When Is Enough Enough?

Yesterday was National Dog Day. Naturally, I planned to blog about my perfect dog.

Instead, I’m writing about another senseless murder of two lovely young people at the hands of a deranged gunman. When will we, collectively, say enough is enough?

My children are the ages of Alison Parker and Adam Ward. My heart aches for their parents and loved ones. It’s too much to comprehend. Alison’s dad is calling for sensible gun laws. And for those who say he’s “politicizing” his daughter’s murder, shame on you.

For those who say it’s too late; there are already too many guns in America, what if we had taken action after Sandy Hook? Maybe yesterday’s shooter wouldn’t have been able to get a gun and Alison and Adam would still be alive. Doing nothing is not the answer.

Here is a statement from Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America:

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Alison and Adam’s families, WDBJ-TV and the Moneta community today. As details unfold about this horrifying on-air murder, here’s what we know for sure: Alison Parker and Adam Ward went to work this morning to simply do their jobs – cover the news – but instead they became the day’s news when they were shot and killed by a disgruntled, former co-worker. And this wasn’t the only shooting that took place today in this country. America is the most dangerous country for women in the developed world when it comes to gun violence: women are 11 times more likely to be killed here with a gun than in other countries. And workplace gun violence is a real threat to public safety – since 2009, there have been at least six mass shootings at the shooter’s current or former workplace.”

“The gun lobby’s ongoing response to a long, cruel summer of senseless, preventable gun violence is to say Americans ought to be armed and at the ready at every moment. But, as we saw in the horrifying footage from this morning’s shooting, that’s an insane proposition. Was Adam supposed to hold a gun in one hand, and operate his camera with the other? Should Alison have carried both a microphone and a firearm? Moms will not be silent and allow the gun lobby’s rhetoric and propaganda to take hold in this country. Americans are being shot and killed in places we should be able go every day without fear: work, school, church and the movies. Our leaders can no longer ignore the dire need for common-sense public safety measures that keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people. It’s time to ask them: ‘Do you stand with Americans or do you stand with the gun lobby?’”

Everyone looks in horror at this shooting, at the mass killings of people doing a bible study in a church, at the deaths of elementary school children in Sandy Hook. The list goes on and on. Yet, we sit on our hands and turn our heads away in denial. Have we become so immune to gun violence that we just accept it as an everyday occurrence in the United States?

It’s not only the murders, but the accidental shootings that are disturbing. Many of those involve children. How often do you ask the parents of new friends of your children whether or not they have a gun in the home and whether or not it is loaded and in a secure location? You should be asking those questions. Here is an interactive map created by Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America of unintentional shootings by children.

And here are some interesting statistics from a website called heedinggodscall.org. Their focus is to take action to end gun violence. The stats speak for themselves. Haven’t we had enough violence? Aren’t you weary? Look at the average monthly homicides in the U.S. compared with other wealthy countries in the list below:

From Heeding God’s Call:

Gun Deaths:

  • More than 30,000 people are killed by firearms each year in this country
  • More than 30 people are shot and murdered each day
  • 1/2  of them are between the ages of 18 and 35
  • 1/3 of them are under the age of 20
  • Homicide is the second leading cause of death among 15-24 year-olds
  • And the primary cause of death among African Americans of that age group

Gun Homicides (average annually):

  • Less than 50: Japan
  • Less than 150:  Germany, Italy, France, etc.
  • Less than 200:  Canada
  • More than 10,000: USA

Source: IANSA (International Action Network on Small Arms of the United Nations)

Injuries and Deaths from Guns

Every time a gun injures or kills in self-defense, one is used:

  • 11 times for a completed or attempted suicide
  • 7 times in a criminal assault or homicide
  • 4 times in an unintentional shooting death or injury

Source: Journal of Trauma, injury, Infection and Critical Care (1998)

Per Capita Annual Gun Death Rate (per 100,000 population):

  • Highest:  Louisiana (19.04, 45.6% households contain guns)
  • #25:  Pennsylvania (10.90)
  • Lowest: CT, NY, New Jersey (4.99), RI, MA, Hawaii (2.20)
  • National: (10.32)

Source: Centers for Disease Control

Costs of Gun Violence

  • Gun violence impacts society in many ways: medical costs, costs of the criminal justice system, security precautions such as metal detectors, and reductions in the quality of life because of fear of gun violence.
  • U.S. lifetime medical costs for gunshot injuries total an estimated $2.3 billion
  • U.S. taxpayers pay for almost half ($1.1 billion or 49%) of lifetime medical costs for gunshot injuries

Guns Recovered from Crime

  • Only 1% of gun dealer account for almost 60% of crime guns recovered by police and later traced
  • In one year, at least 30,000 guns were “lost” out of gun dealers inventories
  • Guns with a short “time to crime” are disproportionately represented among crime guns.  Guns manufactured and sold 3 years or less, prior to recovery by police in crime make up 34 % of recovered and traced crime guns, but only 14% of the US gun stock.
  • Guns sold as part of a multiple sale at a gun dealer were up to 64% more likely to be used in a crime than guns not part of such sales.
  • “No background check” sales account for an estimated 40% of gun sales in the U.S.

Sources: ATF (2000); Brady Center; National Institute of Justice (1993, 2007); Police Foundation (1997)

Some Interesting Poll Data

  • 77% of NRA members favor a waiting period for purchase of a handgun
  • 82% of American support limiting the sales of military-style assault weapons
  • 94% of police chiefs favor requiring a background check for all handgun sales.

Support for background checks on private gun sales, including gun shows:

  • 87% of American
  • 83% of gun owners
  • 69% of NRA gun-owners

Support for limiting handgun sales to one per person per month:

  • 65% of Americans
  • 59% of gun owners

Support for registration of handguns

  • 79% of Americans
  • 69% of police chiefs
  • 61% of gun owners
  • 59% of NRA members

Sources: CNN/Opinion Research Corporation Poll (2008); Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research (2008); Mayors Against Illegal Guns (2009); National Opinion research Center (2003); American Journal of Preventative Medicine (2006); Violence & Victims (1993)

For information about Moms Demand Action, go to momsdemandaction.org

Categories: Editor’s Blog