a very different story.
The known mental health of individual, whether their weapons were purchased legally and how many weapons were used during the commission of their mass / spree killing. This graph is telling, here are a couple of important facts to take away:
• Out of the 149 guns used in the mass murders and spree killings of the past thirty-one years, 23% were obtained illegally.
• Out of the 149 guns used in the mass murders and spree killings of the past thirty-one years, 52% were purchased legally by persons with known mental health disorders.
Finally, there is an issue of gender and race; yes, this is important because we should understand who is committing these crimes so we can begin build an accurate profile of the mass murder and spree killer. Maybe with this profile we can identify them before they kill rather than after.
We have to stop turning away from the issue of violence on our streets. We must stop pretending it isn’t real, isn’t dangerous and isn’t affecting our quality of life. Every single bullet has a dollar sign engraved in it. Every single American citizen buried due to gun violence is money in the pockets of the NRA, munitions manufacturers and legislatures with their hands out for more. We are as guilty as they are if we continue to passively stand by and accept the excuse, “nothing can be done”.
Something can be done, we can do something; we can refuse to stand by a watch more of our citizens die.
Other interesting sources, including the source of the data for the graphes.