Friday, August 10, 2012

How Many Shootings Does It Take?

I just read a blog post at Random Musings, where the author wonders what the “magic number” of gun deaths is to lead to real action.  In his words:

I don't know if anyone from the NRA/gun lobby will read this, or would dare to admit it if they did, but if they happen to do so, I have a couple of questions for them -

How many guns have to be sold before your 
benefactors in the firearms industry find that even their unbridled avarice is met?

How many innocent people have to die before your bloodlust is satiated?

It’s a good question.  When confronted with all the horrifying numbers, the gun extremists write it off as “the cost of freedom,” or attribute all the shootings only to gangs or drug dealers or the random mentally ill loonies out there.  The NRA doesn’t seem to care, as long as the “donations” from gun and ammo manufacturers keep rolling in.

So what does it take for the NRA to agree to stricter gun regulation, as they used to before extremists took over in the late 70s?  You remember, back when the NRA was actually more about gun safety and hunting than it was about politics?  They actually supported and proposed some of the earlier pro-control gun regulations.

How many deaths does it take for our legislators to stop listening to the NRA?

How many deaths does it take for citizens to stand up and demand the legislators pay attention?  After all, the VAST majority of citizens, including gun owners, support stronger regulation, such as background checks for all gun sales, blocking terrorists on the terrorist watch list, and bans on assault weapons and high-cap ammo magazines.

I mean, isn’t it enough already that there are 100,000 people shot a year in America?  That’s 270 people shot each day, in homicides, assaults, suicides, and accidents, and 87 of them die.  33 of them are murdered.  Aren’t those numbers shocking enough?  The gun lobby insists that “an armed society is a polite society” as the bumpersticker slogan says, but we are already the most armed country of them all.  Their way hasn’t worked.

Isn’t it enough that we lead the advanced world in gun-related deaths

…that we have more gun deaths in a year than during any war since WWII, including Vietnam? 

…that there are now more gun deaths in 10 states than car deaths, with other states coming close to even?

.. that we now have multiple mass murders every month, whereas years pass between them in most advanced nations.

So, what will it take??  At what point will our leaders take action to keep guns out of the hands of those who shouldn’t have them, such as by demanding background checks for all gun sales, including private sales?  How many mass murders will it take to finally ban assault weapons?  At what point will the background check system actually be strengthened?  At what point will we mandate safe storage of guns in homes with children?

Will it take running gun battles in every town, every week? 

From the City of Houston's video
Will every school and theater have to have an armed guard in every room?

Will every family in America have to lose someone to gun violence first?

Will every city and organization have to make evacuation plans for shootings, as the city of Houston did with a recently produced video?

How much of a war zone are we willing to tolerate?  How much blood will it take?

Or will the gun lobby continue pressing for gun deregulation and more guns in more hands until we’re all dead or living in fortresses?

I want to know, Mr. LaPierre.  How many deaths does it take?