Thursday, March 1, 2018

Guns And More Smoke

Yesterday the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas School returned to their classrooms.  It has been two weeks since the mass shooting at the school and the deaths of 17 people.  Yesterday I watched the televised meeting of the president and some of our legislators talking about what to do about guns, with particular reference to the Parkland, Florida incident.  

The first thing I noticed was that there was not a single black legislator sitting at the table—not one!  While mass shootings seem to drive the national debate on gun violence, these horrific incidents represent less than 1 percent of all gun homicides in the US. America’s  high rate of gun violence isn’t caused by events like the one in Parkland two weeks ago. It is caused by the deaths of black men—usually in the inner cities.  Why wasn’t a black legislator in that meeting?  

The CDC statistics on gun violence are available to all, but no one at the meeting seemed to have any knowledge of them.  The real statistics and the real issues were ignored by limiting the scope of the discussion.

 “On average there are nearly 13,000 gun homicides a year in the US.  For every one person killed with guns, two more are injured.  Nearly two-thirds (62 percent) of firearm deaths in the US are suicides.  Seven children and teens (age 19 and under) are killed with guns in the US on an average day.  In an average month, 50 women are shot to death by intimate partners in the US.  America’s gun homicide rate is more than 25 times the average of other high-income countries.  Background checks are a central component of America’s efforts to keep guns from criminals: since their inception, they have blocked over 3 million gun sales to prohibited purchasers.  Black men are 13 times more likely than non-hispanic white men to be shot and killed with guns.”  This is from the CDC study which is available on the internet.  

Talking about mental illness, changing the culture, or arming teachers doesn’t cut it.  Guns are the issue.

What do you see?  It makes all the difference!

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